Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
February 18, 2009     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order

    7:32 p.m.

2.    Roll

    Directors Amoroso, Kimball, Siedman and Smith present; director McClellan absent.  Director Siedman presiding.

3.    Manager’s Report.

    Staff reported that the district this week received a request from the Marin County Energy Team to write a letter of support for the Renewable Energy Secure Communities (“RESCO”) program grant proposal to the California Energy Commission and recommended that the Board approve the addition of an urgent agenda item to take this action because letters of support must be submitted by no later than next week.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to add the Marin County Energy Team request for a letter of support as an urgency item to the agenda as item 14.

    The district’s water supply status is considerably improved as a result of the February rains to date.  Staff noted that the most recent consumption statistics, however, reveal the significant spike in consumption the district experienced in January (which was warm and dry), before the mandatory rationing requirements went into effect.   Thus far, the district has received about 17 inches of rain for the season; while this is far below the district’s average 33 inches of annual  average, it is much better than the 8 inches of accumulation the district had received when the Board passed the rationing resolution on January 28th.  As for the reservoirs: Woodrat #1 is now full due to the significant runoff in the weekend storms (more than 6 inches fell over the most recent  weekend) and Woodrat #2 is filling.

    The community has responded extremely well to the mandatory water rationing requirements;  district operations staff have been out in the community providing education and outreach and “going the extra mile” to ensure that our customers understand and comply with the daily ration amount.  Customers throughout the district are reading their own meters and numerous leaks on customer properties have been discovered and repaired.  In addition, many people appear to have purchased water catchment tanks and/or installed new low flow appliances.   Customers are sharing water conservation tips and all of these efforts likely will be to the long-term benefit of the district’s water system.  There has been extraordinary media interest in the district’s decision to impose mandatory rationing -- initially, the local papers and Marin IJ reported the news and  Channel 7 did a TV segment;  when the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story on the front page, broader media interest was triggered, including calls from Nightline (CBS), FoxNews and a newspaper paper from London (Guardian). 

    As for water system operations, two of the district’s pressure reducing valves were inspected and repaired in the last two weeks.  The valve controlling the raw water flow into the plant appears to be oversized, which explains the periodic difficulties staff experience at the plant with this valve.  The valve has been taken apart and its valve seat replaced, the strainer on its filter changed out and controls installed so that staff can regulate the speed at which the valve opens and closes.  This valve was designed to receive flows as high as 800 gallons per minute, whereas the district operates at 160 gallons per minute or so, and sometimes as low as 30-40 gallons per minute;  as such, the valve for years has been forced to throttle down to the lower end of  its operational spectrum.   In addition, work was completed today on the pressure reducing valve in the vault on Olema-Bolinas road, which regulates the pressure to downtown and to Gospel Flats.   Staff reported that the district’s remaining three pressure reducing valves will be inspected and adjusted or repaired as necessary during the following week.

Staff noted that the County is planning to proceed with the installation of a bike path on the east side of Olema-Bolinas Road to the school this summer.  The district therefore needs to identify work that should be done in the area in advance of the bike path project.  Staff has asked its engineers to prepare an estimate for the work necessary to rehabilitate the vault in the Olema-Bolinas/Mesa Road intersection, which will be presented at the next meeting.   District staff repaired two significant leaks on service saddles in the past two weeks:  one on Olema-Bolinas Road and another on Brighton Avenue; shoring protection previously purchased by the district proved to be very helpful to overcome wet and unstable excavation conditions. 

    On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that all is well;  despite the recent rains, Pond 3 is still six feet below the freeboard.
    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular meeting, including a request from the Association of California Water Agencies (“ACWA”) for the district to purchase four issues of a magazine ACWA is publishing in collaboration with National Geographic entitled, “Water For Tomorrow”, which is intended to inform Californians about the state’s water supply and encourage conservation.  The cost to the district for participating would be at least $1,400 plus mailing costs.  The Board requested staff to check with neighboring districts as to whether there is any interest in jointly participating and sharing costs.

    The district’s insurance authority, ACWA/JPIA , recently issued its most current RPA Stabilization report and the district received a premium refund of $9,654.99.  The Board also reviewed a letter from ACWA/JPIA regarding its January 9th site visit and requested staff to make arrangements for the district to participate in Prevention Link’s web-based training courses.

    Staff noted that the district has receive a bill for the well recently drilled on behalf of Mesa Park at the Resource Recovery Project site and asked if the district should proceed to pay it and then bill Mesa Park for the balance;  the Board concurred.  Director Siedman requested staff to submit samples from the well to its outside lab for testing and analysis.  Finally, the Board reviewed a proposal from Bob Dill and an estimate from Pacific Ridge Construction for a new gate to replace the Brighton Avenue Beach entrance gate.  Director Smith expressed concerns about the design, as did director Amoroso.  The Board ultimately appointed directors Smith and Amoroso to work with staff to refine a design and then informally solicit bids from interested contractors for the installation of a replacement gate

-- Update on the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Accessibility of the BCPUD Building.

    Staff reported that the district’s next step on this project is to finalize bid drawings and then put the construction project out to bid.

-- Update on the BCPUD’s Application  for Proposition 84 Grant Funds (in partnership with the County of Marin and the National Park Service)  for Projects to Enhance the Duxbury Reef Area of Special Biological Significance(“ASBS”)

    Official approval by the State Water Resources Control Board of the district’s Proposition 84 grant application was issued on February 3, 2009.  Next steps include working with the County and National Park Service to prepare a grant agreement, address technical reviewer comments on the grant proposal and prepare related documentation.  Unfortunately, all funds remain subject to the on-going bond freeze, so it is uncertain as to when this project will proceed..

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report

    Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover noted that due to operations staff’s focus on water rationing enforcement and leak repair, there was no drainage work to report this month.

    Director Smith gave a brief update on the status of the Tomales Bay Watershed Council; he said the most recent Council meeting was “very gloomy” because not only is all of its grant money frozen, but the Council is owed $110,000 in state funds that have not been paid for work already done.  Council members are trying to find a way to keep the organization going, which involves primarily paying salaries to the Council’s coordinator and scientist.  Marin Municipal Water District has offered to donate lab help, but the Council desperately needs to raise money.  Director Smith said all Council members will soon receive a letter requesting specific financial assistance;  he noted that the district has benefited directly from its membership in the Council and urged that the district agree to provide financial help. 

4.    Community Expression.

    Director Siedman noted that there is a letter in the Board binders complaining about the ditch around the district’s sewer ponds at the Overlook and Alder pathway; the complaint is that it is difficult to access the pond pathway because of the ditch.  Staff  said that the ditch is an integral part of the design of the sewer ponds; however, it is possible to install a culvert at this location to improve pedestrian access.  Director Siedman noted a second complaint about the drainage ditch in front of 10 and 14 Park Avenue;  staff was directed to inform the complainant that the County is responsible for this drainage ditch. 

    Sandra del Valle requested that the district provide the community with periodic updates about the status of the water supply and she said she was very upset about the district’s “threat” to discontinue water service to customers exceeding the ration amount, which she described as “an extreme, fascist mandate” that should not be done without a town meeting.  Finally, she requested more information about how to conserve water.

    Cela O’Connor requested clarification from the Board as to the role of the Bolinas Planning Group.  She noted that it was established to update the Bolinas Community Plan, but now seems to be charged with an advisory role to the BCPUD regarding the Local Coastal Plan update.  She asked for a formal declaration from the Board as to the role of the Bolinas Planning Group.  The Board agreed to address this request during the Committee Reports agenda item.  Cela also noted the agenda item to consider endorsing Steve Kinsey for the Coastal Commission; she submitted a letter in opposition to this endorsement which she requested the Board consider during that agenda item.

    Director Smith noted that Mary Barror requested Tom D’Onofrio last month to pray for rain and that Tom evidently went to the Dragon’s Head site and conducted a prayer ceremony;  Director Smith noted that the rains began the following week and he thanked Tom for his efforts.

5.    Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill due to Unintentional Water Loss (pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553) – 30 Brighton Avenue (St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church).

    Director Siedman said there is a letter to the Board from the Reverend of St. Aidan’s church requesting financial relief from the quarterly water bill;  the church received a bill for more than $250 (the normal bill is less than $5) and consequently discovered an underground leak that was promptly repaired. Director Smith noted this was a blind leak, the customer repaired it immediately and this customer is a charitable institution with low budget – he proposed reducing the customer’s bill by the amount due to the leak..

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to reduce the customer’s bill by the amount it exceeds the historical three-year average bill for this customer during the same quarter.

6.    Approve BCPUD Request to Redwood Disposal Company for Seasonal Garbage Dumpster on behalf of the Bolinas Community Center for Downtown and Beach Clean-up.

    Staff explained that Redwood Disposal Company is willing to provide a free, locked dumpster on a seasonal basis for the Bolinas Community Center to use for downtown and beach clean-up purposes, but has asked that the request issue from the BCPUD as the franchise holder. 

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to request Redwood Disposal Company to provide a free, locked dumpster from May through October at Mesa Park for use by the Bolinas Community Center for downtown and beach clean-up purposes. 

7.    Request to Lease Land behind the BCPUD Building at 270 Elm Road for a Community Garden.

    Director Siedman noted that the Board has received a request to lease the space behind the BCPUD office building for purposes of a community garden, but no one was present to speak on behalf of the project.  After some discussion, staff was directed to contact the applicants and ask them to prepare a site plan, describe their rain catchment proposal, and attend the next Board meeting to answer questions about the proposed project, including questions about erosion control and native habitat removal/preservation. 

8.    Ordinance 37:  Declaring a Prolonged Drought Condition in the Bolinas Community Public Utility District and Implementing Mandatory Conservation Measures Pursuant to a Previously Established Water Shortage Emergency.

    Director Siedman stated that many in the community either have inquired about or expressed an interest in forming a committee to investigate other water sources for the district, particularly in light of the prolonged local drought.  Staff indicated that this is an on-going responsibility of the district and the district regularly pursues funding opportunities to enhance its raw water storage supply, among other things.  As for the present drought, water supply conditions have changed appreciably since the January 28th mandatory rationing was put in place.  In response to an inquiry from director Kimball, staff reported that less than two percent of the district’s customers were not in compliance with the rationing requirement, and most of those customers had submitted requests for exemptions.  In light of the on-going rainfall and improvement to the district’s water supply, staff has deferred enforcement efforts and focused staff resources on operational priorities.   Director Smith referred to an earlier comment during Community Expression about the heavy-handed nature of the district’s approach to the mandatory rationing;  he noted that this was necessary only after years of regular request for voluntary conservation and the implementation of a tiered water rate that rewards water conservation.  He said he hoped it would not be necessary to discontinue water service.  Director Siedman observed that the ordinance provides that a first time violator will receive a written warning;  a second violation will result in another written warning and a $100 fine; a third violation results in yet another written warning, a $200 fine and the possibility of the district installing a flow-restricting device on the water service line; and a fourth violation results in a $500 fine and discontinuation of water service.

    Director Kimball pointed out that the district’s process of enforcing expanded water use permit violations has been very successful.  The district has a notification process for such violations and customers have been very willing to work with the district to reduce their consumption and abide by the terms of their expanded water use permits.  She noted that the district prefers to work with customers to achieve compliance, but the district ultimately has a responsibility to employ enforcement mechanisms, as difficult as they may be. 

    After further discussion about the ordinance, director Siedman suggested that the Board defer enactment of Ordinance 37 at this time given that the district’s water supply conditions are improving and given further that customer compliance with the existing resolution requiring mandatory conservation is nearly unanimous.

9.    Use of Asphalt/Concrete Grindings on Roads within the Bolinas Community Public Utility District.

    Director Siedman announced that the Board has received a letter from its environmental consultant, Peter Russell, concerning the laboratory test results on the samples of asphalt-concrete grindings taken from the pile currently stored as Mesa Park.  Director Siedman read from sections of the letter, in which Mr. Russell opines that the material is as environmentally benign as the asphalt from which it is derived and unlikely to result in any environmental degradation.  Director Siedman stated that in light of this letter, he believes it is now appropriate to make the material available to the public for use for road resurfacing projects.  Director Amoroso concurred and moved that the BCPUD allow the use of this material on the public rights-of-way provided that residents first come to the BCPUD for the appropriate permit.  Director Amoroso said the pile also should remain properly tarped and protected during the rainy season.  Burr Heneman inquired whether residents outside the district can use the material;  the Board said yes and that no permit from the BCPUD is needed for projects outside the district.

V. Amoroso/ B. Kimball    all in favor    to allow the use of the asphalt-concrete grindings currently stored at Mesa Park for road improvement projects within the district, subject to the appropriate BCPUD permit requirements. 

10.     Approve BCPUD Letter of Endorsement for the Appointment of Supervisor Steve Kinsey to the California Coastal Commission.

     David Kimball said that he requested this agenda item as a private citizen, not in his capacity as the chair of the Bolinas Planning Group.  David stated that while he and others may not agree with every position Supervisor Kinsey has taken on issues over the years, he believes it would benefit Bolinas to have someone like Supervisor Kinsey, who knows this stretch of coastline extremely well, to serve on the Coastal Commission   Director Amoroso agreed; he said that while Supervisor Kinsey does have a reputation for supporting development projects, he has been very protective of the Coastal Zone and helpful to Bolinas.  Burr Heneman stated that he wrote a letter of support for Supervisor Kinsey’s appointment to the Coastal Commission on behalf of Commonweal.  Director Kimball said that Supervisor Kinsey was instrumental in facilitating the process of achieving a non-toxic protocol for mosquito abatement; he upheld the Bolinas Community Plan to stop development on the Bolinas bluffs; and he has taken a leadership role in protecting the Bolinas Lagoon.  She also feels he has supported affordable housing in Bolinas and believes it is critical for Supervisor Kinsey to stay engaged in the efforts to preserve Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.  Director Siedman said he has found Supervisor Kinsey to be very responsive to community concerns, especially in comparison to his predecessor; he said he supports the endorsement. 

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to submit a letter of endorsement for the appointment of Supervisor Steve Kinsey to the California Coastal Commission.

11.    Letter to Steve Kinsey re: BCPUD Participation in Planning and Financing of Engineered Solution for Terrace Avenue.

    Director Smith reported that he and staff had a telephone conference with Supervisor Kinsey last week about the letter concerning Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook that the BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District (”BFPD”) sent to the supervisor on December 10, 2008.  Supervisor Kinsey said that County DPW staff has estimated the costs of engineering and permitting for a project to preserve Terrace Avenue at this location likely will be at least $50,000.  Supervisor Kinsey proposed that the County and the two districts share these costs on a 50-50 basis – the County will pay $25,000 and the two districts will contribute $25,000.  Director Smith said it appears that some form of cost-sharing in this manner is the only way that a project will get done, even though Terrace Avenue is the County’s responsibility.   Although the BFPD’s funds are quite limited, director Smith is hopeful the BFPD Board will be persuaded to participate.  Given the imminent threat posed to the BCPUD’s water and sewer lines, director Smith said it is well within the district’s purview to participate and hopefully will be a good investment.

    Supervisor Kinsey said that the next step is for the two districts to send a letter to the County making an express commitment to contribute $25,000 toward the engineering and permitting of a project to preserve Terrace Avenue.  Director Smith said that if the BCPUD Board approves a financial commitment tonight, he will appeal to the BFPD Board at its meeting next Monday evening to join the BCPUD in this commitment.  Thereafter, the next step will be to form a working group of representatives from both districts and County DPW to begin the process of selecting an engineer and developing a solution for Terrace Avenue.

    Discussion ensued about the substance of the requested letter to Supervisor Kinsey.  David Kimball, a member of the Board of Directors of the BFPD was present and said that the BFPD does not see itself in business of maintaining roads.  Although this is clearly an egress and emergency access issue, the BFPD is on a lean budget and the Board likely will be concerned about setting precedent.  Director Smith said that the emergency access issue is one of the strongest arguments in favor of saving Terrace Avenue and that the BFPD’s participation (even if financially relatively nominal) will add tremendous clout to the project.  After further discussion, Ken Masterton suggested that BCPUD contribute up to $20,000 and request the BFPD to contribute at least $5,000;  he said it will be difficult for the BFPD to say no to spending a relatively small amount of money to be part of the solution for Terrace Avenue.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    that the district contribute up to $20,000 for the planning, engineering and permitting of an engineered solution to preserve Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook, but that a letter to that effect not be sent to Supervisor Kinsey until the BFPD meets next Monday. 

12.    Approve BCPUD Comments on Draft Statewide Septic Regulations (AB 885).

    Staff presented an overview of the comments prepared by directors McClellan and Smith and staff on the proposed statewide septic regulations.  Overall, the regulations are an unfortunately misguided attempt to impose a “one size fits all” approach to septic regulation that does not account for differences in soil or other site conditions; nor do the regulations implement the Legislature’s intent that financial assistance be provided to homeowners who inevitably will incur significant costs to upgrade their systems if the regulations are enacted.  Director Smith said that director McClellan also feels the letter should distinguish between the public health benefits sought to be accomplished by these regulations vs. broader public benefits such as environmental quality.  Director McClellan feels the state should have to prove that existing septic systems somehow are responsible for environmental degradation before it can impose environmental clean-up responsibility on owners of septic systems. 

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the BCPUD comment letter with the addition of a sentence to convey director McClellan’s additional point questioning whether the regulations impose responsibilities on septic system owners beyond that which can reasonably be imposed by the state.

13.    Election for LAFCO Special District Member.

    Director Kimball requested to defer this item until the March meeting in order to provide the Board members with sufficient time to research the candidates.  There was no objection.

14.  Urgency item: 

    Staff explained that the Marin County Energy Team has requested a letter of support from the BCPUD for the Marin RESCO application, a  summary description of which is in the Board binders.  This item was added as an urgency item because the RESCO grant application is due next week and the Board did not have sufficient prior notice of the application to include a letter of approval on the regular meeting agenda.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to send the requested letter of support for the Marin RESCO grant application.

14.    Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Discuss Acceptance of Solar Projects and Final Payment to SPG Solar, Inc.  Director Smith said that work remains to be done to complete the solar projects and he therefore requested to defer this item until the March meeting.  There was no objection.

-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee:  Director Siedman said the Board needs to decide the exact role of this committee relative to the update of the Local Coastal Plan (“LCP”) and specifically whether the committee is authorized to act on behalf of the BCPUD Board when attending public meetings and workshops hosted by the County.  David Kimball, chair of the committee, acknowledged that it is not possible for the committee to represent the entirety of the community, but it would be remiss for the BCPUD not to have a means by which to provide input on the LCP update process.  He said the committee seems to be the best way to do it given the timing of the update process, which is moving extremely quickly and often requires a two-week turnaround.  Director Siedman said he thinks the committee is doing a good job at gathering input and conveying it to the County.  Discussion ensued as to whether the committee can and should speak on behalf of the BCPUD to the County on the LCP update process, even where it is not possible to present and obtain approval for its input beforehand at a regularly scheduled BCPUD meeting. 

    D. Smith/B. Kimball        all in favor    authorizing the committee to act on behalf of the BCPUD on LCP update matters, subject to the requirement that all committee decisions are require a majority vote of committee members present at a duly noticed meeting of the committee and subject further to the committee keeping the BCPUD Board informed as to its activities. 

    Discussion then ensued about a possibly broader role for the committee to incubate other projects such as victory garden projects, water catchment planning and so forth.  Jennie Pfeiffer said a rumor has been circulating that a member of the committee has taken it upon him or herself to report illegal structures to the County; David Kimball said the committee explicitly decided against the concept of serving as a design review committee and any individual acting as Jennie suggests would not be acting on behalf of the committee.

    At the conclusion of the discussion, the Board reiterated that the committee is authorized to speak on behalf of the BCPUD on LCP update matters only (subject to the conditions of the motion just approved) due to the need to respond quickly during the update process and is required in all other instances to come to the Board for approval for position statements or actions. 

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report. 

-- Community Paths Group:  Nothing to report.

-- Downtown Parking and Traffic:  Director Amoroso requested that the committee be taken off the agenda as a regular reporting item.

-- Resource Recovery:   Director Siedman reported that the Resource Recovery Project is in the process of installing a water storage tank for water obtained via the new well and Mesa Park is working with PG&E to secure electricity at the site to power the well pump.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee: Nothing further to report.
-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Nothing to report.

15.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Approve FY 2009-2010 Budget Schedule; Accept FY 2007-2008 Audit Report

    B. Kimball/V. Amoroso        all in favor    to approve the 2009-2010 budget schedule and accept the 2007-08 audit report.

-- Legal:  Nothing to report

-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Nothing to report

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation:   Director Siedman reported that the Design Review Committee held a very successful meeting at the Bolinas Community Center that was attended by approximately 75-80 people, the majority of which were completely supportive of the proposed design.  Alethea Patton has agreed to serve as the downtown park project manager and will meet with the County to determine permit requirements and so forth.  Director Amoroso commented that the water catchment design likely needs engineering. Director Siedman agreed and said George Gonzales also had questions about it,  A full review of the catchment design will be done and the concept may prove to be prohibitively expensive;  the fundamental concept is to collect water that drains from the Little Mesa and collect it in underground cisterns.

    Director Siedman further reported that he met with the County about the Mesa Park parcel tax because on the December tax bills the County for some reason assessed only 25 parcels; the County will correct this error but required Mesa Park to include a statement acknowledging the error as Mesa Park’s, rather than the County. Director Siedman says that Mesa Park has elected to “fall on its sword” on this rather than fight the County and delay its receipt of the tax funds. 

-- Personnel:  Staff reported that a timely request to negotiate the Memorandum of Understanding between the Board and employees has been submitted and requested a Personnel Committee meeting to review the request.  Directors Kimball and Siedman asked staff to circulate proposed meeting dates. 

-- Sewer:    Director Amoroso said it is time to do more eucalyptus containment work at the sewer pond property and funds should be appropriated for this work in the upcoming budget process.  Director Smith agreed. 

b. Minutes of the January 21, 2009 Regular Meeting; Minutes of the January 28, 2009 Special Meeting.

    Director Kimball offered a correction to the January 21, 2009 regular meeting minutes.

D. Smith/B. Kimball        three in favor, director Amoroso abstaining        to approve the January 21, 2009 regular meeting minutes, as corrected. 

B. Kimball/D. Smith    three in favor, director Amoroso abstaining    to approve the January 28, 2009 special meeting minutes.

c.  Warrants

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the warrant list.

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 

March 18, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

16.  Adjournment.
    11:17  p.m.