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

1.    Call to Order

    7:32 p.m.

2.    Roll

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

3.    Manager’s Report.

Staff reported that the district’s water supply status is much improved due to what water providers in the state are referring to as the 2009 “Fabulous February” of rainfall.  The district’s rainfall total to date this season is approximately 20.7 inches; the Arroyo Hondo creek flows are up and both reservoirs and full and spilling.  As a result, the staff is prepared to recommend that the Board rescind the mandatory rationing requirements of Resolution 575 in favor of a continued voluntary conservation approach.  Staff is also prepared to recommend that the Board direct staff to develop a “water conservation and dry year water use reduction program” modeled on programs in effect throughout the state, but tailored to the district’s specific circumstances.  Staff’s recommendations in this regard will be more fully addressed during item 9 on the agenda. 

    Staff presented water consumption data for the most recent month in a new format suggested by director Kimball.  The data shows a significant spike upward in consumption during January 2009 (which was unusually warm and dry) and a extremely significant drop in consumption during February when the district’s mandatory rationing program took effect;  in fact, consumption in February was just half of the consumption in January.  Over 98 percent of the district’s customers were in compliance with the mandatory water rationing requirements.  Fortunately, the district did not experience any significant leaks on the distribution system during the last month.

    In operational news, staff  this month has inspected the top of the district’s two finished water storage tanks on Mesa Road.  Staff is concerned about the condition of the top of the west tank and recommends a professional inspection;  there was no objection from the Board.  During the prior month, all of the pressure reducing valves in the district’s distribution system were inspected and either repaired and or rebuilt.  The project proceeded very smoothly and was a highly beneficial training experience for the staff. 

    Staff reminded the Board that the County plans to install a bike path along the east side of Olema-Bolinas Road this summer.  The district has certain facilities in the vicinity of the bike path project area that need work;  specifically, the pressure reducing valve (“PRV”) station currently located on the west side of Olema-Bolinas Road at the intersection with Mesa Road.  Staff asked the district’s outside engineers for a cost estimate for the work needed to prepare the plans and technical specifications to modify this PRV station, including the installation of a second PRV as was previously recommended for this station, and associated piping; the estimate for this work was just submitted and is $11,750.  Staff recommended that the Board approve this work so that the engineering can proceed as soon as possible as the district will want to perform the specified modifications before the bike path is installed.  Chief Operator Pierce informed the Board that the project will consist of the installation of a new vault with two PRV, creating separate pressure zones for the downtown and for Gospel Flats.  Director Amoroso said that because the engineering estimate was just received, an item should be added to the Board’s agenda as an urgency item to vote on whether to approve this engineering work.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to add an urgency item to the Board’s agenda as item 12 (b) to decide whether to approve the engineering work for the modifications the district’s existing PRV station at the intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.

    Staff noted that in the Board binders is information about the Obama Administration’s economic stimulus plan and the potential for funds to flow to water and wastewater projects.  The federal monies allocated for water and wastewater projects will be disbursed by the Environmental Protection Agency to the California Department of Public Health (for water projects) and the State Water Resources Control Board (for wastewater projects).  The deadline for application for water project funds was February 27, 2009.  The district submitted nine applications for funds to:  (1) replace the existing 4-inch water main under Olema-Bolinas Road with a 6-inch main;  (2) replace all of the fire hydrants on the district’s distribution system; (3) extend the district’s water main up Horseshoe Hill Road to serve 150 and 190 Horseshoe Hill Road; (4)  install a fifth filter at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant; (5) slipline the overflow pipe at Woodrat 1 reservoir;  (6)  replace a portion of the Arroyo Hondo transmission line;  (7)  replace corroding services and saddles on Wharf and Brighton Roads;  (8) install new security fencing at the district’s reservoirs and storage tanks; and (9) stabilize the bluff below Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.

    In different funding news,  CalEMA has recommended full reimbursement for the funds the district spent following the New Year’s Eve storms of 2005-2006 to restore the Arroyo Hondo access road and reservoir.

    On the wastewater side of operations, staff will soon be preparing for spray season which begins on April 15th.  Staff also has requested the district’s outside engineers to prepare an estimate for moving the district’s sewer main off of Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.

    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last meeting, including but not limited to an e-mail from Redwood Disposal Company approving the district’s request (on behalf of the Bolinas Community Center) for a second seasonal dumpster to be located at Mesa Park for downtown and beach clean-up purposes.

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

    The district’s designer, Steve Matson, has suggested that a local contractor review his drawings for completeness prior to putting the project out to bid so that any necessary clarifications can be made to the plans beforehand.  Staff will identify a contractor and request that assistance.

-- 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”)

Nothing to report;  the state’s Proposition 84 money is still frozen.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report

    Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover reported that the district worked with the County Department of Public Works road crew on a major drainage project on Ocean Parkway;  Lewie thanked community member and Ocean Parkway resident David Kimball for his role in organizing the neighborhood.  Lewie reported that the district received significant valuable assistance from the County crew and he hopes to work with them again on another drainage project in the near future.

4.    Community Expression.


5.    Application for Well Drilling Permit – Whamond (APN ## 193-030-03 and 193-133-37).

    Director Siedman stated that the district has received a letter from the County Environmental Health Services (“EHS”) department per the district’s Well Permitting Agreement with that agency informing the district of an application by property owners Tobin and Ashley Whamond for two irrigation wells;  director Siedman noted that the district also has been provided a copy of an Open Space Easement agreement recorded in 1976 which is applicable to the property and he quoted certain of the terms of the agreement.  The stated purpose of the irrigation wells is for organic farming.

    Director Smith said that it is his understanding that the Whamonds have applied to take the property out of the Open Space Easement agreement (which is a ten-year process), so that the likely long-term intention is to develop the property.  Director Smith said that installing wells now may violate the easement agreement while the agreement is in effect, but in the future it likely will be permissible to install such wells as long as the 100 foot setbacks are observed.  Director Siedman agreed that the easement agreement by its terms (i.e., requiring the land to be preserved in an undeveloped state, prohibiting disturbance of the natural topography, prohibiting commercial agriculture, etc.) seems to preclude the installation of wells on the property during the term of the agreement and suggested that the BCPUD write to the County to apprise EHS of the agreement.  Others commented that the easement agreement prohibits the installation of any “structures” and that wells are considered to be structures under the Coastal Act;  others noted that nearby existing wells on neighboring properties could be affected by the installation of additional wells with this relatively shallow aquifer , so that perhaps a groundwater study or analysis should be performed.  Adjoining property owners expressed a strong interest in continuing to protect the land as open space;  they were advised by the Board to write their own letters in this regard as the issue under the Board’s purview is the well permit application only.

    The Board directed staff to write a letter to the County EHS department to express the stated  concerns that the installation of wells on this property may violate the several terms of the applicable Open Space Easement agreement  and to suggest that a groundwater study may be appropriate;  staff was further directed to provide a courtesy copy of the letter to Supervisor Steve Kinsey.

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

    Sarah Hampton was present to speak to this agenda item; she explained that she currently lives at the Regenerative Design Institute (“RDI”) gardens and that Scott Hammond, who initially conceived of the garden project on the property behind the BCPUD building, does not live in Bolinas anymore.  She explained that the concept is a garden based on permaculture concepts, using water catchment and greywater; RDI would like to share these concepts with community, particularly since many Bolinas residents have told RDI that they cannot afford to take RDI’s permaculture course.   Director Siedman said that when this item came before the Board previously, concerns were expressed about the project due to the topography of the land, drainage and erosion issues, as well as the likely removal of native habitat.  Sarah emphasized that the RDI group wants to engage in community-building around this project and to do what the community would like to see done at the property.  After further discussion, it was agreed to defer the matter until such time as RDI is prepared to make a more specific lease proposal.

7.    Complaint of Obstructions to the Public Rights-of-Way on the Bolinas Mesa (K. Khtikian).

    Director Siedman summarized the substance of a letter to the Board from community resident Kent Khtikian regarding the installation of speed bumps on Poplar Road;  director Siedman said he also received telephone calls from deputy sheriffs seeking to discuss reports of “vandalism” to specific speed bumps on Poplar Road.  While the deputy sheriff ultimately concluded that the vandalism complaint was a civil dispute, the overall issue of control over activities within the public rights-of-way on the Bolinas Gridded Mesa should be made clear.  Director Siedman noted that for many years, the BCPUD has exercised authority over unpaved roads and the County has exercised authority over the paved roads.  As a utility district, the BCPUD clearly has authority to enforce the public easement within the designed rights-of-way on the Mesa and has done so with respect to water lines, drainage, garbage service and the like.  With regard to speed bumps, the BCPUD in the past has heard complaints and investigated them as obstruction complaints pursuant to the district’s Ordinance 30.  Director Siedman said the district is seeking legal advice with regard to title over the rights-of-way on the Bolinas Mesa and plans to issue a public statement on the topic when appropriate. 

    Discussion ensued about ideal specifications for speed bumps and whether the speed bumps installed in Poplar Road did, in fact, obstruct the road.  Andy Blake stated that Kent Khtikian is the only member of the West Poplar Road group who does not want speed bumps and that he is unaware of any damage caused by the speed bumps.  Judith Elliott said that she has nothing against speed bumps, but that the speed bumps installed on Poplar Road were much too high and she nearly bottomed out when trying to drive over them at less than 5 miles per hour.  Director Smith proposed that the district define when a speed bump constitutes an obstruction – when, for example, it exceeds 4 inches in height – and stated that the district is not in a position to authorize the installation of speed bumps or issue specifications.  Director Kimball said that anyone installing a speed bump also should install a sign warning of the existence of the speed bump.

    After further discussion, the Board directed staff to prepare a response to Mr. Khtikian stating that the district is consulting its attorneys regarding title to the rights-of-way and that state law otherwise is clear that as a public utility district the BCPUD has authority to enforce the public easement, but does not have maintenance responsibility.

    Andy Blake said that he is unclear as to the district’s position on speed bumps.  Director Siedman said that if the district receives a complaint about a speed bump, it will investigate the matter as an obstruction complaint under Ordinance 30.  Director Smith said the district should define when a speed bump is an obstruction and director Siedman said that the topic should be agendized for the next meeting;  director Amoroso said that the letter to Kent Khtikian should include a statement that the district plans to discuss the speed bump topic at the next meeting.

    Director Amoroso moved that the district obtain a second legal opinion with regard to title to the rights-of-way on the Bolinas Mesa;  director Smith said the Board should discuss that motion in a closed session.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    three in favor, Smith abstaining    requesting the district’s Legal Committee to work with staff to obtain a second opinion with regard to title to the rights-of-way on the Bolinas Mesa.

8.    Marin County Local Coastal Plan Update process:  BCPUD Comments on the Marin County Community Development Agency’s Draft Issue Summary Paper for Public Facilities and Services.

    Staff summarized the issues presented in the draft Issue Summary Paper, which include potentially significant revisions to the Local Coastal Plan on water and wastewater matters within the Coastal Zone;  the paper also includes sections addressing energy efficiency and telecommunications.  After some discussion, the Board decided that the district’s comments on this Issue Paper should be conveyed via the Bolinas Planning Group process and directed staff to apprise the County planners as such.
9.    Amend or Repeal Resolution 575:  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 the Board has in its binder a draft Resolution 576 which rescinds the mandatory rationing provisions of Resolution 575.  Director Smith said that he is worried about the sustainability of the flow in the Arroyo Hondo Creek in light of the fact that the district has received only a bit more than half its normal rainfall, with no guarantee of additional rainfall until the next rainy season.  He inquired whether the district should consult with a professional hydrologist to obtain a calibrated projection of creek flow for the rest of the year.  He suggested that perhaps test wells for groundwater table monitoring should be installed near the creek so that the district could analyze how the groundwater level correlates with the creek flow; this might enable the district to better predict extreme shortages. 

    Chief Operator Bill Pierce said that he expects the creek flow to drop late this spring or early summer as it did during 2008;  he said that the district in 2009 has received three weeks more rain (i.e., later season rains) than it did the prior year and that creek flows are good, but not excellent.  In sum, the district is in about the same place now as it was last year at this time.  Staff plans to simulate a high demand scenario next week by running the plant at peak capacity to monitor the impact on creek flows;  if the creek cannot handle that level of demand now, that will be highly instructive.  Discussion ensued about additional means by which the district might be able to monitor and/or project creek flows.  Director Kimball noted that draft Resolution 576 directs the staff to develop a “water conservation and dry year water use reduction program”;  she said the district’s creek monitoring and/or projections should factor in to this program.  Director Amoroso said the district also should consider further revising its tiered water consumption rate structure to further deter high consumption.  Janine Aroyan suggested that the district implement a “stage” alert process that would correlate with available water supply and make sure the community does not revert to wasteful habits.  Kirk Kirkham commended the district’s prior decision to ration water under the circumstances then presented, but said that if the water supply concerns have eased, the district should lift the mandatory rationing but encourage continued conservation and reasonable water use.

    Director Siedman noted that there is a reservoir off of Mesa Road on National Park Service land leased by Bill Niman and said he would like to pursue talking with the NPS and Bill about possible emergency use of this water if needed in the future.  Bill Pierce observed that when the district’s own reservoirs were less than 40% full, Bill Niman’s reservoir also was quite low;  however, staff did talk with Bill Niman in January and he indicated that he would do whatever he could to help the community, but that since the reservoir is on NPS lands, NPS will need to be involved.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve Resolution 576 and rescind the mandatory water conservation provisions of Resolution 575.

    Staff noted that a proposed mailer to the community about the Board’s decision to rescind the mandatory rationing provisions of Resolution 575 also is in the Board binders;  staff inquired whether the Board has any revisions or comments on the mailer.  There were none and staff said the mailer would be sent out within the next two days.

10.    Tomales Bay Watershed Council Funding Crisis.   

    Director Smith said that he attended a meeting of the Tomales Bay Watershed Council (“TBWC”) the day prior;  the TBWC currently has no idea when the funds it is owed by the state will be released and the Council is not hopeful that the funds will be released any time soon.  In the meantime, the TBWC is struggling to survive.  Director Smith proposed that the BCPUD provide a second donation of funds as the TBWC does important work, the BCPUD has benefited significantly from its membership in the Council and funds are urgently needed to keep the staff and water quality monitoring in place.  He noted that the BCPUD previously donated $500 and he noted that the Inverness Public Utility District (“IPUD”) has pledged $1,000;  director Smith proposed that the district donate an additional $1,500 for a total contribution of $2,000.  Director Amoroso said that IPUD is more vitally connected to the TBWC (i.e., operates within its watershed) and he is willing to match what IPUD contributed;  directors Kimball and Siedman agreed. 

B. Kimball/V. Amoroso    all in favor    to donate an additional $500 to the Tomales Bay Watershed Council for a total contribution to-date of $1,000.

11.    BCPUD Order Commitment for ACWA/National Geographic magazine “Water for Tomorrow – California’s Water, Our Responsibility.”

    Directors briefly discussed whether the BCPUD should commit to an order of this ACWA/National Geographic magazine;  no motion was forthcoming.

12.    Election for LAFCO Special District Member.

    Director Kimball recommended that the district rank its preference of Special District members to the LAFCO as follows:  Einar Asbo as #1, Peter Sullivan as #2,  and Craig Murray as #3.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all  in favor    to submit the district’s ballot for the LAFCO Special District Member as recommended by director Kimball.

12(a).  Approve Engineering Proposal to Prepare the Plans and Technical Specifications to Modify the Pressure Reducing Valve Station at the Intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the engineering proposal from Brelje & Race to prepare the plans and technical specifications necessary to modify the PRV station at the intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.

13.  Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Accept Field Report for Solar Array Inspection; Accept Solar Array Projects and Authorize Final Payment to SPG Solar, Inc.  Director Smith reported that a field report has been prepared subsequent to an inspection of the district’s solar arrays;  the inspection was highly professional and thorough and, apart from the potential identified for corrosion due to the marine environment (which the district will monitor carefully and ensure that any necessary work is performed during the 10-year warranty period), no problems were identified.  Director Smith said that SPG Solar has fulfilled all of its installation obligations and delivered all system documentation;  he therefore recommended that the Board approve final payment.   Staff recommended that any such approval be subject to legal review for any final contractual or public works requirements.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball        all in favor    to accept the field report and approve final payment to SPG Solar, subject to review by and any recommendations of the district’s attorneys.

    Staff reported the district’s field operators  will receive safety training concerning the solar arrays on March 27th and that some of the Bolinas Fire Protection District volunteers also are scheduled to participate.

-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee:   David Kimball reported on the Planning Commission’s first Issues Workshop with regard to the Local Coastal Update Plan process.  Bolinas Community Plan Committee representatives attended the hearing and submitted comments relating to shoreline protection devices, bluff erosion, economic life span of structures, sea level rise implications and non-native tree removal permit requirements.

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:  Director Amoroso reported that he             attended the most recent BALTAC meeting but that a quorum was not present.

-- Community Paths Group:  Staff reported that the district has received $40,000 in reimbursement from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for the BCPUD bike path.

-- Resource Recovery:   Director Siedman reported that PG&E has provided an estimate to the BCPUD for the cost of providing electricity to power pumps in the event the state approves an amendment to Mesa Park’s reclamation grant permitting the use of water from the new irrigation well on the BCPUD sewer pond property (at the Resource Recover site) to irrigate Mesa Park’s fields.  Samples from the well have been taken and submitted to the district’s outside laboratory for testing. 

--    Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Siedman noted that the Board has received two letters – one from Rob Solomon and one from Remmick Hart – with specific suggestions for the potential project to stabilize the bluff below Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook;  they want to ensure that any such project fully addresses the entirety of the threatened area to the east toward Brighton Avenue.  Ilene Danse expressed interest in re-activating the Alternative Access Committee in light of the on-going threat to Terrace Avenue at both Surfer’s Overlook and Overlook Road.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Nothing to report.

14.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Report on  FY 2009-2010 Budget Progress.  Staff reported that the Finance Committee held a meeting on March 10, 2009;  the first draft of the budget proposes a $62 increase in the annual water service charge (a 7.6% increase over last year) and a $71 increase in the annual sewer service charge (a 9.3% increase over last year).  The district’s operating costs are projected to increase approximately 5% this year and several important capital projects are planned on both the water and sewer systems which accounts for the remaining increases in rates.  The committee has directed staff to consider specific suggestions and present a revised draft budget at the next Finance Committee meeting on April 7th.  Director Kimball noted that the committee also is analyzing the tiered water rate structure and may propose in increase in those rates at the highest levels in order to further encourage conservation.

-- Legal:  The Board suggested that staff inquire with County Counsel about the possibility of a second opinion on the right-of-way title issue.

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

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation: Director Siedman reported that Alethea Patton is putting together a budget for the Downtown Park project to determine how much the park donor will contribute and how much will be donated labor.  George Gonzales has expressed  concern that a subterranean cistern will be too expensive to install. 

-- Personnel:  Staff reported that the Personnel Committee has responded to the staff’s request to revise the Memorandum of Understanding between the Board and staff regarding compensation and benefits.  Belle Wood has requested to work four additional hours per week and this request will be considered by the Personnel Committee, as well.

-- Sewer:   The Board briefly discussed commencing its bi-annual eucalyptus containment project in the near future.

b. Minutes of the February 18, 2009 Regular Meeting; Minutes of the March 4, 2009 Special Meeting (Joint Meeting with the Bolinas Fire Protection District).

    Director Smith offered minor technical corrections to the minutes of the February 18, 2009 regular meeting.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the minutes of the February 18, 2009 regular meeting, as amended.

            The minutes of the March 4, 2009 special meeting were deferred to the April meeting for  approval.

c.    Warrants

D. Smith/V. Amoroso    all in favor    to approve the warrant list.

d.    Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 

    Staff requested that the April meeting be held on April 22, 2009 rather than April 15, 2009, due to staff vacation schedules.  There was no objection and it was agreed that the next regular meeting of the Board will be on April 22, 2009 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

15.  Adjournment.

    11:09 p.m.