Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
April 18, 2007     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 rainfall thus far this season is less than 2/3 of normal; flows are already very low in the Arroyo Hondo and an article was included in the most recent Pipeline newsletter sent to customers about the need to begin conservation efforts now.  The district is preparing for a very difficult summer and fall and it is conceivable that mandatory conservation measures may be necessary.  Recent articles in the Marin Independent Journal indicate that the Marin Municipal Water District and North Marin Water District are in similar straits.

    As a follow-up to last month’s report on the recent leaks on Wharf Road, staff reported that  Marin County Department of Public Works (“DPW”) personnel inspected a sink hole in the road that appeared last month after one of the repairs.  There is a concern that the nearby storm drain could be compromised by potential voids or gaps in the pipeline.  Staff requested and the Board had no objection to the district sending a letter to DPW expressing the BCPUD’s concern about the integrity of the storm drain and implications for other nearby utilities (e.g., water lines, sewer lines and phone lines).

    Staff continues to negotiate with Siemens Water Technologies over the terms of the contract to convert and retrofit the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant and currently is awaiting a revised version of the contract from Siemens. 

    Staff noted that a copy of the district’s 2006 annual report to the Department of Water Resources detailing the annual water production and consumption statistics is included in the Board binder and that copies of the district’s annual report to the California Department of Health Services are available in the office.

    On the wastewater side of operations, staff is preparing for this year’s spray season.  Conditions are very different from last year at this time due to the lack of significant rainfall to date. In fact, staff plans to delay the start of the actual spraying in order to complete needed work in the spray fields (replacing valves and mowing sections of the fields) and to inspect and repair or replace certain equipment.

    The district has received preliminary estimates from Pacific Slope Tree Co. for the cost of removing the dead and dying pine and cypress trees in the County right-of-way and on BCPUD lands along Mesa Road.  BCPUD hopes to cost-share with the County on this project because 13 of the 42 trees slated for removal are in the County right-of-way.  Staff is working with Pacific Slope on identifying ways to reduce the costs of this project, including potentially leaving the tree trunks on site and placed parallel to Mesa Road to compost on-site and serve as a barrier between the bike path and the road.

    Staff reminded the Board that the Spring ACWA/JPIA conference is coming up on May 7-8; staff plans to attend the Board of Directors meeting on May 7th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

               --  Update on Tomales Bay Watershed Council progress on an Integrated Coastal Watershed  Management Plan.

    Staff reported that the TBWC and representatives continue to work on developing the text of the plan and appendices; draft chapters have been circulated for internal comment and others are under development.  The principle focus in recent weeks has been on specific project proposals and decisions around the criteria to be used to rank the proposals. Unfortunately, the funding potential to implement projects appears to be very low;  it seems at this point that ASBS projects connected with larger regional groups will have the best likelihood of funding.  The TBWC in recent weeks has re-prioritized water supply reliability and drinking water quality as important watershed objectives, so it is likely that projects proposed by the various water suppliers may move up the project ranking list.

    Staff has worked with representatives from the National Park Service and the County of Marin to develop a project proposal for the Duxbury Reef watershed and a draft copy of the project proposal is in the Board binders.  The project focus is to improve certain facilities and discharge locations (parking lots and roads) identified by the State Water Resources Control Board’s ASBS Discharge Report (2003); update the Todd Drainage Plan; conduct outreach to creekside residents to educate them about water quality impacts; modify the Agate Beach parking lot and add a bio-retention facility; remove the unused concrete culvert on Agate Beach; install pet waste collection signs and bags; and implement certain livestock management practices.  The goal of the project proposal is to eliminate threats to water quality and ensure compliance with applicable state law.

    Staff presented a recommendation to the Board that the BCPUD retain a licensed hydro-geologist to assist the district with developing a scope of work for an update of the Todd Plan, prioritizing BCPUD goals and objectives for drainage projects on the Mesa, identifying where additional professional advice is needed, and evaluating regulatory issues.  Staff recommended hydro-geologist Rob Gailey, a local resident who already has donated many hours to the district on drainage-related matters.  After some discussion, the Board approved retaining Mr. Gailey per the terms of a draft proposal for an initial 50 hours of work at a cost not to exceed $8,000.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.

    In addition to the items noted in his written report to the Board, Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover reported that weather permitting, he plans to start work on the Alder Swale project by first doubling the culvert at Dogwood, then installing one culvert at Cedar and Larch and one culvert at Aspen and Larch.  He recommends leaving the culvert as-is at Evergreen and Larch for now so that the land between Dogwood and Evergreen in the Larch right-of-way can serve as a capacitor.  Lewie shot the elevations and confirmed that the existing culverts are relatively close to the Todd Drainage Plan specifications.  Lewie noted that he also plans to lower the ditch at Birch and ditch to all culverts. 

    Lewie also would like to perform maintenance ditching on Evergreen between Mesa and Poplar Roads because several cars were stuck there last year and he received many complaints about the conditions there. Lewie believes that this ditching will enable staff to clean out the culvert along Poplar under Evergreen.  However, he noted that before this project can proceed, the Board needs to resolve director Smith’s concerns about the need for a clear and consistently applied policy with regard to district drainage projects adjacent to unimproved properties.  Director Smith noted that this item is scheduled for discussion later on the agenda, but also needs director McClellan’s input.  Finally, Lewie reported that he continues to try and make progress with the National Park Service with regard to a grading project on Poplar Road, but that communication is problematic given the demands on everyone’s time. 

4.    Community Expression

    Lloyd Kahn presented copies of the new and revised version of his book on septic systems and said he marked two chapters which he thinks will be of particular interest to the Board – “Advanced Systems” and “Excessive Engineering and Regulatory Overkill”.  Lloyd said that, unfortunately, the same issues that tend to arise in West Marin (unnecessarily and extremely expensive over-engineered systems with environmentally unsound consequences) are happening all over the country.  Lloyd is working on an article for Mother Jones entitled, “The Septic Scam” based on input he has received from all over the country. 

    Director Siedman suggested that, in light of the attendance of certain members of the public for specific agenda items, the Board take items 6 and 7 on the agenda ahead of item 5.  There was no objection.

6.    Sphere of Influence Update for the BCPUD by LAFCO Executive Director Peter Banning.

    Peter Banning, the Executive Officer of the Local Agency Formation Commission (“LAFCO”), appeared on behalf of the agency and explained that LAFCO is a state agency that plans and regulates boundaries between cities and special districts.  LAFCO is required to adopt boundaries for each city and special district – “sphere of influence” – and update them every five years.  West Marin districts are up for review and the LAFCO files contain very little information about the BCPUD.  He noted that BCPUD staff is presently at work compiling information requested by LAFCO to conduct its sphere of influence update.  The type of questions likely to arise include: (1) what should the BCPUD’s sphere of influence be?  (2) Does outward expansion of the sphere of influence make sense?  (Likely not, due to the water supply constraint.) (3) Should BCPUD consider merging with the Bolinas Fire Protection district?  If so, since utility districts and fire protection districts are established and regulated under separate state laws, the two districts would need to combine and become a community services district (“CSD”).   Board members commented that there historically has been very little interest in such an idea within the community because of the different and unique functions served by the two districts.  Also, the BCPUD effectively serves as a CSD now, with direct input to the County on most if not all of the issues facing the community. 

7.     Expanded Water Use Permit Application:  McCarthy, 60 Mesa Road.

    Nancy McCarthy presented the details of her remodel project, which she states will actually reduce her overall water use because it is limited to an interior remodel and she is replacing all appliances with low-flow or water efficient models. 

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the issuance of an unconditional expanded water use permit.

5.    Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy: Consideration of Solar-Electric Financing Options; Acting as Lead Agency for BFPD and BSUSD; Depositing Funds for State Rebate Reservation.   Director Kimball reported that the committee met immediately prior to the BCPUD Board meeting and decided to defer any further work on a wind project in favor of pursuing possible solar projects for the district, one for the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant and one for the wastewater treatment facility.  Director Smith concurred and explained that the challenge is to figure out how to best finance a solar installation on BCPUD facilities.  Research indicates that there are two principal financing options:  (1) private firms, which purchase the capital equipment and sell the resulting electricity to users under power purchase agreements (“PPAs”), or (2) federal government issuance of interest-free clean renewable energy bonds (“CREBs”).  With regard to the latter, director Smith said it would be most favorable to structure a pooled bond issue of approximately $1.1 million to finance multiple solar installations for the three government entities in town (i.e., BCPUD, the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District, and the Bolinas Fire Protection District).  BCPUD could act as the bond issuer and collect the bond payments over a 15-year payback period.   The application deadline is July 13th.  To further supplement the bond financing, current California state law provides for a rebate amounting to about 1/3 of construction costs.  These together are a better deal for the district than the PPA, if the district can market the bonds.  Discussion ensued about whether the BCPUD should serve as the lead agency and other questions about issuing bonds; consideration of whether additional entities (such as the BCLT or Community Center) should be included in the solar project; and quantification of the PG&E savings, among other things.  Director Smith said that the committee is working with Greenlight Solar on the state rebate, as are the school and fire districts – both of those districts have made state rebate reservations and he recommends that the BCPUD do so, as well, before the rebate level drops again.  Such a reservation will cost the district approximately $4,000 for a deposit that will be refunded after grid connection of the solar equipment.  The district must issue a request for quotation (“RFQ”) for the equipment on district facilities within two months to keep the reservation.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball        all in favor    to approve BCPUD making a deposit to secure a state rebate reservation.

The Board also authorized staff to work with director Smith and execute all documents necessary to effectuate the rebate reservation.

-- Beach:  Approve BCPUD Request that Marin County Re-Post Beach Entrance Signs regarding the Bolinas Beach Ordinance.  Director Amoroso said he had requested this item; however, the signs recently were re-posted and tickets have been issued for violating the no camping rules, so there is no need for the BCPUD to take action at this time.

-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee:  Director Amoroso reported that the committee met the prior week, but work is proceeding slowly and there is nothing substantive to report.

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

-- Community Paths Group:  Proposal to Sole-Source Bicycle/Pedestrian Path Installation to Jim Jacobsen.  Director Smith reported that the applicable permits are about to be issued and he recommends issuing a sole-source contract for the construction of the path to Jim Jacobsen in light of his unique skills and abilities to install the path as designed within the district’s budget.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball     all in favor    to approve issuing a sole-source contract to install the bicycle/pedestrian path to Jim Jacobsen. 

-- Downtown Parking and Traffic:  Nothing to report.  Director Siedman requested staff to contact the committee chair and request that the committee meet and report to the BCPUD Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting in May.

-- Resource Recovery: Receive March Financial Report; Discuss Expression of Appreciation for RRP Manager Mike Aitken.    The Board received the March financial report.  The Board then discussed and approved the presentation of a certificate of appreciation from the BCPUD to Mike Aitken at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board in May.
-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Smith reported that the Alternative Access Road subcommittee seems to be stalled in any effort to make progress due to a lack of attendance at subcommittee meetings;  on the other hand, the County is stepping up to its responsibilities to keep Terrace Avenue open and passable for as long as possible, including but not limited to adding asphalt to Terrace at Overlook, potentially moving Terrace Avenue north to some extent at Surfer’s Overlook, and maintaining and improving the seawall below Surfer’s Overlook.  Director Smith emphasized that the community still needs to plan for emergency access in the event of a failure at both critical locations of Terrace Avenue.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Kimball reported that, as expected, the comparative data from 2006 and 2005 demonstrates a sharp decline in the number of West Nile Virus cases in one year.  April 23 – 29th has been designated by the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District as West Nile Virus awareness week; she notes that the M&VCD recommends the use of DEET to deter mosquitoes, whereas the WMMCCC opposes the use of this product.  The West Nile Virus Task Force plans to meet bimonthly, so there is no meeting scheduled until June.  The WMMCC continues its negotiations with the M&VCD about an extension of the current agreement with West Marin;  debate has centered on the M&VCD desire to use a new surfactant to control adult mosquitoes and the terms and conditions the WMMCCC would impose on any such use in West Marin.  Finally, director Kimball noted that a seat on the Board of Directors of the M&VCD has opened up in light of the departure of an at-large member;  the M&VCD has proposed designating the seat as a West Marin seat, rather than an at-large seat and she encouraged interested members of the public to apply. 

8.    Request for BCPUD Letter of Support for AB 541:  the Food and Farm Protection Act.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to write letter of support for AB 541.

Staff was directed to draft a letter and circulate it to the Board for review and approval.

9.    Resolution 546:  Ratifying the Board of Directors’ March 21, 2007 Approval of the BCPUD’s Increased Quarterly Metered Water Delivery Charges.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor     to approve Resolution 546 and ratify the Board’s previous approval of the district’s increased quarterly metered water delivery charges.

Director Kimball commented that she recently attended a Countywide Plan Update meeting focused on water supply issues in the County;  the staff report is strongly focused on conservation and there is no discussion of developing new sources of water – rather, the staff report suggests tiered water rates as a means by which to encourage conservation and exploring reclamation of wastewater, both of which the BCPUD is doing. 

10.    Resolution 547:  Proposing an Election be Held in the Bolinas Community Public Utility District on November 6, 2007; Requesting The Board Of Supervisors To Consolidate With Any Other Election Conducted On Said Date; And Requesting Election Services By The County Registrar Of Voters.

B. Kimball/ V. Amoroso     all in favor    to approve Resolution 547

    Staff noted that a Candidates’ Guidelines booklet is available at the BCPUD office and that  copies are provided to candidates when they take out their nomination papers

11.  BCPUD Response to Marin County Grand Jury Report – Retiree Health Care Costs:  I Think I’m Gonna Be Sick (Report Date: March 19, 2007).

    Staff summarized the report, which recounts the grand jury’s investigation into retiree health care benefits promises made by the County, 11 towns and cities and 36 special district  governments in Marin and the potential costs of these promises to the taxpayers.  The grand jury concludes that the County and many towns, cities and special districts in Marin are facing enormous unfunded liabilities to pay for promises to provide retiree health care and that they must begin to plan and budget for these liabilities under GASB 45.  The grand jury examined whether such promises have become “vested” and whether the managers and elected officials who benefit from these promises are in a conflict of interest position when making decisions about retiree health care benefits.  The grand jury concludes that determinations need to be made as soon as possible by these local government entities about whether their retiree benefits are vested; those determinations then should be communicated to employees (being careful not to create vested rights where none exist).  The grand jury further concludes that the Board of Supervisors and senior managers who make decisions about retiree health care benefits are in a conflict of interest position when doing so – thus, the County needs to establish a task force of independent professionals to advise it how to handle the retiree health care liability issue.  Moreover, the towns, cities and special districts need to take “immediate aggressive steps” to understand GASB 45 and use the information when labor negotiating and budgeting. 

    Staff reported that the BCPUD does not provide retiree health care benefits to its former employees; as a result, GASB 45 does not apply and the district is not facing any unfunded liabilities in this regard.  Nonetheless, the BCPUD is required to respond in writing to specific findings and recommendations in the grand jury report within 90 days.  The Board instructed staff to prepare draft responses for the Board’s consideration and approval at the next regularly scheduled meeting in May.

12.    Update on BCPUD Progress on an Ordinance Regulating Water Wells within the Boundaries of the District.

The Board received a policy document from the County’s Environmental Health Services Department which clarifies the County’s well permitting criteria for proposed water wells on the Gridded Mesa in Bolinas.  The policy states, among other things, that due to the prevalence of on-site wastewater systems on the Gridded Mesa, all water wells must maintain a 100 foot setback from the applicant’s property lines as well as from existing on-site wastewater systems.  No variances will be permitted by EHS.  The Board also received a revised copy of a proposed agreement between the EHS and the BCPUD; this revised agreement was sent in response to a proposed agreement sent by the BCPUD to EHS several months ago.  The Board directed staff to agendize the proposed agreement for Board action at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board in May.

13.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports
-- Finance:  Report on Status of 2007-08 Draft Budget; Approve June 20, 2007 as the Public Hearing Date for 2007-2008 Budget and Approve July 18, 2007 as the Budget Adoption Date for the 2007-2008 Budget.  Staff reported that the Board’s Finance Committee has been meeting regularly to prepare a draft budget; at this point, the committee is awaiting the Personnel Committee’s response to the staff’s MOU requests.  Staff anticipates that a final draft budget will be ready to present to the Board at the May meeting.  There will be no increases in any of the annual charges to customers for the next fiscal year.

B. Kimball/D. Smith        all in favor    to approve the June 20th public budget hearing and July 18th budget adoption dates for the 2007-08 Budget.

-- Legal:  Nothing to report.

-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Discuss policy on road-trenching expenses.  Director Smith noted he asked for this item on the agenda because of Lewie’s proposed ditching project on Evergreen Road;  director Smith is concerned about setting precedent for the BCPUD to finance similar projects that properly should be at the expense of affected property owners.  Director Smith emphasized that he would like to wait until director McClellan returns to the district to make a decision on this topic, but wanted to raise the issue for consideration.  Director Amoroso commented that neighborhood access roads historically have posed problems: no one wants to improve these roads since doing so tends to encourage traffic in the neighborhood. 

-- Operations:  Nothing to report

-- Park and Recreation:  Director Siedman reported that Mesa Park’s Downtown Site Design Committee’s meetings have been very well attended; recently, a group of residents from the Little Mesa raised concerns about the tree removal that has been preformed and a Hillside Subcommittee has been formed.  A second subcommittee has been tasked with developing a preliminary design for the flat portion of the park; director Siedman said that contrary to some rumors that he has hears, no showers or library will be incorporated into the design per the wishes of the donor.   The Mesa Park Board decided that if the community agrees to support the maintenance costs of bathrooms (by approving a parcel tax therefore), then bathrooms will be included in the design; director Siedman noted that Stinson residents told the Mesa Park Board they regret not including bathrooms in the Village Green parks in downtown Stinson Beach.  Discussion is on-going as to what to do with the existing duplex building in the back of the property (whether it should be demolished or rehabbed) and how to accommodate fire department access to the property.  Director Siedman emphasized that no final decisions have been made as to any of these issues

        Staff inquired whether the Mesa Park Board has authorized the expenditure of funds to retain a hydrologist and install monitoring wells to explore a possible groundwater source alternative to reclaiming water from the BCPUD treatment ponds to irrigate the Mesa Park fields.  Director Siedman confirmed that $5,000 has been approved for this purpose and that Rob Gailey has been retained to advise Mesa Park on the project.  Staff was directed to work directly with Rob to monitor the project.

-- Personnel:  Certificate of Appreciation: Recognizing Kate Currey For Twenty Years of Service to the BCPUD.  

B. Kimball/D. Smith     three in favor (Amoroso abstaining)     to present certificate of appreciation to Kate Currey at the May Board meeting.

-- Sewer:   Nothing to report.

b.  Minutes of the March 21, 2007 Regular Meeting

    B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the minutes of the March 21, 2007 regular meeting.

c.  Warrants

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

d.    Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)

May 16, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

14.    Adjournment

11:12 p.m.