Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
April 20, 2011     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order.

    7:32 p.m.

2.    Roll.

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

3.    Manager’s Report.

-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project:  Approve Revision to Scope of Work

Staff reported that a meeting was held at the Marin County Civic Center on March 29, 2011 to discuss this project.  In attendance were David Kimball and Jennifer Blackman on behalf of the Bolinas Working Group, and Supervisor Kinsey, Liza Crosse, Bob Beaumont and Tom Lai on behalf of the County of Marin.  The discussion focused on next steps in light of the prior month’s meeting with Coastal Commission staff.  The timing of the March 29th meeting was interesting given the storm of March 19th which caused a eucalyptus tree to fall across Mesa Road, blocking the road, taking down the power line and isolating residents on the Bolinas Mesa for eleven hours.  Given the lack of through access on Terrace Avenue, the community had a glimpse of the consequences of only one egress route out of town; thankfully, there were no serious medical or other emergency calls during this time. 

Supervisor Kinsey stated that the County Department of Public Works plans to repair the slide at Terrace and Overlook, hopefully this summer; he said that the planned repair is dependent on confirmation by the County’s outside engineers of assumed geotechnical site conditions.  David Kimball and Jennifer Blackman expressed appreciation on behalf of the Bolinas community at this news, but queried whether such a repair would have a sufficient life expectancy given the erosion conditions in this area.  David Kimball stated that if a choice needed to be made between a repair at Terrace and Overlook vs. a stabilization of the bluff below Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook, the Fire Protection District favors the bluff stabilization because alternative emergency access can be more easily developed at the top of Terrace if Mesa Road is blocked.  Discussion ensued concerning the pending report due soon from SAGE about the geotechnical conditions of the bluff below Surfer’s Overlook and the report to be generated by the County’s engineers concerning the conditions below the Terrace slide at Overlook Road.  The meeting attendees agreed to reconvene to discuss both engineering reports when they are available, likely sometime in May.   

SAGE has proposed to slightly revise its scope of work for the final technical report in light of the recent meeting with Coastal Commission staff.  Originally, it was envisioned that SAGE would conduct a detailed evaluation of several stabilization alternatives and then identify a “preferred” alternative.  However, the Coastal Commission staff already signaled that the “preferred” alternative is clear in this case – namely, a soil nail/sculpted concrete design.  As such, it no longer makes sense to devote resources to a detailed discussion of other alternatives; rather, SAGE recommends that  it back off of some of the detail it might otherwise have included on alternatives in favor of a deeper feasibility analysis of the soil nail/sculpted concrete approach to bluff stabilization.  The final report also will include analysis of a “no action” alternative and will include a proposed “in-kind” replacement of the upper retaining walls (at road level) to buy time if necessary while a permit for the comprehensive stabilization project is processed.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith        four in favor; director Kimball absent        to approve the proposed revision to SAGE’s scope of work.

--    Update on Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project:  Approve Acceptance of Loan Funding Agreement

Staff reported that late last week a courier delivered a package to the BCPUD office, which  turned out to be the long-awaited loan funding documents for the district’s Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation project.  The Board’s Finance Committee met on April 19, 2011 to evaluate the documents and identified the following key terms: (1) the interest rate on loan is 2.3035%; (2) annual debt servicing on the loan will be $22,878, which is nearly the same amount the district just eliminated from its annual debt load by prepaying certain of its loans; (3) in a surprising turn, the state imposed a deadline of December 31, 2011 to complete the project, a deadline that may be very difficult or impossible to meet if the County’s project to repair Terrace Avenue at Overlook is underway this summer and fall; (4) BCPUD must commit to funding any portion of project that comes in in excess of loan amount -- the BCPUD can request a one-time increase in funding after construction bids are received, but state will not guarantee the request will be granted; and (5) BCPUD must establish a Reserve Fund with $22,878 deposited at outset of project.

    The Finance Committee discussed the loan agreement at length and ultimately concluded that it is not in BCPUD’s best interest to accept the funding at this time.  That is not to say that project should not be done, but rather that the deadline for project completion, mediocre interest rate, and concern over potential cost overruns taken together means the BCPUD should fund it out of own reserves (which the district did not have at time of its loan application as these reserves were established when the district sold its Pine Gulch Creek property to the National Park Service in 2009).  After a brief discussion, the Board deferred a final decision on this loan funding to the May meeting.

-- Update on Horseshoe Hill Road Water Main Extension Project

This project is currently underway and construction is anticipated to take about three weeks.  The portion of the project with the most visible impact on residents, involving traffic control and lights at night, will take approximately five days.   

-- Update on the Bolinas Fire Fuel Reduction Project (BCPUD Sewer Pond Property).

Max Korten from Conservation Corps North Bay and staff had a planning consultation meeting with a County planner on April 8, 2011.  The consultation was an extremely useful and worthwhile process.  The County planner advised that a permit from the County will not be required for this project and the project is statutorily exempt under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).  The County requested that the BCPUD provide a letter from an appropriately credentialed biologist confirming that the project will have no impact on habitat or species.  Staff plans to work with the biological consulting firm that previously evaluated the sewer pond property in connection with the installation of the solar arrays.  Staff, Fire Chief Anita Tyrrell-Brown and Max Korten  met with the County’s Forester who confirmed that the diameter of the trees to be removed should be taken at 48 inches off the ground on the up-hill side of the tree – this is the accepted approach for fire fuel reduction projects.  The issue of whether the trees to be removed will be limited to 6-inches in diameter (or less) or 8 inches in diameter (or less) will be determined in the field – a meeting to which interested persons from the community will be invited.

    On the water side of operations, staff noted that water consumption continues to creep upward from the same time last year;  however, consumption remains quite low by historic standards per the most recent data presented in the Board binders.

    Staff reminded the Board that the previous month the Board considered a request for the  removal of dangerous trees in the Evergreen right of way near Larch Road.  Staff and members of the Board’s Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads Committee met in the field to assess the site and a memo in the Board binders presents a recommended work plan.  The memo concurs that the requested tree removal should be done and directs staff to obtain estimates for the work and then confer with neighbors about how to pay for the work.  PG&E should be approached to contribute because power lines are threatened by the trees in question.  Fire Chief Tyrrell-Brown feels very strongly that the road width needs to be reestablished at this location to permit the passage of fire engines and vehicles through this critical access road.  The memo further advocates the rebuilding of the road itself (which is close to impassable) and installation of appropriate drainage.   Staff noted that the district may be able to secure the delivery of ground asphalt from the planned resurfacing of Highway 1 around the lagoon; if so, this material would be very suitable to reestablish Evergreen Road. 

    Staff directed the Board’s attention to communications from two customers concerning leaks that appear to have been caused by faulty irrigation or other outdoor water features.  Staff requested that the Board determine if either of the customers is eligible for financial relief pursuant to Resolution 553.  After some discussion, the Board directed staff to inform customer Rosenfeld that he is not eligible for financial relief since the cause of the leak was a faulty irrigation control valve; staff was further directed to inform customer Lalezari that he is potentially eligible for leak relief since the leak at his property was not due to an irrigation system failure, but rather a valve at an outdoor pond. 

    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the previous Board meeting, including letters to customers regarding difficulty accessing their meters and notices to customers that they are out of compliance with the terms of their expanded water use permits.  The Board also reviewed three draft letters from staff to Mesa Park with invoices for payments made on Mesa Park’s behalf by the BCPUD and gave comments to staff.

    The Board reviewed documentation relating to the district’s prepayment of certain outstanding debt for the purpose of reducing the burden on the district’s customers to annually finance such debt.  The Board also reviewed a notice from the State Water Resources Control Board concerning its intent to adopt statewide septic regulations; director Smith volunteered to review the proposed regulations and report back to the Board.

    Staff reported that a property owner in Bolinas offered to donate property (located at the end of Maple Road on the east side of the road) to the district; after a brief discussion, the Board instructed staff to decline the offer.

On the wastewater side of operations, the district’s consultants are expected to deliver their final report concerning the allegations made by neighboring property owners that the district’s wastewater treatment plant was in violation of its operational permit.  In addition, spray season opened on April 15th ; fortunately, the district did not have to spray out of season this year.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.

    Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover submitted a written report.

4.    Community Expression.

Scott Finney expressed frustration with the County’s perceived lack of action with regard to the deteriorating public roads in Bolinas (i.e., Wharf Road (and the seawall), Olema-Bolinas Road, Terrace Avenue) and he urged the Board to be more aggressive in demanding better services for the town’s tax dollars.  Director Smith assured Scott that the BCPUD Board and staff are and have been working very hard to push several road improvement projects in town and cultivate a productive relationship with the County.  Scott disagreed with this approach and said “we have to be annoying or they won’t do anything”.  Director Bender urged Scott to get more directly involved himself and to urge fellow residents to get more directly involved in communicating with the County on these topics – she noted that this direct community engagement can be very effective with the County. 

5.    Request for Removal of Dangerous Trees in the Juniper Road Right-of-Way between Elm and Ocean Parkway (P. Pratt).

The Board reviewed a letter submitted by Polla Pratt requesting the removal of trees in the Juniper right-of-way near Ocean Parkway.  After a brief discussion, the Board directed staff to confirm whether the trees are in the public right-of-way (or on private property) and to advise Polla that an arborist report documenting the condition of the trees must be submitted.

6.    Coastal Permit (CP11-11) and Tidelands Permit (TP11-1) to legalize placement of riprap and install additional rip-rap in front of seawall, APN# 193-142-15 (100 Brighton Avenue)

Director Siedman inquired whether anyone was present to discuss this permit application; there was no one present so director Siedman instructed staff that there is no district comment on this application.

7.       Update on Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation Project –  Schedule Special Meeting of the BCPUD Board To Approve Notice of Determination under CEQA and Approve Grant Amendment Documents.

Bob Cart noted that the public comment period for the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation Project closes on April 21, 2011.  He said that he previously stated his concern to the BCPUD about the potential impact that the use of the well to irrigate Mesa Park may have on the well that serves his property (as well as the property of several neighbors).  He acknowledged that the BCPUD’s consulting hydrogeologist report states that if Mesa Park uses no more than 15,000 gallons per day, there should be no impact on neighboring wells.  He further noted that Mesa Park has agreed to reduce and/or stop its use of the well if there nonetheless is an impact on neighboring wells.   He requested that BCPUD be involved ensuring that the water drawn from the well by Mesa Park will not exceed 15,000 gallons per day and that Mesa Park will reduce/cease its use of the well in the event of an impact on the neighboring wells.

Director Siedman suggested that the BCPUD impose these conditions via the license agreement to be issued to Mesa Park for its use of the well.  Director Amoroso said that a meter can be installed at the well to monitor daily draw.  Discussion ensued about how to determine whether there is a negative impact on either the quality or quantity of water at neighboring wells from use of the Mesa Park well to irrigate the ballfields.  The Board directed staff to include an item on the May meeting agenda to discuss the terms of the license agreement.

The Board then discussed possible dates for a special meeting to approve the Notice of Determination under CEQA and agreed on April 27, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

8.    Discuss  Policy for BCPUD Board of Director’s Approval of Legal Expenses.

Director Siedman stated that the Board has agreed to formulate a policy for the approval of legal expenses.  Director Amoroso suggested that the new policy apply to all unbudgeted expenses requested or initiated by Board members over a particular threshold amount.  Discussion ensued as to the appropriate threshold level with agreement reached on $300.00.   Staff requested that the policy exempt emergency expenditures and the Board agreed.  The Board directed staff to include an item on the May agenda to approve a resolution setting forth the new policy.

9.    Resolution 596:  Awarding a Contract for the BCPUD Office Building Accessibility Improvement Project to the Lowest Responsible Qualified Bidder.

    Staff reported that two bids were submitted and opened on April 15, 2011 at noon for the BCPUD Office Building Accessibility Improvement Project.  One bid was submitted by Wildcat Engineering in Petaluma and one bid was submitted by de Rutte Builders in Sebastapol.  The lowest bid was submitted by Wildcat Engineering; with all of the addenda alternates, the total bid is $102,620.  Staff recommended an award of contract to Wildcat Engineering for the project, including all addenda alternates, subject to staff checking the bidder’s references. 

Director Smith suggested the use of linoleum instead of vinyl flooring in the new bathroom.  He further inquired whether the contractor would be willing to use a local subcontractor for the office floor refinishing.  Staff agreed to ask the contractor. 

K. Bender /D. Smith    four in favor, director Kimball absent        to approve Resolution 596 and award a contractor for the BCPUD Office Building Accessibility Improvement Project to Wildcat Engineering, subject to a satisfactory check of references.

10.  Resolution 597:  Proposing An Election Be Held in its Jurisdiction on November 8, 2011; 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
K. Bender/D. Smith        four in favor, director Kimball absent        to approve Resolution 597.

Scott Finney inquired whether the incumbents intend to run again for their positions on the Board.  Director Smith said he intends to run and director Amoroso said he is “not making a commitment, but if I need to answer, I will run.” 

11.   Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Nothing to report.

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:  Director Amoroso said a significant meeting is scheduled for May 10th at the Bolinas School to discuss the current status of the work planned for the Bolinas Lagoon restoration, including plans for Gospel Flats and Kent Island.

-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee:  Staff suggested that the district request a planning consultation to discuss how to permit/implement the Bolinas Downtown Parking Plan.  Director Amoroso expressed strong support for this suggestion.

-- Resource Recovery:  The Board received a site inspection report for the Resource Recovery Center.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Nothing further to report.

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

12.     Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Report on Draft Fiscal Year 2011-12 Budget; Approve Proposition 218 Notice to Customers re: Proposed Increases to Annual Water and Sewer Service Charges

    Staff reported that the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 is $1,432,759, which is  a 2% reduction in spending from the current fiscal year; however, staff noted that a considerable portion of last year’s budget was financed by reserves.  Staff said the new budget proposes increases to the annual water and sewer service charges for the first time in three years to finance district operations as follows:  the proposed annual increase to the water charge is $136, bringing the annual charge to $951 (a 16.7% increase) and the proposed annual increase to the sewer charge is $102, bringing the annual charge to $952 (a 12% increase).  The Board reviewed a draft Proposition 218 notice explaining the proposed increased charges and the reasons therefore.  Director Bender suggested a change in formatting to render the notice more visually readable.  Staff requested that any Board member wishing to suggest additional changes to the notice submit any changes on or before April 25, 2011.

K. Bender/D. Smith        four in favor, director Kimball absent        to approve the Proposition 218 Notice, subject to formatting revisions to render it more visually readable and subject to any changes submitted by directors on or before April 25, 2011.

-- Legal:  Nothing to report.

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

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation:  Director Amoroso said that the topic of BCPUD transferring ownership of the land currently leased to Mesa Park on Mesa Road has been broached recently.  In the past, there was opposition to such a transfer because the school district appointed commissioners to the Mesa Park board and it was thought that Stinson Beach residents therefore might unduly influence these appointments.  Now that the commissioners are elected, this is no longer a concern.  Director Amoroso said that he previously opposed such a transfer due to concerns that Mesa Park might not be financially viable.  He said that times have since changed, and as long as Mesa Park would agree not to encumber the property, he would be willing to consider a land transfer.  Director Bender asked whether Mesa Park is interested in such a transfer and director Amoroso said he would inquire at the next Mesa Park Board meeting. 

-- Personnel:  Director Siedman said that the district appears to have successfully negotiated a new Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with district staff and he requested that an item to approve the new MOU be included on the Board’s May meeting agenda.

-- Sewer:    Nothing to report.

b. Minutes of the March 16, 2011 Regular Meeting

Directors Amoroso and Smith offered certain clarifying corrections to the minutes.

K. Bender/D. Smith        four in favor, director Kimball absent        to approve the minutes of the  March 16, 2011 regular meeting.

c. Warrants

K. Bender/D. Smith        four in favor, director Kimball absent        to approve the warrant list.

d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 

    April 27, 2011 at 11: 00 – a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors.

    May 18, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. – a Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors.

14.  Adjournment.

    10:07 p.m.