Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
April 22, 2009     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order

    7:33 p.m.

2.    Roll

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

3.    Manager’s Report.

    Staff reported that work has commenced on the water conservation and dry year water use reduction program discussed at last month’s meeting.  Staff has researched dozens of other water district approaches, which have an odd ring of similarity as well as a resemblance to the Homeland Security program color “alert” system (with different colors used to signify the severity of different water shortages).  In general, other water districts’ approaches consist primarily of the imposition of financial penalties for excessive use and requests for voluntary conservation, neither of which are sufficient to manage a water emergency such as the district faced in late January.  Staff is working on a program specific to the Bolinas community, which likely will include not-to-exceed consumption levels and a customized sign to be installed at the “t” intersection into town (across from the nursery) to inform the community about the available water supply.  In addition, director Smith and staff are working with the district’s hydro-geologist to develop a predictive flow model for the Arroyo Hondo Creek so that the district can better prepare for future water shortages.  Finally, staff also has new data under development for the Board’s consideration; on a month-to month basis, staff analyzed overall consumption in the district during the first four months of 2009 as compared to the first four months of 2008.  In January of 2009, district consumption declined by 245,520 gallons as compared to 2008, in February (when mandatory rationing was in effect), district consumption was down 1,210,032 gallons as compared to 2008; in March district consumption was down 1,709,265 gallons as compared to 2008; and, in April (after mandatory rationing was lifted), district consumption was still down 89,876 gallons when compared to the prior year.  Taken together, the district consumed 9.86 fewer acre feet in the first four months of 2009 than it consumed during these same months in 2008.

    Reporters from National Public Radio were in the district for most of the day on April 15, 2009 to prepare for a story that will air nationally sometime in May as part of NPR’s on-going coverage of the California drought.  BCPUD’s shift operators and local residents were interviewed for the story, as were kids and staff of the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District. 

    Staff plans to proceed with the engineering work necessary for the redesign of the pressure-reducing valve station and associated piping located at the intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.  This work is necessary now in light of the planned installation of the County bike path on the east side of Olema-Bolinas Road this summer.  The district has not yet received any word from the California Department of Public Health as to whether the district will be invited to apply for any federal economic stimulus funding based on the pre-application process.  In different funding news, staff received a call today from the California Department of Parks and Recreation to say that bond funding for that agency’s projects have been released and final payment for the Mesa Skatepark project should be forthcoming soon, pending a final inspection of the facility.  Unfortunately, there has been a rash of vandalism on the weekends at the skatepark; the district has requested extra sheriff patrols during weekend hours.

Staff plans to attend a meeting next week sponsored by the Association of Bay Area Governments regarding that organization’s update of the multi-jurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan for the San Francisco Bay Area.  The district’s participation in such a plan is required for certain pre and post-disaster funding.  Staff also plans to attend the annual ACWA-JPIA conference in Sacramento during May 18-19th.

The district engaged a solar consultant to provide solar safety training for BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District personnel on March 27th; staff reported that the training was very informative and helpful. 

On the wastewater side of operations, a new irrigation pump will be installed at the sewer pond property in the next week or so.  Staff is waiting for engineering estimates on additional work on the sewer system, including proposals to relocate the sewer main off of Terrace Avenue and recommended approach for the rehabilitation of the lift station wetwell.  Staff performed hydro-jetting of the sewer collection mains on Brighton and Wharf Roads and signs have been installed along the district’s bike path to direct horses and bikes/pedestrians to their respective appropriate routes.

The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular meeting of the Board, including but not limited to notices about the upcoming Association of California Water Agencies annual meeting, pending amendments to the California Ocean Plan and an update from the California Department of Parks & Recreation regarding their programs.

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

Staff reported that designer Steve Matson is preparing construction bid documents for this project and staff hopes to put the project out to bid after the regular Board meeting in May.  Staff is beginning to prepare for the project’s impact to officer operations, including potentially moving some records to off-site storage in order to move office staff upstairs during the remodel work.

-- Update on the BCPUD’s Application for Proposition 84 Grant Funds for Projects to Enhance the Duxbury Reef Area of Special Biological Significance(“ASBS”)

Nothing to report; the bond funds for the Proposition 84 projects have not yet been released.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report

Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover has been consulting with district residents on potential drainage projects and also preparing for anticipated drainage work at the district’s sewer pond property to reestablish the existing ditch parallel to Mesa Road to ensure continued proper drainage of the property.  In connection with this work, a culvert will be installed within the ditch near the corner of Mesa and Overlook Roads to facilitate equestrian use of the property near the bike path.

4.    Community Expression.

Staff noted that the district had received a letter from the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin seeking a financial donation from the district.  No motion was forthcoming from the Board.

5.    Weinmann Coastal Permit (CP 09-27), Design Review (DR 9-54), Variance (V 9-7) and Expanded Water Use Permit Application; 98 Brighton Avenue, Bolinas 

Alissa McNair, a representative of the applicant’s architectural firm, was present to answer questions about the project.  She explained that the present basement of the house will be expanded to properly support the house structure above.  The basement is a storage cellar and will remain unconditioned space.  There will be no additional new habitable space, additional plumbing or any other change in use.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to grant an unconditional expanded water use permit.

6.    Request from the Bolinas Community Center for Funding from the BCPUD to Pay for the Purchase and Installation of a Waterless Urinal and the Replacement of Existing Water Closet with an ADA 1.6 Gallon Flushing Unit.

Marcella Robinson presented the Bolinas Community Center’s request for funding from the BCPUD for a project that had been suggested by BCPUD as a means by which to reduce the Center’s water use.  Marcella suggested that compelling public health reasons justify the BCPUD’s financial participation as the Center provides free bathrooms to the community at a cost to the Center of more than $10,000 per year.  Director Smith said that the bathrooms are an extremely important service to the community at a great financial burden to a small non-profit and said he was in favor of providing the requested funding of approximately $3,000.  Director Kimball concurred, noting that other than the bathrooms near the tennis courts, the Center’s bathrooms are the only public bathrooms downtown.  Director Amoroso expressed concern about setting a precedent for the BCPUD funding of town projects.  Director Kimball pointed out that the water savings will be considerable; staff agreed and noted that the waterless urinal also will significantly reduce the flows to the district’s downtown sewer system.  Director Amoroso said that the funding proposal therefore will reduce district water consumption, reduce flows to the sewer system and provide a clear public health benefit to the community – all of which are the criteria under which he can support the request.  Director Amoroso asked Marcella if the Center will commit to keeping the bathrooms open even if bathrooms are installed at the new downtown park.  Marcella said she cannot commit to doing so because the Center will not be able to keep the bathrooms open if it is not able to raise the funds to pay for the maintenance.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to grant the request from the Bolinas Community Center’s funding request, provided that the Community Center bathrooms remain open to the public until  alternatives bathrooms are available.

7.    Request for Explanation from the Redwood Disposal Company re: Comingling of Trash and Recyclable Materials in Company Trucks During Service Runs in Bolinas.

Steve McCaffrey was present on behalf of Redwood Empire Disposal; he provided photographs to the Board and apologized for not having provided a head’s up to the community that the company would be running a pilot project for the County within Bolinas (and selected other communities) using new trucks.  The new trucks have two interior compartments, which allow the drivers to carry both garbage and recycling in one truck.  He assured the directors that all recyclable materials are, in fact, being recycled and not merely being disposed of as garbage.  He explained that the company does not own any landfills, so it is completely against the company’s economic interest to dispose of recyclable materials in landfills.  Steve commended the Bolinas community for its high rate of recycling and low incidence of trash comingled with recyclable materials.

8.    Request for Letter from the BCPUD to the California Department of Food & Agriculture Requesting Prior Written Notification of Any Proposed Pesticide Applications And/Or Other Pest Eradication Methods; Request that BCPUD Enact a Local Control, Pesticide and Chemical Trespass Ordinance.

Director Siedman stated that Eleanor Lyman has requested that the BCPUD write a letter to the California Department of Food & Agriculture (“CDFA”) requesting prior written notice of any plans by the department to apply pesticides in the district.  Discussion ensued as to how much notice to request and ultimately it was agreed that 30 days would be reasonable.  Director Kimball noted that the district does have an agreement in place with the Marin-Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District with respect to mosquito control, however it does not apply to other pests and the agreement can be circumvented in a declared emergency, so it is important to get an agreement in place with the CDFA.  Director Smith expressed concern about the CDFA’s potential misuse of the emergency declaration exemption to side-step the required environmental review assessment of the pesticides to be used.  Andrea Blum from the West Marin Citizen said she spoke that morning with the CDFA and its representative stated that there are no plans to spray pesticides in West Marin at this time; rather, the department plans to release sterile moths, instead.

    Director Amoroso moved that the district write a letter to the CDFA requesting a minimum of 30 days notice of any plans to spray pesticides in the district and affirm the district’s opposition to all such pest eradication methods. 

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to send a letter to the CDFA per the terms of director Amoroso’s motion.

    Director Siedman observed that Eleanor also has requested that the BCPUD enact a “Local Control, Pesticide and Chemical Trespass Ordinance” and noted that a model ordinance under debate in Santa Cruz was in the Board’s binders.  Director Amoroso said that such an ordinance is  the County’s responsibility and the BCPUD should ask the Board of Supervisors to enact such an ordinance.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to request the Marin County Board of Supervisors to adopt an ordinance similar to the Local Control, Pesticide and Chemical Trespass Ordinance under consideration in Santa Cruz.

9.    Marin County Local Coastal Plan (“LCP”) Update process: BCPUD Comments on the Marin County Community Development Agency’s Draft Issue Summary Paper for Public Facilities and Services; BCPUD Comments on “Constructed Wetlands” definition for the LCP Natural Communities Issue Paper.

Staff presented an overview of the topics discussed in the Community Development Agency’s draft Issue Paper on Public Facilities and Services: water, septic systems, transportation, telecommunication, desalinization, and energy.  Staff recommended that the district comment particularly on the Issue Paper’s proposals for revisions to the Local Coastal Plan on the topics of water use and septic systems.  The Board reviewed a draft letter of comment prepared by staff; director Smith said he would like to evaluate the letter overnight and provide comments. 

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the BCPUD’s draft letter of comment, subject to review and comment by director Smith.

Director Smith informed the Board that the next topic to be discussed in upcoming months relative to the Local Coastal Plan update process will include the issue of “constructed wetlands” within the Coastal Zone.  Director Smith reminded the Board that the district had experienced significant costs and delays in the permitting of its solar arrays as a result of the County’s decision to treat constructed wetlands exactly like natural wetlands; director Smith said he completely supports the policy of an enforced buffer zone to regulate development around natural wetlands, but said the same policy approach does not make sense in the case of constructed wetlands.  He asked that the district write a letter to the planners requesting such a distinction in the Local Coastal Plan.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    authorizing the district to submit a letter to the County planners requesting a distinction between natural and constructed wetlands for development purposes in the Local Coastal Plan.

10.    Discussion of the Installation of Speed Bumps within the Public Rights-of-Way on the Bolinas Gridded Mesa.

Kent Khtikian said that as far as he knows, the BCPUD has not established a policy with respect to the installation of speed bumps within the public rights-of-way on the Bolinas Gridded Mesa.  Kent questioned the district’s ability to regulate speed bumps unless the BCPUD holds title to these rights-of-way, but acknowledged the district’s ability as a public utility district to enforce the public easements to carry out its utility functions.  Director Smith said that there is a deeper question which is: how will the community maintain these roads given that the County has not accepted them and maintenance by neighborhood road groups is spotty?  He said he would ask all community members to step forward to help the district figure out how to resolve this fundamental question.  He recognizes that many community members prefer the roads to be virtually impassable, however he believes that viewpoint is irresponsible and potentially disastrous in the event of a medical or other emergency.  Director Smith said that he is not opposed to speed bumps and believes that the existing roads ordinance, which defines and prohibits obstructions, could be amended to define a speed bump in excess of four inches in height as an impermissible obstruction.

Lyndon Comstock said he and his wife favor the installation of speed bumps to slow traffic when roads are improved on the Big Mesa.  Kent said that as a contributing member of the West Poplar Road Group, he did not request any speed bumps and he now has to go over nine of them after he leaves his house to get out of town.  He noted that people drive even faster on the paved roads in town and no one seems to want to install speed bumps on Elm or Overlook Roads to slow traffic.  He advised the BCPUD to stay out of the issue as poorly installed speed bumps cause property damage to vehicles; he noted that he personally removed a tenth speed bump on Poplar Road after it was installed and he damaged his car trying to drive over it.  He said he subsequently was investigated for vandalism for “removing a speed bump installed with material I paid for and that damaged my car!”

Charles Winstead said he would love to see speed bumps installed on Elm Road; he noted cars regularly are driving more than 50 miles per hour.  He said the speed limit signs recently installed have done nothing to slow traffic, even near the preschool.

Director Siedman said that the Board is persuaded that it has the authority as a public utility district to exercise control over the unpaved public rights of way on the Gridded Mesa in the exercise of its utility functions – water, sewer, garbage, drainage, etc.  He said he agrees that something installed in the rights-of-way that obstructs traffic is a problem, but installations to slow traffic is something else.  Kent emphasized that his concern is not with driving fast on the roads, but rather for medical and emergency access.  He said he does not oppose speed bumps per se, but acknowledged he went “over the edge” when the tenth speed bump was installed.  Director Siedman said that the Fire Chief has said that, on balance, the improvement to Poplar Road outweighs the speed bumps in terms of emergency vehicle access.  Director Siedman said that Kent’s complaint about the excessive number of speed bumps should be investigated by the Board’s Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads committee: does the number of speed bumps constitute an impermissible obstruction to the road?  Kent asked to be notified when the committee schedules its meeting to conduct the investigation.

11.    Resolution 577: Establishing a Supply and Equipment Procurement Policy for the Bolinas Community Public Utility District.

Staff presented a proposed supply and equipment procurement policy to detail how the district will handle small, medium and large purchases.

B. Kimball /D. Smith    all in favor    to pass Resolution 577 and establish a supply and equipment procurement policy for the district.

12.    Resolution 578: Accepting Completion of the Photovoltaic Generation Systems for the BCPUD Water Treatment Plant at 400 Mesa Road and the BCPUD Wastewater Treatment Facility at 101 Mesa Road.

Staff explained that the district needs to formally accept completion of the solar array projects and authorize final payment to SPG Solar, Inc., subject to the district’s receipt of a signed release and waiver of claims and following the statutory waiting period after the district’s recordation of a Notice of Completion with the County.

D. Smith/V. Amoroso    all in favor    to approve Resolution 578 as presented by staff.

13.    Resolution 579: Proposing an Election be Held in the Bolinas Community Public Utility District on November 3, 2009; 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.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor to approve Resolution 579.

Director Kimball reminded the Board that the district will have an advisory ballot measure relating to beach camping on the ballot; she said she would be happy to take the lead in drafting it, but that she will not be present at the May regular Board meeting due to travel plans out of the area.

14.  Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Nothing further to report.
-- Bolinas Planning Group:  Nothing further to report.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report.

-- Community Paths Group:  Director Smith said that the Group no longer officially exists as it has fulfilled its purpose.  The Board agreed to delete the group from the list of Volunteer Committees.

-- Resource Recovery:  Staff reported that the Resource Recovery Project recently has conducted vegetation management activities at the property to reduce fire danger and render the site more accessible.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Staff presented an e-mail from Supervisor Kinsey stating that he has requested funding from the Board of Supervisors for the engineering work to stabilize Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Discuss Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District Letter re: Elimination of No Spray List.  Director Kimball noted that the West Nile Virus Task Force is not scheduled to meet until June.  The West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council met on April 6th for what had been anticipated to be a relatively uneventful meeting; however, the week prior the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (MSM&VCD) sent out hundreds of certified letters (at a cost of $4.10 each) to residents on the “No Spray List” to inform them that there will no longer be a No Spray List but rather a new, high-tech GPS notification system.  Residents were asked to sign and return a form acknowledging that there will no longer be a No Spray List and uproar ensued.  It seems that the Board of Directors of the MSM&VCD did not approve the letter before it was sent (although the Board did approve the new GPS notification system in concept); on April 16th the “notification committee” of the MSM&VCD Board had a meeting and agreed that the issue of eliminating the No Spray List would go back to the Board of Directors in light of the number of residents who wish to preserve the No Spray List.  Director Kimball emphasized that there is an agreement in place for the MSM&VCD activities in West Mari, which does not allow the spraying, or other application of, any products other than those specifically identified in the agreement; the ONLY exception is a statewide emergency.  The MSM&VCD Board next meets on May 13th and the WMMCCC likely will write a letter asking the MSM&VCD to send a second letter to West Marin residents to clarify that they are protected against spraying by the agreement. 

15.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports
-- Finance:  Report on FY 2009-2010 Budget Progress; Approve Form of Proposition 218 Notice to Property Owners of Proposed Increases to Annual Water and Sewer Charges and Revisions to the Tiered Water Rate Charges.  Staff presented a draft of the proposed district budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year and a draft Proposition 218 notice that will be mailed to all customers notifying them of proposed increases to the tiered quarterly water rate and to the annual sewer charge; there are no proposed increases to the annual water charge or the annual septic/drainage charge.  Staff responded to questions from the Board about the Proposition 218 notice and incorporated suggested clarifying edits.  Director Kimball presented additional information about the proposed revisions to the tiered water, which are anticipated to affect only the top 30 percent of the district’s customers and which were developed after a thorough review of the rates charged by the other water districts operating in Marin County.  Although some revenue increases are expected as a result of the increase to the top tiered rates, the district’s primary goal is to encourage further water conservation among its highest consuming customers.

D. Smith/B. Kimball        all in favor    to approve the form of the Proposition 218 letter.

-- Legal:  Nothing to report.

-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Director Siedman noted that Kent Khtikian’s speed bump complaint has been referred to this committee for investigation; director Smith said that he would wait for director McClellan’s return before scheduling a meeting of the committee.

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.  Director Smith suggested that staff develop a hand-out for new residents of the community to inform them about the history of the water moratorium, the various charges for services within the district, drainage consultation advice and so forth.  Staff said that the district does have a “new customer” mailer that addressed much of these issues, but that it does need updating.  Staff agreed to provide a draft update of the mailer for the Board’s review at the May meeting.
-- Park and Recreation:  Director Siedman said that water quality tests have been conducted on the water from the well recently installed at the Resource Recovery Project site;  he results will be passed to Mesa Park’s consulting hydro-geologist for analysis.  In other news, the Mime Troupe will perform again at Mesa Park this August and planning work is proceeding on the Downtown Park.  Director Siedman noted that George Gonzales has offered to donate a group of apprentices to work on the retaining wall at the base of the hill below the Little Mesa, which will significantly reduce the cost of that feature.

-- Personnel:  Staff presented a recommendation to increase the hours of the district’s Administrative Assistant position from 32 hours per week to 36 hours per week, which was approved by the Board’s Personnel Committee.  The draft 2009-2010 budget will reflect the cost of these additional hours.

    -- Sewer:  Director Amoroso reported meeting with the district’s Chief Operator to discuss eucalyptus containment work at the sewer pond property.

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

D. Smith/B. Kimball    three in favor, director Amoroso abstaining        to approve the minutes of the March 4th Special Meeting of the Board of Directors.

Director Smith offered two technical corrections to the minutes of the March 18th Regular meeting of the Board.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the minutes of the March 18th Regular Meeting of the Board, as corrected.

c.  Warrants

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

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 

    May 20, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

16.    Adjournment.

10:57 p.m.