Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
May 14, 2014    270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.   Call to Order.


           7: 30  p.m.


2.   Roll.


           Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Siedman and Smith present; director Godino absent.  Director Siedman presiding.


3.   Manager’s Report.


           The Manager’s Report was deferred until after Item 5 on the agenda.


4.    Community Expression.


The Board reviewed correspondence from Terrace Avenue resident Kathie Hart concerning a broken stair on the stairway between Terrace and Brighton Avenues and staff’s response that a repair of the stairs and railings has been scheduled for the near future.  The Board also reviewed an e-mail from Matt Lewis suggesting that the BCPUD pass a resolution affirming it’s commitment to comply with the Brown Act despite the state’s recent elimination of the reimbursement to local governments for the costs of complying with the Act.  Director Amoroso noted that Matt’s e-mail states “I have heard Vic Amoroso state at more than one BCPUD meeting that he and the Board have broken the Brown Act on numerous occasions”; director Amoroso said he has no recollection of ever making such a statement and does not believe the Board has ever broken the Brown Act during the time he has served as a director.


5.        Request to Discuss Graffiti on Brighton Beach Seawalls (R. Hart).


Remick Hart presented a slideshow of photos he has taken at Brighton Beach in recent months of the graffiti on the concrete seawalls, and reported on efforts he has made to encourage people involved in the graffiti painting to use non-toxic paints, remove all paint materials from the beach when done, not paint rocks and other natural objects, and so forth.  He expressed a strong concern for the community’s role as the caretaker of this beach and the need to prevent the paint from chipping off onto the sand and sea, and ensure the beach remains a safe place for the community and visiting public.  He referenced internet sites which depict Bolinas as a haven for graffiti artists which may be encouraging the recent surge in activity and related problems.  Remick said that while he doesn’t know who should be in charge, something needs to be done to address an escalating problem.


Jeff Labovitz, who said he is a resident of Horseshoe Hill Road and regularly walks the beach with his wife, said that the sheriff told him that it is up to the private property owners of the seawalls to take action if they do not wish to permit graffiti on their seawalls.  However, Jeff noted that many of those owners are afraid of retaliation if they try to enforce their property rights.  He said that if there is a consensus within the community of Bolinas that the graffiti and related beach activity has gone too far, the County should be requested to take action so that responsibility does not fall on a few homeowners to solve what is truly a community issue.  Director Amoroso said there seems to be a broad array of opinion on the topic in town.

Remick Hart clarified that his concern is with the toxic paint and garbage on the beach/sea, not with the aesthetics of the graffiti.  He distributed large, thick pieces of paint that have chipped off of the seawalls; the chips were multi-layered and very strong smelling.  He invited the Board and public to attend a town meeting at the Community Center this Sunday from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m to further discuss these issues.  Director Amoroso pointed out that a weekend meeting on a spring afternoon is not a good time for such a meeting.


Director Comstock said that the discussion in the Hearsay News seems to be focused on the aesthetic issue and there is a diversity of views on that topic.  On the other hand, he said that the environmental issues about the use of toxic paint, paint chips washing into the ocean, paint cans abandoned on the beach, and painting of the rocks, trees and cliff face are all very important and likely of concern to many in the community.  Discussion ensued regarding how to enforce applicable environmental laws, which agency(ies) have jurisdiction, whether the community would favor a visible enforcement presence on the beach, and whether the more objectionable activities have been committed by locals or by people from out of town.  Jeff Labovitz related a recent event he observed where a local woman who had painted a detailed mermaid and dragon on one of the seawalls was pleading with out-of-town graffiti artists not to paint over her work, but “they just sneered at her.”  Jeff asked: does Bolinas want to be a destination for others to come here and do whatever they want?


Director Smith referenced the paint chip Remick brought to the meeting and said he had no idea that it was so thick and so smelly and he agreed that it would be much less controversial in town to approach this as an environmental issue, rather than an art/aesthetics issue.  However, he said that the enforcement issue is a huge problem and he favors a “carrot” approach.  For example, perhaps someone would be willing to fund some literature about how toxic and volatile the spray is and ask the graffiti folks to switch from spray paint.  Jeff Labovitz said he is a chemist and that this is a complicated issue; he said that it is not precisely clear how “toxic” the spray material is as it involves a difficult chemical analysis.


Director Amoroso suggested that a petition could be started as a way to gauge town sentiment on the issues at the beach; he said if 300-400 registered voters were to sign it, that would be a meaningful indicator.  Remick Hart asked if the affected property owners were to unite on what to do, would the BCPUD support them?  Director Amroso said that clear direction from the community is essential.  Director Siedman suggested the Board continue the topic at a later meeting and await a community consenses on how to move forward.


3.   Manager’s Report.


-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project – Authorize Survey to Determine Mean High Tide Line Below Surfer’s Overlook.


Staff directed the Board’s attention to the binders and a copy of a letter dated May 6, 2014 that was sent to all property owners in the Terrace neighborhood (i.e., residents of Terrace, Park, Hillside, Rafael, Marin, Canyon and Ocean) inviting them to a meeting on May 31, 2014 with Supervisor Steve Kinsey and local representatives from the BCPUD and the Bolians Fire Protection District to discuss the future of Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook, which is threatned by bluff erosion.  Staff noted that Tish and Jim Brown offered to host the meeting at their home and staff thanked them for their generosity.  The objective of the meeting is to educate stakeholders about the status of efforts to date to preserve the road/bluff/utilities and the challenges involved – most importantly, the need for private funding.


Staff recommended the Board approve a survey to determine the mean high tide line location on the beach below Surfer’s Overlook as this will be important for jurisdictional purposes (to determine which agencies have permitting jurisdiction over a future project to stabilize the bluff).  The district has received a proposal from licensed surveyor Steve Flatland to perform this determination for $2280 prior to the May 31st neighborhood meeting.  Alternatively, the County surveyor may be able to perform the determination based in part on topographic mapping already completed for the site.


D. Smith/V. Amoroso              four in favor, director Godino absent                   to authorize staff to contact the County surveyor and request the determination and, if the County surveyor is unable to do the work prior to the May 31st meeting, to authorize staff to hire Steve Flatland to determine the mean high tide line.


-- Update on Shared Personnel Between BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District.


Staff said there there is no formal update, but this evening the two districts cooperated very effectively to respond to a major leak on a water main at the end of Canyon Road that was shooting water 60-70 feet into the sky, prompting calls from Stinson Beach.  Chief Operator Pierce reported receiving 5 – 7 calls at home from nearby residents and volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene to assit.  Water has now been shut-off on this line and Canyon Road resident Gary Ferrari, who works over the hill, brought in bottled water for the residents.  In addition, the Bolinas Fire Protection District offered the affected residents the option to take showers at the firehouse building.  Staff reported that the leak will be repaired tomorrow.


-- Update on BCPUD’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.


The district is waiting for a proposal from an engineering firm to conduct the asset inventory analysis needed to inform a five-year capital improvement plan.


On the water side of operations, consumption on the mid-Mesa for the quarter ending in April was very low, below the 2009 ration levels, which really underscores the effectiveness of the district’s Heightened Voluntary Conservation alert during February – April.


Staff directed the Board’s attention to a letter dated May 14, 2014 from the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) containing its “Annual Inspection Findings”: based on an inspection of the district’s water system conducted last May.  The letter contains six recommendations relating to water supply, water quality, water system operation, cross-connection control, and chlorine disinfection byproduct reduction.  Staff will prepare a response to all items on or prior to the response due date of June 9, 2014.  Staff also directed the Board’s attention to the district’s submittal of Operational Evaluation forms to the CDPH which relate to its chlorine disinfection byproduct exceedances; these forms were prepared initially by Lewie Likover and Jonathan Van Bourg, then reviewed by staff prior to submittal to the CDPH.  Director Comstock noted that the report stated the district is under “good and competent supervision” and he thanked staff for their efforts.


Staff reported that Jonathan Van Bourg has specified the work needed to be done to rehabilitate the clarifier out  by the Woodrat Treatment Plan to implement the recommendations the Board approved last month.  Preliminarily, the district has cleared out the poison oak surrounding the clarifier and drained it; the integrity of the clarifier appears to be good (with the exception of the ladder and railing system on the outside of the unit), and staff will have it inspected prior to putting it into use.


The Board reviewed a report on the Water Storage Tank inspection of the district’s treated water storage tanks which was performed by DB Gaya Consulting and Aqua Tech (divers).  Overall, the tanks are in good condition although work will be needed within the next two years on the East tank in that the ceiling/roof and upper shell should be sand-blasted and recoated.  Staff noted work is recommended for the West tank within about two years after the work on the East tank is completed.


Staff reported that the district has embarked on a meter replacement program.  At a recent seminar, staff learned that water meters, on average, start to under-register water consumption after about 5 – 10 years of life.  Within the district, some meters are decades old; as such, they likely are under-registering the amount of water consumed at the property.  Staff therefore has ranked all the meters in the district as priority #1 – 4 for replacement, with #1 being the most urgent.  At present, staff is working on the replacement of all #1 meters, with nearly 100 meters in that category.  Director Amoroso noted that the old meters may be responsible for a measurable portion of the district’s unaccounted for water loss and staff agreed.  Director Amoroso said that the district implemented a major water meter replacement program in the past and it made a big difference in the unaccounted for water percentage.


The Board reviewed correspondence from Phil Buchanan, who is concerned about the hazards posed by a grove of eucalputus trees on Mesa Road between Dogwood and Evergreen.  Phil is working on structuring a proposal for the removal of the hazardous trees (as identified by an arborist) to be paid for jointly by the neighbors and the district as some of the trees look to be in the Dogwood right-of-way.  He will submit a formal request soon.


Staff noted that the stairs between Terrace and Brighton will be repaired within the next two months.  The district will do the work with a temporary employee and the materials cost is estimated to be approximately $3,000. 


Staff attended the ACWA/JPIA conference on May 5th in Monterey, which was relatively uneventful.  The materials discussed at the conference are available for review in the Manager’s office. 


Staff noted that there will be a hearing on the Marin County Local Coastal Plan update in Inverness tomorrow, May 15th beginning at 8:30 a.m. and urged the Board members to attend if at all possible.


-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.


The Board reviewed a report prepared by Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover. 


6.    Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom Project: Approve Form of Contract Documents.


Staff reported that a match waiver request letter has been submitted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the granting agency, and the Project Officer called last week to review the request, which she said she fully supports.  The Project Officer said a decision should be made very soon as to whether the department will waive the match requirement.  The Board reviewed the bid documents and staff explained that local contractor Ed Pohlman will be the project manager for the construction phase.  After a brief discussion, director Smith moved to approve the bid documents and director Comstock seconded the motion.


D. Smith/L. Comstock              four in favor, director Godino absent       to approve the form of contract documents for the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom Project.


7.    Resolution 628:  Granting Director Grace Godino Permission To Be Absent.


V. Amoroso/D. Smith              four in favor, director Godino absent                   to approve Resolution 628.


8.     Resolution 629:  Approving Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Memorandum of Understanding re Compensation and Benefits between the BCPUD Board of Directors and BCPUD Employees.


Staff clarified that a resolution is not necessary for this approval, a majority vote of directors is sufficient, and apologize for the error.  Staff said that the MOU as approved by the Personnal Committee contains a 3% wage increase, a 3% increase in standby pay (from $51.50 per shift to $53.00 per shift) and includes language to make clear that 2-hour “call out” pay is earned if the employee is required to work (not only if the employee is specifically paged out).  In response to questions from the Board, staff explained that the proposed compensation increases have been incorporated into the draft budget.


L. Comstock/V. Amoroso       four in favor, director Godino absent                 to approve the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Memorandum of Understanding


9.   Water Supply Update.


Staff presented the laboratory results for total dissolved solids that were taken at the suggestion of the district’s consulting hydro-geologist as a potential indicator of seawater intrustion.  These initial results seem fine, but tests will be taken periodically and especially as drawdown occurs and the results will be monitored. 


10.  Volunteer Committee Reports.


-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report.


-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee:  Nothing to report.


-- Resource Recovery:  Nothing to report.


-- Water Conservation Assistance Committee:  Nothing to report.


-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Amoroso reported that the Council has growing concerns about the proposed use of methoprene in septic tanks by the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District, due to the implications for aquatic life.  Under the current “non-toxic protocol” between West Marin and that district, methoprene is not allowed.  He said there are implications for the district’s sewer ponds if wastewater from septic tanks on the Mesa is dumped in the ponds after being treated with methoprene, so a notification process will be essential.  Director Amoroso said he will update the Board further as developments occur.


-- Sewer Pond Land Management Committee:  Director Siedman said that the committee met in its new “incarnation” with two new members (John Glavis and Burr Heneman), and the members put together goals and a planning process.  The committee plans to map the sewer pond lands prior to its next meeting on June 6th.


11.          Other Business.


a.                Board Committee Reports


-- Finance: Community mailer re: draft FY 2014-15 budget.  Director Comstock stated that the Finance committee approved the mailer with a draft budget as it stands right now and he recommended the mailer be sent out to the district’s custoemrs.


V. Amoroso/L. Comstock                    four in favor, director Godino absent       to send out the community mailer concerning the district’s draft fiscal year 2014-15 budget.


-- Legal:  Nothing to report.


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


-- Operations:  Director Comstock inquired whether staff had made any progress on investigating the possibility of wells on BCPUD property.  Staff said that the likelihood of wells adjacent to the Arroyo Hondo, which was previously suggested, is extremely low and staff therefore is seeking an opinion as to whether it would be worthwhile to investigate the potential for groundwater below the Woodrat 1 reservoir, on the district’s property at 400 Mesa Road.


-- Park and Recreation:  Director Amoroso reported that there is an attempt underway to revive the Sun Festival at the downtown park; he further reported that Mesa Park has passed ordinances pertaining to that park, copies of which are in the Board binders.


-- Personnel:  Nothing to report.


-- Sewer:  Nothing to report.


b.                Minutes of the April 16, 2014 Regular Meeting.


Director Amoroso offered clarifying edits to the draft minutes.


L. Comstock/D. Smith              four in favor, director Godino absent                   to approve the minutes of the April 16, 2014 regular meeting, as amended.


c.                Warrants


L. Comstock/ D. Smith           four in favor, director Godino absent                 to approve the warrant list.


d.                Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 


June 18, 2014  at 7:30 p.m.


12.  Adjournment.


10:23 p.m.