Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
June 17, 2009     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order

    7:34 p.m.

2.    Roll

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

3.    Manager’s Report.

    Staff reported that water consumption throughout the district continues to be at significantly lower levels than usual, which staff attributes to the habits changed and lessons learned from the district’s mandatory rationing in February – March.  In addition, late spring rains during May and unseasonably cool and foggy weather in June have helped suppress landscape irrigation.  The Arroyo Hondo Creek is flowing quite well as a result, particularly when compared to this time last year. 

    The district continues to experience intermittent operational issues at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant; staff has a site visit and training session planned with an outside consultant on June 23rd.  A draft version of the 2008 Consumer Confidence Report is in the Board binders and will be mailed to customers prior to June 30th; staff is waiting for comments from the California Department of Public Health on the section concerning MCL exceedences on the fourth page. 

The district is working with its outside engineers to complete the plans and specifications for the work to be done on the pressure reducing valves and associated piping at the intersection of Olema-Bolinas and Mesa Roads.  A form of agreement between the district and its engineers for the work has been finalized by staff and approved by director Siedman.  Staff anticipates that the plans and specifications will be complete by mid-July. 

Staff updated the Board on the status of the installation of the County bike path on the east side of Olema-Bolinas Road.  The installation remains scheduled for this summer, but there are some significant issues left to resolve regarding existing utilities (i.e., the district’s water line and PG&E’s electrical poles); staff has sent an e-mail outlining the district’s concerns to the County’s Department of Public Works.  It seems that the necessary coastal permit for the path installation was approved “with conditions” by the County’s Deputy Zoning Administrator and is now in the middle of the ten-day appeal period to the Coastal Commission, as well as CEQA review.   The County evidently also needs to obtain one more easement from an adjacent property owner.  Although the County originally had targeted a July 1 start date for construction, the engineers feel it most likely will be an August 1st start date; construction is estimated to require 45 working days.

On the wastewater side of operations, staff has been working on valve replacement in the spray fields; some mowing also has been done around the seepage ponds and adjacent to the utility paths.  With regard to the district’s two irrigation pumps, one was fully replaced and the second has been pulled and examined.  It is not in good condition and several components of the pump need to be replaced.  Staff will have a quote for the work to present to the Board at the July meeting. 

Staff has authorized the district’s outside engineers to begin work on the plans and specifications needed to relocate the district’s sewage collection main off of Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.  This work likely will be completed by September.

    Staff directed to the Board’s attention to correspondence from the Association of Bay Area Governments (“ABAG”), noting that the district needs to decide whether to participate in ABAG’s Local Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning  (“LMHMP”) process.  It is advisable for the district to participate in some form of LMHMP process in order to be eligible for certain forms of emergency funding.  Staff consulted with MMWD and MMWD would prefer to participate in a more locally-based LMHMP process with the other Marin water districts;  staff recommends this approach, as well, preferably via the Marin Operational Area LMHMP.  Staff will more fully investigate this alternative process and report back to the Board at the next meeting.

    The Board reviewed a draft of a revised discrimination/harassment policy for the BCPUD.  Staff met to review the policy and, unless there is any objection from the Board, staff  would like to implement the policy immediately.  There was no objection.

    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last Board meeting, including but not limited to the letter sent by the BCPUD to the County of Marin Planning Commission regarding the definition of “wetlands” in the Local Coastal Plan; an update about the Tomales Bay Watershed Council; and a code enforcement letter sent by the County to Paul Johnston at 413 Ocean Parkway to remove unpermitted structures and utilities. 

Staff reminded the Board about the upcoming Candidate and Advisory Measure deadlines for the November 3, 2009 election:  The Candidate filing period is from  July 13 – August 7, 2009; however, if any incumbents do not file, the period is extended to August 12, 2009 for non-incumbents only.  August 7th is the last day to submit exact form of ballot wording;  August 17th is the last day to submit ballot arguments; and, August 24th is the last day to submit rebuttal arguments.  The Board directed staff to submit an article for the Hearsay News to inform the community about the upcoming election deadlines and the fact that two of the three BCPUD directors whose terms are expiring have publicly declared their intention to run for another four-year term.

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

The district has received an estimate from the Inverness Gardening Service for the outdoor concrete portion of the ADA upgrade to the BCPUD building.  Staff met with Inverness Gardening Service owner Ismael Gutierrez and designer Steve Matson to review the plan upgrade details;  at the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Gutierrez offered to submit an estimate for the concrete work, which is under the bid threshold.  The Board discussed the issue and directed staff to confirm whether the district can proceed with the upgrade as two projects, whereby the outside concrete work is done during FY 2009-2010 and the interior upgrade work is done during FY 2010-2011.  Staff agreed and said that the final construction drawings should be complete within the next month.

-- 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 state budget impasse continues to freeze all Proposition 84 funding.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report

Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover submitted a written report.

4.   Community Expression.

Don Deane submitted a chart he prepared which he believes illustrates the “inequity” of  the district’s tiered water rate billing structure.  He acknowledged that math is “not [his] strong suit” and requested that the Board consider it.  Director Siedman deferred discussion to the following agenda item, which is the Public Hearing on the 2009-2010 Budget,

Jennie Pfeiffer inquired whether the Board would like a report from the Resource Recovery Project committee on the status of the site clean-up that is in progress.  Director Amoroso inquired whether any additional trees would be removed from the site;  Jennie responded that it is her understanding that additional trees have been identified for removal to accommodate the planting of community fruit trees. 

Jenny further inquired whether the new garbage company is comingling trash and recycling in the same trucks.  Director Siedman stated that a company representative had attended a recent BCPUD Board meeting and explained that there is an internal mechanism (inside the trucks, which are being used on a trial basis) which separates the garbage and the recycling in separate compartments.  The company has provided pictures of the trucks to the district and assured the Board and community that all recycling is being appropriately processed.

5.   Public Hearing:  2009-10 Draft Budget.

    The Board reviewed the draft budget.  Director Amoroso noted that water sales represents only about 15% of the district’s operating revenue, unlike other districts in Marin where water sales comprise nearly 80% of their revenues.  The majority of the BCPUD’s revenues is obtained via the annual service charges. 

Don Deane said that he has examined the current five-tier water rate structure and analyzed how much water a family can use to remain eligible for the lowest water rate.  He said that a family of 7.5 would only be able to use 17.33 gallons per day per person.  Don argued that the larger the family, the less water each person can use and still get the lowest rate.  Director Smith responded that the Board has engaged in considerable discussion about the most fair way to charge for its services; while Don’s point has merit, director Smith said that the actual use does not scale in the manner Don portrays it because a considerable amount of water is used in Bolinas  for landscape irrigation.  Also, director Smith’s research suggests that 20 gallons per day per person for domestic use is needed for general public health and safety (not the 52 gallons per day per person used in Don’s chart).  Director Kimball noted that 98.5% of the district’s customers were able to comply with the mandatory ration of 150 gallons per day per property and an appeal mechanism was in place for hardship cases.  Director McClellan said that the climate is changing, the area is becoming drier and it is important to charge appropriately for water to encourage conservation.  Jennie Pfeiffer commented that her family of five was surprised at how relatively easy it was to comply with the 150 gallons per day ration amount. 

Director Amoroso said that there is an essential amount of water a household needs to use and there is a discretionary amount – the latter is what the district is trying to discourage.  “We’re trying to get people to use less water, but no approach is perfect,” he said.  Director Kimball concurred and said the rates are set not to penalize people financially, but to encourage water conservation.  Don Deane said he regularly has five to six people living with him and his recent water bills have ranged from $600 - $1,000;  in response to questions from the Board, Don acknowledged that it was difficult for the teenagers living at his house to practice effective water conservation.  Director Amoroso said Don was making some good points, but that he is not persuaded to make any changes away from the tiered rate structure at this time – to the extent it proves to be demonstrably inequitable over time, however, he would be open to considering changes in the future.  Director Siedman agreed that the Board is always open to reconsidering hardship cases.

After calling for any further public comment and hearing none, director Siedman closed the public hearing on the district’s proposed 2009-2010 operating budget.

6.    Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill due to Unintentional Water Loss (pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553) – 415 Yucca Road  (J. Elliott).

Judith Elliott presented her request for financial relief and paperwork confirming the repair of a leaky toilet (not the same toilet that was the subject of a prior financial relief request).  Water consumption at the property confirms that usage dropped significantly after the leak repair and has remained at that level.  Director Smith noted that the Board has granted five (5) requests for leak relief due to leaky toilets thus far;  in most cases, the Board has granted a  reduction in the bill by 25% of the amount of usage attributable to the leak.  In one case, Judith’s prior request, the Board granted a reduction of 50% due to financial hardship. 

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to grant a reduction in the bill by 25% of the amount of usage attributable to the leak, based on the historic water use for the prior three (3) years during the same quarter during which the leak occurred.

7.    Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill – 150 and 190 Horseshoe Hill Road (C. McDaniel)

Director Siedman recused himself from participation in this agenda item.

The Board reviewed a request for financial relief from Chip McDaniel;  Mr. McDaniel contends that because he has been billed for usage at two properties via one meter, he has been overcharged due to the tiered water rate system.  He noted that the Board has approved his request for a second meter installation and he estimates that during 2008 if two meters had been in place, he would have been charged approximately $1,060.00 less in quarterly metered water bills and he requests a credit to his account.  Director Kimball noted that Mr. McDaniel’s request for a meter installation was approved contingent upon the installation of a new water line at the McDaniels’ expense and they did not agree to this responsibility until October 2008, when escrow on the sale of 150 Horseshoe Hill Road closed; she therefore does not favor a reduction in the bill for any period prior to the close of escrow.  Director Smith concurred.  Director Amoroso said that any such financial relief request must take into account the annual charge that is applicable to all water meters, which is currently $815.00.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    four in favor, director Siedman not participating    directing staff to evaluate Mr. McDaniels’ request as of the close of escrow on the sale of the property (including the $815.00 annual charge for the second meter) and report back to the Board at the July meeting.

8.    Expanded Water Use Permit Application – 230 Fern Road, (Wood).

Mardi Wood explained that she has erected a 1904 teahouse on her property that she acquired from a site in Sausalito.  The teahouse is 15 x 20 feet in dimension and does not contain any plumbing or electrical utilities.  She has applied to the County to legalize the structure, which has triggered the BCPUD’s expanded water use permit procedure.

Director McClellan moved to approve an unconditional expanded water use permit and director Kimball seconded the motion.  Director Amoroso stated that he is not opposed to the project in any way, but the teahouse sits on a separate parcel and it could be converted into a living space sometime in the future by a subsequent owner.   He therefore favors a conditional expanded water use permit or, in the alternative, a deed restriction on the use of the structure.  Director Smith said that the Board has granted numerous unconditional permits in cases where a garage and/or basement was installed and he said the Board should be consistent with those decisions.  Director Kimball concurred; she said she searched the Board’s minutes and found that the Board has awarded five unconditional expanded water use permits in just the last few years for workshops or garages with no plumbing.  Director McClellan said that he is not willing to base a decision on the application on what might happen in the future.

J. McClellan/B. Kimball    four in favor, Amoroso opposed    to approve an unconditional expanded water use permit.

9.    Request to Place Memorial Bench Along Pathway at BCPUD Sewer Pond Property (J. Churchman).

Joy Churchman explained that she and her mother would like to donate a memorial bench (in memory of deceased family members) next to the path at the top of the steep hill above the Olema-Bolinas Road.  She said she has spoken with Tom D’Onofrio about building it and is ready to proceed if the Board approves the request.   Director McClellan requested that she locate the bench sufficiently off the path and that she work with district staff to coordinate and approve the installation.

J. McClellan/D. Smith        all in favor    to approve the placement of a memorial bench along the pathway at the BCPUD sewer pond property.

10.    Right –of-Way Permit Applications:  Install Culvert Across Evergreen on South Side of Poplar; Install Culvert Across Dogwood on North Side of Poplar; Install Culvert Across Cedar on North Side of Poplar (BCPUD).

Staff explained that the district is the applicant on these culvert installation projects, which are designed to further improve the drainage on Poplar Road between Cedar and Evergreen Roads.  Director McClellan moved to approve the applications and director Kimball seconded the motion.

Matt Lewis stated that the proposed culvert installations do not conform with the Todd Plan.  Director Siedman noted that the Todd Plan shows drainage flow down Evergreen to Mesa, which these culvert installations are intended to achieve.  Matt said that culverts are not shown on the plan in these locations.  Director Smith said that he has spoken extensively with Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover about the Todd Plan and existing topographic conditions on the Bolinas Mesa; he said that the elevations shown on the Todd Plan have changed over the years throughout the Mesa due to road grading and other projects and that Lewie has confirmed the existing elevations and need for the culverts.  Director McClellan stated that Ordinance 30 provides that the district can deviate from the Todd Plan where its objectives can be achieved in other ways.  He noted that it is important to divert stormwater to Mesa Road off of Poplar, rather than put additional demands on the Larch swale, and these culvert installations will help do so.  Director McClellan said that the stormwater on this section of the Mesa naturally tries to cross streets and flow toward Evergreen and Mesa; given the ditching along Evergreen to Mesa that was previously approved by the Board, this project will substantially improve drainage in this neighborhood. 

J. McClellan/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the district’s right-of-way applications.

11.    Request from the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District (“BSUSD”) to Dissolve the Joint Powers Authority between the BSUSD and the BCPUD that Established the Mesa Park Board.

Director Siedman stated that he attended a recent school board meeting at which the topic of the school’s on-going participation in the joint powers authority agreement that created Mesa Park was discussed.  The agreement expressly contemplates that the board of Mesa Park will become an independently elected board (it currently is appointed by the BCPUD and school board) when its facilities are complete.  Director Siedman suggested that rather than dissolve the joint powers authority agreement, the two districts should map out a process whereby Mesa Park can transition to an independent entity.   Director Amoroso expressed concerns about the specific process by which this transition would be successfully accomplished (he noted it is particularly important that Mesa Park not lose its revenue-generating authority) and he reminded the Board that Mesa Park currently owes the BCPUD approximately $8,000; he also expressed concern as to whether there will be sufficient interest in the community in running for election to another board whereas the appointment process usually operates smoothly.  Director Amoroso also noted that the joint powers authority agreement provides that dissolution of the agreement must be initiated by the Mesa Park  Board.  Director Kimball said she feels the Mesa Park Board should take the lead role in mapping out the transition process and establishing a timeline.  After further discussion, staff was directed to communicate with Superintendent Enos and convey that the BCPUD Board supports the concept of Mesa Park transitioning to an independent entity, but the process should be carefully considered and dissolving the joint powers authority agreement would not be prudent at this time.

12.    Amend Grant Application for the Mesa Park Reclamation & Irrigation Plant – RN-21-003

Director Siedman said that the Mesa Park Reclamation & Irrigation Plant grant currently contemplates that the reclamation plant will treat water from Pond 3, whereas Mesa Park has concluded it would be operationally much less expensive to treat groundwater from the well recently installed on the sewer pond property.   The Board directed staff to send a report into the state Department of Parks & Recreation stating that the district intends to seek an amendment of its grant application to use reclaimed groundwater rather than Pond 3 water and is gathering data in support of this anticipated amendment.

13.    Advisory Ballot Measure for the November 3, 2009 Election re: Camping on Bolinas Beach

Director Kimball stated that she had volunteered to draft sample ballot language at the April Board meeting because she feels it is time to hear from the community on this issue.  She prepared a draft for the Board’s consideration, based on the approach taken by the district with regard to the non-toxic mosquito abatement protocol and the recommendations in the Beach Committee’s final report.  Director Smith said he agrees the issue of camping on the beach should be presented to voters, but suggested that the Board consider “more neutral” language as the draft ballot language could be read to suggest that the district is not protecting public health if it does not ask the County to ban camping year-round.  Directors Amoroso and Siedman agreed and the board discussed possible revisions to the draft ballot language.  Director Amoroso said it is important to alert the public to the specific language under consideration and Director Smith suggested that the Board discuss the specific proposed language at the July meeting.   After further discussion, the Board directed staff to include the following specific proposed ballot language for approval on the July meeting agenda and in the Hearsay News:  “Shall the Bolinas Community Public Utility District request a County Ordinance which prohibits camping on the Bolinas Beach full time and year round?”

14.    Letter to California Legislators Opposing the Legislative Analyst’s Office Proposal to “Borrow” Revenues from Water and Wastewater Special Districts to Bridge the State’s Budget Deficit.

J. McClellan/B. Kimball    four in favor, one abstention (Smith)        approving the draft letter prepared by staff to the district’s California legislators to oppose the state Legislative Analyst’s Office proposal to “borrow” revenues from water and wastewater special districts.

15.  Marin County Local Coastal Plan (“LCP”) Update process:  BCPUD Comments on the Marin County Community Development Agency’s Draft Issue Summary Paper on Natural Communities. 

David Kimball and Burr Heneman presented draft comments in response to the Draft Issue Summary Paper on Natural Communities prepared by the County’s planning staff in connection with the Local Coastal Plan Update process.  David noted that the 41-page staff report had only just been issued the prior Friday and the Planning Commission hearing to discuss the report is scheduled for next Monday – hence, there is only a very short window of time within which to review the Draft Issue Paper.  Unfortunately, the Bolinas Planning Group was not able to timely schedule a Brown Act-notified meeting of the full group to review the Draft Issue Paper, but an informal meeting of a subset of the group was held the prior evening to review David and Burr’s draft comments.  In general, the draft comments state that the Draft Issue Summary Paper proposed policies are vague, subjective and onerous – for example, property owners must subscribe to the California Department of Fish & Game’s website to determine whether their property is located within an environmentally sensitive area.  In addition, non-native plants are treated the same as native species in the Draft Issue Paper, which is not the case outside of the Coastal Zone and which will significantly impede efforts to control non-natives such as eucalyptus, french broom and pampas grass.  David noted that Cela O’Connor feels that the Draft Issue Paper also removes important protections present in the existing Local Coastal Plan and staff circulated for the Board’s review written comments submitted by Cela in advance of the meeting.  

At the conclusion of his summary, David requested the Board’s authorization for himself, Burr and Steve Matson to present their written comments on behalf of the BCPUD at the upcoming Planning Commission hearing.  Director Smith noted that the Board previously authorized the Bolinas Planning Group to speak on behalf of the BCPUD at Planning Commission hearings on the Local Coastal Plan update process precisely because there is very little time to review staff reports and turn around comments; in this case, the schedule is so compressed that even the Planning Group was unable to notice a meeting – nonetheless, David, Burr and Steve represent a subset of the group and he favors allowing them to present the comments on BCPUD’s behalf.  Director Amoroso agreed that the Board previously authorized the Bolinas Planning Group to represent the BCPUD at the LCP Update hearings, subject to the group having a quorum (which there was the previous evening) and bringing comments to the BCPUD when time permits.  There was no objection from the Board. 

Director Kimball stated that she plans to present testimony about the continued use of chemicals in the Coastal Zone and request that the County apply the principles learned from West Marin’s’ experience negotiating a non-toxic protocol for mosquito control with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito &Vector Control District and incorporate those principles into the Local Coastal Plan.  She said she would like to present her comments as a BCPUD director;  there was no objection from the Board.  Director Smith said that he also plans to speak to the issue of constructed wetlands in the Coastal Zone and to request that the LCP make a distinction between natural and constructed wetlands, consistent with federal law outside the Coastal Zone.

16.     Approve 2009-2011 District/Employees Memorandum of Understanding.

B. Kimball/J. McClellan        all in favor    to approve the 2009-2011 District/Employees Memorandum of Understanding.

17.  Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Director Smith reported that one of the invertors at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant solar array site has been popping fuses;  SPG Solar is reviewing the problem.  In addition, the solar array at this location has become impacted by swallow poop;  swallows currently nest under the eaves of the treatment plant building and fly back and forth above the arrays to the reservoir for bugs.  Don will contact the Point Reyes Bird Observatory for guidance on how to screen off the building eaves and discourage further nesting after the current chicks have fledged.

-- Bolinas Planning Group:  Nothing to report.

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:   Director Amoroso reported that the committee currently plans to proceed with the Kent Island restoration; however, it seems that great blue herons have taken up residence there, which no doubt will impact restoration plans.

-- Resource Recovery:  Staff reported that the Resource Recovery site received a surprise inspection from the County Environmental Health Services department;  the resulting inspection report is in the Board binders.  Jeff Creque has reviewed the report and said the corrections to implement are minor and he will assist Resource Recovery with that effort.
-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Staff reported that Supervisor Kinsey has requested approval of County funds to proceed with the engineering study to stabilize Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook and should know soon whether the request is approved in connection with the County budget process.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Kimball reported that the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (“M/SM&VCD”) has decided to maintain its historic “no spray” list and its new “notification” list.  District General Manager Jim Wanderscheid has invited Liza Goldblatt and director Kimball to consult with him on notification issues.  The M/SM&VCD no longer is picking up or blood testing dead birds for West Nile Virus, but the state continues to map the locations of dead birds.  Although human cases of West Nile Virus increased this year in California, there has been virtually no activity in Marin and the West Nile Virus Task Force will meet only two times this year.  Adulticiding in Novato has been stopped due an Ohio law suit which alleges that the pesticides used for adulticiding should be considered pollutants under state law.    Finally, director Kimball reported that she met recently with representatives from the National Park Service regarding the Giacomini wetlands restoration project and concerns about the potential for salt marsh mosquitoes;  it is important to educate the local community that salt marsh mosquitoes are not a vector for West Nile Virus.

18.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Third Quarter Financial Report.  Staff apologized that the agenda mistakenly includes a reference to the third quarter financial report, which was previously provided to the Board.

-- Legal:  Nothing to report.

--    Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Director McClellan said he called Kent Khtikian to discuss his concerns about speedbumps on Poplar Road, but Kent has not returned the call.  Directors McClellan and Smith inspected the speedbumps in question and do not agree that they constitute obstructions per the terms of Ordinance 30.  They drove over all of them at 15 mph in director Smith’s car (which is relatively low to the ground) without problem and also measured each speedbump and determined they are all less than four inches in height.  Director Smith noted that a resident at Walnut and Poplar would like to reinstall a speedbump that Mr. Khtikian removed;  he and director McClellan plan to speak with Mr. Khtikian about the matter.

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation:  Director Siedman reported that he met with Supervisor Kinsey at the Downtown Park site to find out if the County would agree to maintain new bathrooms at the site if the Downtown Park pays to build them;  Supervisor Kinsey said he would look into it and follow-up with director Siedman.

-- Personnel:  Nothing to report.

-- Sewer:  Staff reported on recent vegetation management work on the sewer pond property and Director Amoroso suggested that the Bolinas Fire Protection District may be willing to write a letter supporting further work in the eucalyptus forest to reduce fire risk to downtown.

   b. Minutes of the May 20, 2009 Regular Meeting

Director Amoroso said that when he reviewed the minutes he realized he had agreed to attend a meeting of the Community Conversations Task Force, but then forgot to attend the meeting, for which he apologized. 

D. Smith/V. Amoroso    three in favor, Kimball and McClellan abstaining    to approve the minutes of the May 20, 2009 Board meeting.

c.  Warrants

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

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s) 

    July 15, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

19.  Adjournment.

12:02 a.m.