Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
July 18, 2007     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.    Call to Order

    7:32 p.m.

2.    Roll

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

3.    Manager’s Report

    Staff reported that water consumption thankfully has declined significantly since the July 4th holiday.  The media focus on the district’s water emergency seems to have raised community awareness about the serious nature of the issue and the community made concerted efforts to reduce consumption.  As a result, the levels in the water shortage tanks are rising. BCPUD staff is very grateful to the community for its efforts; staff will continue its work to educate the public about water conservation, particularly with regard to landscaping.  Staff also intends to recommend the purchase of a fifth filter for the water treatment plant during FY 2008-09 to boost the district’s production capacity.

    FEMA has granted the district’s request for an extension of time until November 2008 to conduct and complete its restoration work in the Arroyo Hondo canyon; the extension is necessary due to the presence of spotted owls near the work site.  On a related note, conditions permitting (i.e., creek flows and water storage tank levels), the retrofit of the water treatment plant is scheduled to get underway during the week of August 13th when equipment and parts are scheduled to begin arriving. 

    The district currently is advertising for a part-time shift operator to cover alternate weekend and certain weekday shifts.  Several applications have been submitted and staff will keep the Board apprised regarding the hiring process.

    Staff reported that director Kimball has raised concerns about disabled access to the BCPUD office.  Although the BCPUD building complies with the ADA access requirements (via the main doors at the center of the building), the entry to the BCPUD office likely is not compliant.  Staff is investigating possible solutions to that problem (i.e., construction of a ramp, a designated parking space, and so forth);  in the meantime, however, director Kimball has suggested that the district implement a policy immediately to ensure the public’s opportunity to attend BCPUD meetings whereby any interested person can contact the office and request access to the meeting via the main building door and BCPUD staff will make the necessary arrangements.

    On the wastewater side of operations, based on a recent inspection of the wastewater pumps it is clear that one of the two pumps serving the wastewater treatment ponds is in need of replacement.  This will result in an unanticipated expense to the district of over $20,000 this fiscal year.  Staff recommends paying for the new pumps from district reserves this year and then repaying the reserves via increases to the sewer service charge in subsequent years. The Board had no objection. 
    In the field, spray season is underway; staff took advantage of the dry spring and summer months to mow the spray fields, remove reeds and re-establish sprayheads.   Overall, enhanced vegetation management is improving soil absorption so that there is little to no standing water in the sprayfields and minimal mosquito activity. 

    Staff met this week with representatives of PG&E , the Bolinas Fire Protection District (“BFPD”) and the Davey Tree company to discuss a planned PG&E tree-limbing project on Mesa Road; specifically, PG&E plans to remove dead, dying and dangerous limbs from the tree canopy overhanging Mesa Road near Olema-Bolinas Road as these limbs are endangering the power lines.  Staff has contacted local wood cutters, but no one yet seems to be interested in hauling the limb remains. As a last resort, the largest limbs may need to be left on site (the brush and small limbs will be chipped and taken the Resource Recovery). 

    Staff also met recently with representatives of the West Marin Stage and the Marin County Transit District regarding on-going parking difficulties at the lab building due to the increased number of busses and driver vehicles.  It was agreed that BCPUD will request estimates from contractors to improve and expand the existing parking lot to accommodate the additional vehicles with the expectation that the transit district will finance the improvements. 

    The district has received an offer from a community member to purchase the Resource Recovery dump truck ; staff recommends selling the vehicle as the BCPUD would like to donate its existing dump truck to the RRP when it purchases the new dump truck for the district this year.  The Board had no objection. 

    Staff apprised the Board of a report received on July 13th of approximately 20 cows in the Pine Gulch Creek on the BCPUD property, despite the existence of an exclusionary fence.  Staff hiked to the property and confirmed the report; photos were provided to the Board.  As of at least July 18th, the cows are out of the creek.  Staff inquired whether any further action is necessary at this time.  After a brief discussion, the Board directed staff to contact the neighboring property owner’s ranch manager and discuss the situation with him 

    The owner of the boat in the Juniper right-of-way called the BCPUD this week and stated that he plans to relocate the boat to his property this week. 

    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last Board meeting, including but not limited to a pending permit application for the installation of a well on Poplar Road.  Staff reminded the Board that the filing period for persons interested in running for the two open seats on the BCPUD Board opened on July 16th and will close on August 10th, unless one or more of the incumbents does not file for re-election, in which case the filing period will be extended to August 15th. 
     -- Drainage Project Manager’s Report: Update on BCPUD’s Drainage Planning Process and Technical Analysis by Consulting Hydrogeologist Robert Gailey

    Consulting hydrogeologist Rob Gailey was present at the meeting and provided a comprehensive update on the district’s drainage planning process and technical analysis.  Rob noted preliminarily that drainage on the Gridded Mesa is a complicated issue because of challenging hydrologic issues, including but not limited to relatively flat terrain, the ability (or lack thereof) of the soil to accept stormwater, and the high winter water table, all of which are compounded by past land use decisions including right-of-way obstructions and/or encroachments, lack of culverts, house locations close to drainways, septic system locations, and so forth.  In addition to the physical conditions, regulatory considerations present additional challenges.   The purpose of the current planning process is to lay the necessary groundwork for technical (staff) and policy (Board of Directors) analysis and decision-making.

    A working group has been formed, consisting of Rob, the BCPUD’s Drainage Manager and the BCPUD’s General Manager; the group has met seven times to develop an overall approach to the planning process and develop comprehensive and site-specific project goals.  The group identified a set of topics to be considered and assigned primary responsibility for each topic within the group: (1) the district’s drainage needs (Drainage Manager), which are to prevent flooding, lower the water table, protect the health of the coast and direct water away from the bluff zone; (2) hydrology (Rob); (3) regulatory considerations (General Manager); (4) project implementation considerations (Rob); (5) community participation (Drainage Manager); and (6) institutional considerations (General Manager).  The group also developed an analysis grid (an enlarged copy of which was posted for the Board and public’s review) which Rob described as a “living” document which is not yet complete and which is subject to further additions and refinements.  To develop the grid, the group took a map of the Gridded Mesa and broke the region into eight “project areas”, based on hydrology considerations and project needs; within each project area, the group further identified sub-areas called “legs”, with project-specific descriptions.  At present, the group is working to complete the analysis grid within the next month.  The group also is evaluating potential sources of funding to conduct projects (particularly the more ambitious projects) and completing a regulatory analysis to determine whether any particular permits are required for the projects identified.  Community participation in the drainage planning process is essential to ensure community “buy in” and acceptance of the district’s efforts to improve drainage on the Gridded Mesa; this is particularly true where property owner permission may be necessary to direct stormwater along certain of the naturally-occurring drainways that cross private property.  Finally, Rob noted that the Board’s guidance on drainage management will be critical, especially with regard to addressing obstructions and encroachments in the rights-of-way and to funding drainage projects.

    Director Amoroso commented that one of the considerations driving the district’s efforts with regard to drainage has been the looming threat of new statewide septic system regulations; he inquired about the status of that process.  Director Smith said that based on a conversation he had recently with the County’s Director or Environmental Health Services, it is his understanding that the state is “going back to the drawing board” on its proposed regulations because of the widespread criticism the proposed draft regulations have received.

    Rob responded to a variety of questions from the Board and members of the public regarding the status of the work in progress and possible next steps.  The working group is planning to complete its analysis grid and regulatory overview and then request a meeting with the County’s “MCSTOPP” office, which has jurisdiction over stormwater management in unincorporated Marin County.  Staff is optimistic that the BCPUD and MCSTOPP can work together cooperatively to address the district’s drainage needs;  staff is keeping the MCSTOPP director and Supervisor Kinsey’s office generally up-to-date on the district’s work.  Finally, staff presented a proposal to continue Rob Gailey’s consulting relationship with the district at a cost of $8,960.00 to complete the drainage planning work.

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve Rob Gailey’s hydrology consulting proposal and extend the retainer agreement to complete the district’s drainage planning and analysis..

4.    Community Expression

    Cela O’Connor said the revised draft of the Marin Countywide Plan is now available for download and is concerned about the fact that the County staff has deleted a reference to the fact that the Local Coastal Plan shall govern land use in the Coastal Zone.  President Siedman noted that the BCPUD received a letter from County Counsel on this topic and directed staff to provide a copy to Cela. 

    Cela also expressed concern about the fact that the Well Permitting Agreement between the County Environmental Health Services office and the BCPUD may not be applied outside the BCPUD’s boundaries; she said she is concerned because of the possible impact of wells on the health of Pine Gulch Creek.  Director Kimball responded that the BCPUD will notify neighboring property owners of all well permit applications received from EHS, whether or not the proposed well is outside the district boundaries;  she noted the BCPUD did so at the last meeting, with regard to a well permit application on Horseshoe Hill Road.

5.    Tomales Bay Watershed Council – Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan:  Receive Public Comments on Draft Plan.

    Staff presented draft comments on the Tomales Bay Watershed Council’s Draft Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan; the draft comments are directed at correcting inadvertent errors in the draft plan with regard to BCPUD facilities and operations.  The Board directed staff to work with director Smith, if necessary, to complete the draft comments and timely submit them to the Council. 

6.    Request for Approval/Empire Waste Management: Sale of Company and Assignment of Franchise Agreement with the BCPUD for Solid Waste, Recycling and Green Waste Services in Bolinas to the North Bay Corporation.

James Salyers and Pam David were present on behalf of the Ratto Group and North Bay Corporation and Tom Ridder was present on behalf of Empire Waste Management.  Mr. Salyers explained that the proposed assignment of the franchise agreement will not be to North Bay Corporation as originally thought, but rather to the Redwood Empire Disposal Company, a newly formed corporation within the Ratto Group which has been created to accept the assignment from Empire Waste Management of its Sonoma and Marin operations.  Mr. Salyers explained that the Ratto Group is a local, family-owned business in Santa Rosa;  under the terms of the deal with Empire Waste Management, all terms of the existing franchise agreement with the BCPUD will be honored and the company plans to employ the same drivers and use the same trucks.  In response to questions by director Siedman, Amoroso and Smith, Mr. Salyers repeated that new company has no plans to change trucks on the Bolinas routes and that all of the employees working in Bolinas will be offered jobs with Redwood Empire Disposal Company.  He explained that these employees know all of the routes in West Marin extremely well and the company hopes to retain all employees; the new company intends to honor employee seniority and will be providing a better health insurance plan for employees and their dependents than currently exists at Empire Waste Management.   Finally, he explained that the new company is optimistic about its acquisition of the West Marin and Sonoma operations because, unlike Empire Waste Management, Redwood Empire Disposal Company is not a publicly traded company with shareholders demanding a 10-20% return on investment (which is why Empire Waste Management is selling the business); rather, it is a small, privately-held company that operates efficiently and is satisfied with a 5% return.  

Director Smith moved to approve the request for an assignment of the franchise agreement and director Kimball seconded the motion.  Director Amoroso queried whether the district should seek any legal advice with regard to the assignment; after some discussion, it was agreed that such advice is not necessary because all terms of the existing franchise agreement will be honored. 

D. Smith/B. Kimball    all in favor    to grant the request for assignment of the BCPUD franchise agreement, subject to the understanding that all terms of the existing franchise agreement will be honored.

Director Siedman directed staff to prepare a letter consistent with the terms of the Board’s motion.

7.    Osterweis Coastal Permit (CP 05-29 and CP 05-30) and Design Review (DR 05-57 and 05-58), APNs: 188-120-31 and 188-140-11, Pine Gulch Road, Bolinas

No one was present to speak to the proposed permit and/or design review; the Board therefore had no comments to convey to the County.

8.    Simac Ag Structure Coastal Permit and Design Review (CP 06-32 & DC 06-143) Fern Road, Bolinas (no assigned address), APN 193-111-15.

    Director Siedman stated that Mr. Simac requested that this item be deferred until the end of the agenda.

9.    Discuss Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District’s Request to Use Agnique to Control Adult Mosquitoes at the BCPUD’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Director Kimball noted that she has been updating the Board regularly on the process of the negotiations between the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (“M&VCD”) and the West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council (“WMMCCC”) regarding a renewal of the existing agreement in place for West Marin.  In the course of those negotiations, the M&VCD has proposed that it be allowed to use an additional product in West Marin known as “Agnique”,  a surfactant that is sprayed on ponds to control adult mosquitoes.  Director Kimball said that there is a lack of data about this product that has led the WMMCCC to conclude that only a limited use of the product should be approved; specifically, the product should be used in “closed” ponds only, including dairy waste ponds, septic tanks and ornamental ponds, and not in any ponds or swales with the potential to drain into a water way.   The Tomales Village Community Services District (“TVCSD”) and the BCPUD are areas of focus because of the presence of their respective wastewater treatment ponds.  The TVCSD voted not to approve the use of Agnique in its ponds; the TVCSD concluded that use of the product is not warranted at this time.  Director Kimball said she asked for the item to be included on the agenda because she otherwise is not comfortable speaking on behalf of the entire Board during the WMMCCC proceedings; in response to questions from other members of the Board, director Kimball said she personally agrees that use of Aqnique is not warranted at this time, especially in light of the presence of avian and other wildlife in the BCPUD’s ponds.  She noted that there is a clause in the agreement with the M&VCD that permits use of any means necessary to control mosquitoes in the event of a public health emergency.

Director Amoroso moved that the Board vote not to approve the use of Agnique in its sewer ponds, but not to oppose its use in dairy ponds, septic tanks and ornamental ponds; director Smith seconded the motion.  In response to questions from the public, director Kimball explained that the purpose of Agnique is specifically to control adult mosquitoes (which are not effectively controlled by the approved BT products under the current agreement). 

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    3 in favor, 1 opposed (D. Smith)    to disapprove the use of Agnique at the BCPUD sewer ponds but not in dairy ponds, septic tanks or ornamental ponds. 

10.    Amendments to Ordinance 30:  (1) Establishing Criteria for BCPUD Participation in the Financing of Road Improvements and Other Projects in the Gridded Mesa’s Public Rights-of-Way; (2) Approving Form of  BCPUD Letter to be Issued to Property Owners Regarding Obstructions and/or Encroachments in the Public Rights-of-Way on the Gridded Mesa.

Director Siedman suggested that the agenda item be continued to the August Board meeting in light of director McClellan’s unexpected absence. 

Matt Lewis urged the Board to take more aggressive action with regard to encroachments in the public rights-of-way on the Mesa.  He noted that he complained to the BCPUD about a fence under construction recently on Alder Road and was told that both the BCPUD and BFPD investigated the alleged encroachment and concluded it did not pose an impediment to either utility or emergency services.  Matt said that the BCPUD should require property owners to move fences and other encroachments out of the right-of-way; he said anything less amounts to giving away the public right-of-way.  He noted that at first people build their fences in the right-of-way, then they plant in front of the fences, then they park in front of the plants, and before long, the rights-of-way are nearly impassable.  Stacey Henderson concurred, noting that district money otherwise is spent later removing encroachments from the rights-of-way. 

Director Amoroso said that he tended to agree that the BCPUD should at least notify property owners when they have encroached in the right-of-way.  Director Kimball observed that three different forms of notification letter have been drafted by staff ; she agrees that such notification may be appropriate, particularly where fences are constructed on corners in a manner which presents a visual obstruction.  Director Siedman noted that while notification to property owners is one thing, it is quite another to propose that BCPUD require all property owners to remove existing encroachments from the rights-of-way.  Director Amoroso said that the BCPUD should and does act when encroachments impede the district’s access to its water lines and/or poses access problems for the BFPD; however, where no such problems exist, notification to the property owners that they may be required to remove the encroachment at their own expense in the future is a potential next step.  Director Smith observed that the rights-of-way on the Mesa are generally 40 or 60 feet wide, which is far more than actually necessary of vehicular and other passage; accordingly, he said it seems unnecessarily draconian to require all property owners to move their encroachments out of the right-of-way. 

After further discussion, it was agreed that the item should be continued to the August agenda. 

11.    2007-08 Budget Adoption:  Resolution No. 549 approving budget;  Resolution No. 550 stating current rates and charges and authorizing placement of charges on Marin County property tax bill.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve Resolution 549:  Approving the 2007-08 District Budget.

B. Kimball/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve Resolution 550:  Stating the Current Rates and Charges for District Services and Authorizing Placement of Charges on the Marin County Property Tax Bill, where appropriate.

12.    Resolution 551:  Establishing Criteria for Appeals by District Customers for Relief on Quarterly Metered Water Delivery Charges in the Event of a Leak.

Director Kimball reported that she has compiled information from a variety of different water and utility districts within the Bay Area concerning those districts’ approaches with regard to requests from customers for adjustments to their water bills in the event of leaks or other water losses.  She has prepared a rough draft of a resolution that she intends to refine with input from staff; director McClellan also previously indicated an interest in helping craft a proposed resolution.  After further discussion, the Board agreed to continue the item to the August agenda.

13.    Resolution 552:  Authorizing the BCPUD to Shut-Off Water in the Event of A Water Emergency.

Staff reported that the district already has the authority under the state’s Water Code to act as necessary in the event of an emergency.  The Board concurred that a separate BCPUD resolution on the topic is unnecessary.

14.    Volunteer Committee Reports

    -- Alternative Energy:  Update on Solar Installation Project.  Director Smith reported that the district has applied for an allocation of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds and is presently finalizing a Request for Proposal for the design and installation of solar arrays for the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant and the district’s sewer pond facility.

-- Beach:  Nothing to report.  Directors commented that County appears to be vigorously enforcing the existing no-camping ordinance.

-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee:   Nothing to report.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:   Director Amoroso reported that he spoke with BALTAC member Ralph Camiccia and it does not appear any new developments have occurred.

-- Community Paths Group:   Director Smith reported that he is awaiting word from the funding agency as to whether additional monies will be forthcoming to cover unanticipated path construction costs; as soon as that occurs, the district will finalize a contract with the installer and commence the project. 

-- Downtown Parking and Traffic:  Nothing to report.

-- Resource Recovery: Receive Minutes of March and June Committee Meetings; Receive June Financial Report.    Nothing further to report.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Smith reported that a subset of the committee spoke with the owner of the house directly across from Surfer’s Overlook who is amenable to the County’s moving and replacing the existing retaining wall to widen Terrace Avenue at this location.  Director Smith is optimistic that the County will step-up to undertake this project, for the mutual benefit of district residents and the affected property owner. 

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

15.    Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Director Amoroso commented that staff provided him with information about the first complete billing cycle for the downtown section under the new water rates:  water consumption increased by 13% over the prior year and the amount billed increased by approximately 100%. 

-- Legal:  Director Amoroso noted that potential revisions to Resolution 152 was referred to the Legal Committee for analysis.

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

-- Park and Recreation:  Update on Committee Appointment Status..  Staff reported that the terms of Mesa Park Board members Robert Mowry, Geoff Geupel and Jack Siedman expired in January 2007; Robert is a BCPUD appointee, Geoff is a Bolinas-Stinson Union School District (“BSUSD”) appointee, and Jack is a joint appointee of the districts.  Staff was directed to work with BSUSD staff to coordinate the appointee process as soon as possible.

-- Personnel:  Nothing to report.

-- Sewer:    Nothing to report.

b.    Minutes of the June 20, 2007 Regular Meeting

Director Smith said he provided minor corrections to the minutes to staff for incorporation.

V. Amoroso/B. Kimball    all in favor    to approve the minutes, subject to director Smith’s corrections.

c.  Warrants

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

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)

    August 15, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

8.    Simac Ag Structure Coastal Permit and Design Review (CP 06-32 & DC 06-143) Fern Road, Bolinas (no assigned address), APN 193-111-15.

Director Siedman made a final call for any comment on the agenda item.  Mr. Simac was not present.  Director Siedman noted that in addition to a transmittal memo from the County seeking comment from the BCPUD on Mr. Simac’s project, the BCPUD has been sent a courtesy copy of a letter to Mr. Simac from the County indicating that his permit application remains incomplete.  After further discussion, it was agreed that the BCPUD has no further comment on this permit application.

16.    Adjournment

 10:42 p.m.