1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding. Director Siedman noted that director Godino is attending the meeting by telephone.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
Staff reported that the County of Marin held a hearing on August 13, 2015 before a Deputy Zoning Administrator on its application for a coastal permit to install the road-level retaining wall project at Surfer’s Overlook. The Board was referred to the County staff report, which recommends approval of the permit with conditions. As described in the staff report, the County plans to replace the three existing but deteriorated retaining walls with one single continuous wall that will span approximately 340 feet. The replacement retaining wall will be aligned so that it is entirely within the Terrace Avenue public right-of-way.
Staff noted that the County of Marin plans to send a letter about the project, including an outline of the steps required for the transfer of funds raised to pay for the project, to the Bolinas Community Center, which is the fiscal sponsor for the local fundraising committee. The letter will be sent next week, with comments due on September 8th. The Board of Supervisors likely will authorize the project to be advertised for bids at its regular meeting on September 15th.
Importantly, the County of Marin likely will close Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook to vehicular traffic for the duration of the project. This is necessary in order to expedite the installation of the project which will be performed between October 15th – December 15th. Vehicular access will be blocked 24/7, whereas pedestrian traffic will be allowed except when there are safety issues posed during certain phases of the project.
-- Update on the BCPUD Chlorine Disinfection Byproduct Reduction Project.
Staff directed the Board’s attention to a report by Lewie Likover concerning the district’s coagulation pilot project. The first step in this pilot project was performed in mid-July and test results show that coagulation prior to filtration reduced TOCs and dissolved carbon (both of which are DBP precursors) by over 50%. The district has since installed a new dosing pump with a calibration column. Lewie has bucket-tested water from the reservoir that has been run through the coagulation pilot and membrane filters for TTHMs and HAA5s. Thus far, he is seeing a reduction in color, which is a good sign. If the test results for this water are promising, the next phase will be to run water from the Arroyo Hondo water source through the coagulation pilot project.
-- Proposal by Conservation Corps North Bay to Remove Invasive Vegetation Adjacent to Solar Arrays at 101 Mesa Road and 400 Mesa Road.
Staff presented a proposal to the district solicited from the Conservation Corps North Bay (“CCNB”) for removal of encroaching vegetation around and under the photovoltaic arrays at the sewer pond and water treatment plant sites. The cost proposed is just under $5,000 per site for CCNB crews to work two full days at each site. Staff has solicited a proposal from another company to compare with the CCNB proposal. If, as expected, the CCNB proposal is the lowest, staff would like to proceed with the vegetation removal at the water treatment plant site as the encroaching poison oak and other plants there are quite extensive.
Staff reported that water consumption in the district increased somewhat during the most recent quarter on the Mid-Mesa (May, June, July). However, when the first seven months of the year are compared with the first seven months of last year, consumption thus far in 2015 is virtually identical to consumption in 2014. The district continues to supply the town with drinking water exclusively from the Arroyo Hondo water source, but it likely cannot continue to do so if the warm weather continues. Consumption has been spiking up over the weekends when coastal visitors are in town and creek levels also drop when the temperature rises. Staff continues to monitor supply and demand closely; creek levels come back up when the weather cools and when demand drops back down during the weekdays. Staff said the district probably will need to access its emergency reservoir water during the Fall months.
The new air compressor ordered by the maintenance crew arrived today and will be installed at the treatment plant soon. The district experienced a small leak on Grove Road (between Alder and Elm), which was detected and repaired yesterday. Staff noted that the district’s part-time laborer, Ryan Fitzgerald, has been a tremendous asset as he has been able to assist with many projects, including vegetation management and mowing, water meter replacement, maintenance yard organization, back-hoe operations, etc.
Staff directed the Board’s attention to the binders, which contain copies of a power point presentation delivered by staff at the Association of California Water Agencies (“ACWA”) Marin Water Forum on July 24, 2015. In this presentation, staff described the district’s water sources, as well as its water treatment, water storage and water conservation efforts. Staff noted that one of the most interesting presentations by Humboldt County area water managers about the impact of illegal marijuana cultivation on water quality and quantity in that area.
Staff presented a revised version of the proposed amendment to the district’s Franchise Agreement for solid waste disposal services with Redwood Empire, Inc. and inquired if the Board is now ready to proceed with the Proposition 218 notification and public hearing process. Staff noted that the amendment: (1) extends the term of the franchise agreement from 2015 to 2030 and (2) establishes new rates for the term of the agreement. The amendment also includes provisions requiring the company to make certain quarterly reports to the district, pay the district a $5,000 annual franchise fee, and affirm its commitment to maximizing the recycling of recyclable materials. Director Comstock requested that the amendment be clarified to state that the company’s quarterly reports will be specific to waste from Bolinas (and not Countywide) and staff agreed to raise this point with the company.
On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that the flows remain low into the collection system. Staff is finishing up spray season and performing end-of-season mowing in and around the spray fields. Bailey Greene from Oswald Green Technologies is planning to visit the district this Friday as part of his ongoing efforts to draft a “master” proposal for certain improvements to the wastewater treatement process at the ponds.
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular meeting, including an update from the County of Marin on its Climate Action Plan and the district’s receipt of a second Zero Waste Grant of $3,500.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
The Board received a drainage report from Lewie Likover.
4. Community Expression.
Director Siedman noted that the Board’s binders contain an anonymous letter dated July 16, 2015 concerning extensive construction on a lot near Elm Road between Grove and Hawthorne Roads. Director Amoroso said that several people have approached him about this construction and he has directed them to the County of Marin, which has jurisdiction over land use and building in the unincorporated areas of the county, such as Bolinas.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 75 Wharf Road, Bolinas (J. Hartley)
Director Siedman observed that Jane Hartley is present and said the Board has copies of her letter from May 2015 concerning a leak under her house at 75 Wharf Road. He notes that the BCPUD turned off the water, notified her of the leak; she came out the next day, hired a plumber and replaced the water line to the house. Director Smith asked how long the leak had been going before she was notified. Ms. Hartley said it probably leaked for about three weeks before she was notified. He said that although she would have seen the leak sooner if she was home, she did address it immediately upon being notified by the district of the problem, so it is consistent with the Board’s past practice to forgive the amount of the bill attributable to the leak. He noted, however, that all Bolinas homeowners who do not live full-time at their property should invest in a house valve and turn the water to their homes off when they are not there so that this kind of water loss does not occur.
V. Amoroso/L. Comstock all in favor to forgive the amount of the water bill attributable to the leak, based on the historic three-year average water use during the same quarter.
6. Request to Remove Dead Pine Tree in 400 Block of Hawthorne Right-of-Way, between Larch and Poplar Roads. (C. Duchamp)
Director Siedman noted that district staff has confirmed that the tree in question is dead and is located in the public right-of-way, which is a “paper” right-of-way at this location and not developed as a road. Given that the tree is clearly dead, staff believes it is not necessary to require Ms. Duchamp to pay for an arborist report. Ms. Duchamp has received a proposal of $1200 to remove the tree, which she says threatens a nearby fence, and she and her neighbor Colleen Hicks have agreed to contribute $200.
Discussion ensued between the Board members about the propriety of the district paying for the removal of a tree that is not located adjacent to a developed road and which does not jeapordize the district’s water lines. Director Siedman noted the district is expecting to receive another request to remove hazardous trees from the Dogwood right-of-way which are overhanging a developed road and adjacent to homes (an arbortist report has been submitted concerning the hazards posed by these trees). The Board ultimately decided to defer the request pending more information about the likely costs involved to address the hazards posed by the trees in the Dogwood right-of-way.
7. Osterweis Design Review, 200 Pine Gulch Road, APN 188-140-11, Project ID: 2015-0228 (to construct a new swimming pool on a developed lot in Bolinas).
There was no public comment on this agenda item.
8. Sewer Pump Replacement for the Wharf Road Lift Station: Lift Station Pump Replacement Report by West Yost Associates.
Staff reported that the district engaged West Yost Associates to evaluate the failure of the district’s pumps at the Wharf Road lift station and recommend replacement pumps. The engineers considered the following factors: the replacement pumps should (1) match the existing pump capacity of 220 gallons per minute; (2) achieve a total dynamic head requirement of 232 feet (209 of static lift and 23 feet of pipe friction losses); (3) have a minimum pump efficiency of approximately 57 percent; (4) require not more than 30 HP given the existing electrical capacity at the station; (5) be able to handle typical municipal wastewater with or without grinders; (6) demonstrate a high degree of reliability; (7) operate at motor speeds of 1,800 RPM or less; (8) have components that are easily accessible for maintenance by district staff; (9) be capable of installation in the existing pump room with minimal modifications; and (10) be deliverable as soon as possible.
The engineers analyzed non-clog centrifugal pumps, centifugal chopper pumps, and positive displacement rotary lobe and progressive cavity pumps made by several different manufacturers. Many of the pumps were not feasible for the district’s application due to the specifics of the performance needs. A pump manufactured by Flygt is a feasible alternative, but would require an upgrade of the electrical service at the lift station and would have to be run at higher-than-optimal RPMs of 3600. After evaluating all alternatives, West Yost recommends that the distict purchase the Vogelsang two-stage marathon pump, which meets the districts requirements and has several installation and operational advantages over the Flygt pumps. West Yost also provided an installation drawing demonstrating how the pumps should be located in the pump room.
Director Siedman urged the Board to move forward with the purchase of the pumps as recommended by West Yost.
L. Comstock/G. Godino all in favor to accept the recommendation of West Yost Associates and authorize staff to purchase two of the Vogelsang two-stage marathon pumps for installation at the Wharf Road lift station as soon as possible.
Directors Smith and Amoroso both stated that they feel the district should schedule an inspection of its force main either coincident with the installation of the new pumps (if possible), or after the new pumps are in place. Director Smith also suggested that staff confirm the dimensions of the pump room as the drawings relied upon by West Yost are “as built” drawings and may not be exact; staff agreed to do so.
9. Marin Local Agency Formation Commission: Countywide Water Service Study (Municipal Service Review – Draft Report, August 2015).
Staff reported that Marin LAFCO has issued a 300-page Countywide Water Service Study report in draft form. The draft report was released just days prior to the agency’s August 13th meeting, which staff attended in order to provide initial comments. Staff therefore only had time to review the first 100 pages of the draft report, which is an executive summary and overview. Marin LAFCO plans to hold a public hearing on September 10th to open up a 60-day public review process. Staff commended the report overall, which represents a tremendous amount of work by Marin LAFCO staff, but there are important errors in the report as it pertains to the BCPUD and these errors need to be corrected.
Staff therefore attended the August 13th Marin LAFCO meeting to highlight the district’s concern before the public review period opens. Staff told the commissioners that the BCPUD works hard to conduct education and outreach with its customers and provide them with accurate and timely information about their water system; the district takes its responsibility to provide safe drinking water and sustainably manage its resources very seriously. The BCPUD values its relationship of confidence and trust with its customers and maintaining that trust is a matter of personal and professional integrity for the Board and staff. Staff told the commissioners that BCPUD’s customers need to know they can trust the district to give them accurate information and this is why it is so important that LAFCO gets the facts right in this report. Unfortunately, there are at least two main points in the report that are not correct: (1) the report asserts that “usage” for most public water systems (including the BCPUD) has been “intensifying” and (2) that BCPUD’s treatment capacity is not sufficient to meet current and future demand.
The first point, that water usage is intensifying in Bolinas, is demonstrably false; in fact, water usage in the district over the past nine years has decreased by an average of 4.6%; staff provided LAFCO with this data but LAFCO has chosen not to include it (at least thus far) in its report. The second point, that BCPUD needs to increase its treatment capacity at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant similarly is misguided and based on a misunderstanding of “peak day demand” statistics. In fact, the BCPUD’s water plant operates at approximately 50 – 60% of capacity, on average, throughout the year. As staff said to the the LAFCO commissioners, it would be irresponsible for BCPUD staff to recommend diverting scarce revenue dollars to expand its treatment capacity under the circumstances.
Finally, the draft report describes Bolinas as having “older and poorer residents” as compared to past years and suggests this will pose “increasing challenges” for “funding water operations and improvements in the long run.” Staff told the commissioners that the district’s observations are the opposite – that real estate costs are soaring and a much younger and wealthier demographic is moving into town. However, the BCPUD does not have access to the sort of demographic or income data to specifically refute Marin LAFCO’s conclusions.
Director Siedman said that Marin LAFCO seems to be going beyond its jurisdictional mandate to be making recommendations about how the district should operate it’s treatment plant, among other things, and he queried what Marin LAFCO actually is empowered to do and what the BCPUD’s responsibilities are in responding to the report. Staff said that the authorizing LAFCO legislation focuses on sphere of influence and municipal service reviews, so the subject report is within its scope. However, it is important that the ultimate report is accurate and, at the very least, that the BCPUD submit comprehensive written comments
Staff requested that at least two BCPUD directors attend the September 10th hearing with staff to underscore the district’s concern about the report. Director Godino expressed frustration that Marin LAFCO has not made the changes recommended by the BCPUD to correct inaccuracies despite multiple requests. Staff said the other water districts have similar frustrations and the district managers plan to meet again to discuss a coordinated strategy. Staff noted that much of the districts’ input has made it into the report, but the report is such a massive undertaking that LAFCO staff probably has been challenged to manage all of the information provided by the various districts.
10. BCPUD Resolution 639: Cites Board of Directors’ Choices for Determining Fiscal Year 2015-16 Appropriations Limits.
Staff explained that the state constitution limits the amount of revenue which can be spent/appropriated by all entities of government, based on the 1978-79 base year of revenues (Gann Initiative). The appropriation limits apply to tax revenue (allocated to the BCPUD by the County of Marin) and the constitution requires an annual review of limit calculations, based on growth of population and inflation. Staff has conducted the review and calculated the district’s appropriations limits for the upcoming fiscal year (which is the subject of the next resolution).
V. Amoroso/L. Comstock all in favor to approve BCPUD Resolution 639, which cites the Board of Directors’ choices for determining FY 2015-16 appropriations limits.
11. BCPUD Resolution 640: States District’s Appropriation Limits for Fiscal Year 2015-16.
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve BCPUD Resolution 640, stating the district’s appropriation limit for FY 2015-16.
12. Update on Proposed Sale of College of Marin Properties in Bolinas.
Director Siedman reported that the word on the “grapevine” is that the College of Marin is reconsidering selling its Bolinas properties at all. He said that there was supposed to be an RFP for proposals to purchase the properties, but it is been “back burnered”. He has attempted to find out more about this, but has been unable to get any specific information. Director Siedman suggested that the district write to the College of Marin and request to be notified (i.e., provided any agenda) when and if the trustees are scheduled to discuss the Bolinas properties. Staff agreed to do so.
13. Water Supply Update.
This item was deferred to the September meeting as the district’s consulting hydrogeologist is on vacation.
14. Volunteer Committee Reports.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Resource Recovery: Purchase of Erosion Control Materials.
Staff reported that Jeff Creque has recommended specific improvements to the compost berm that was constructed adjacement to the drainage ditch behind the Resource Recovery Project site to repair a small hole and prepare the site for the rainy season. The cost is expected to be approximately $1,000, which should be shared between the four participating districts. The Board had no objection.
Staff further reported that the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) recently issued an order applicable to composting operations in the state. The SWRCB contacted the district and asked if it intends to apply for coverage under the new rule for the RRP site. In consultation with Jeff Creque, staff responded that the district does not intend to apply for coverage as it believes it is exempt.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Director Amoroso stated that the council has a meeting scheduled in the near future to discuss the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District’s possible interest in using mosquito and vector control substances the council has opposed in the past. A reporter from the Point Reyes Light said the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District has issued a programmatic EIR for its integrated vector management program. He noted that a number of different chemicals are mentioned in the document.
-- Land Stewardship Committee: Director Siedman reported that the Committee will next meet on August 28th.
15. Other Business.
a. Board Committee Reports.
-- Finance: Director Comstock noted that the replacement of the lift station pumps is not a budgeted item so the funds to pay for the pumps will need to come from the district’s reserves. Director Amoroso agreed and said the Board will need to evaluate whether/how to replenish the reserves expended. Director Siedman said the Finance Committee should make a recommendation in connection with the next budget process. Staff said the field audit for the district’s annual report has been scheduled for September 23rd, so she requested that any committee meeting take place after that date.
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Nothing to report.
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Director Amoroso reported that he attended the most recent Mesa Park board meeting. Apparently on a recent Sunday an ultimate frisbee group from San Francisco arrived to use the field at the same time as the local soccer group. The groups subsequently negotiated a usage agreement whereby the Frisbee group will use the field on Saturday and the soccer group will continue its Sunday use of the field.
-- Personnel: Update on Hiring Process for Full-Time Shift Operator. Staff reported that the district received 32 applications and staff has identified a slate of five candidates for the Personnel Committee and staff to review. The Committee agreed to conduct the interviews during the week of August 31st. Staff said September 1st, 2nd or 3rd would be the best days that week.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the July 15, 2015 regular meeting.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to approve the minutes of the July 15, 2015 regular meeting.
Staff noted that she inadvertently neglected to agendize the minutes of the July 22, 2015 special meeting, so will do so on the September meeting agenda.
L. Comstock/G. Godino all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s):
September 16, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.