Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
September 16, 2015    270 Elm Road, Bolinas



1.      Call to Order.


7:31 p.m.


2.      Roll.


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


3.  Manager’s Report.


-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.


Staff referred the Board to a draft form of letter agreement between the County of Marin and the Bolinas Community Center, fiscal sponsor for the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.   The fundraising committee reviewed the letter and prepared comments to clarify that the maximum amount of funds to be contributed from the Bolinas community is $450,000.  The committee also has asked for clarification by the County as to whether Supervisor Kinsey has committed an additional $50,000 in County funds to the project construction, or whether the in-kind work being done by the County represents $50,000 in value and no additional funds will be contributed.  At this point in time, the County engineers plan to present the project for Board of Supervisor approval on September 22, 2015, with construction anticipated to begin in mid-October.


-- Update on the Wharf Road Lift Station Pump Replacement Project.


      Staff reported that the district’s order for the replacement pumps is in progress.  Per director Smith’s recommendation at the last meeting, staff confirmed the dimensions of the pump room.  Staff also had a conference call with Vogelsang engineers to confirm that the engineer’s installation drawings are correct and would work with the Vogelsang pumps.  Staff requested specific specifications from Vogelsang for the pumps and forwarded them to West Yost for evaluation.  West Yost recommended certain epoxy specifications, as well as stainless steel bases and anchor bolts; after conferring with Vogelsang, however, staff recommends against the stainless steel as too expensive and unnecessary for the application.  As for the epoxy specifications, West Yost is satisfied, but recommends that after installation of the new pumps is complete, “all new pipe, fittings, valves etc. be coated with an epoxy coating system once installation is complete. “   Either BCPUD staff will do this, or an industrial painting company will be hired to do the work; as well, BCPUD staff should be able to do most of the work to install the new pumps, with outside assistance by a contractor with specialized equipment.


-- Update on the BCPUD Chlorine Disinfection Byproduct Reduction Project.


Staff reported that the district is waiting for lab results for certain tests performed on reservoir water run through the coagulation pilot plant; if results are promising, tests will be run during the rainy season on Arroyo Hondo water.  


Staff reported that water consumption declined in the Back Mesa as compared to same time last year (June/July/August).  However, consumption was as high over the Labor Day weekend as it was on the July 4th holiday.  This is unusual, but likely due to the very hot weather conditions rather than due to the amount of visitors in town.   Creek levels dropped during the recent heat wave, so the district ran one of the filters on reservoir water for several days, but is back operating exclusively on water from the Arroyo Hondo Creek.  Staff noted that Inverness PUD presently is in a water emergency due to the drop in surface flows there.


The district experienced a few small leaks on system recently.  This morning the staff  implemented a repair on Dogwood between Alder and Poplar where an improperly installed fitting connecting a service line to the water main caused a small leak.  (Many thanks to resident Julie McClure for reporting this leak!)  Staff also repaired leaks on Birch and Fern in recent weeks.


Last month, staff traveled to the Bodega Bay Public Utility District (“BBPUD”) to tour water and sewer facilities and meet with the general manager and chief operator about issues of common concern.  The visit was very interesting and informative.  The BBPUD is similarly situated to the BCPUD in that it is a coastal district, with a seasonal population and many coastal visitors; however, the two districts are quite different operationally.  The BBPUD is supplied by water wells, so the district does not have a treatment plant.  Also, the BBPUD sewer system serves over 1,000 connections and requires a large treatment facility which produces recycled water to irrigate the nearby golf course.   The BBPUD general manager highly recommends that the BCPUD join the California Special Districts Assocation; it serves small districts and is a tremendous source of information, so staff intends to investigate possible membership for the BCPUD.


The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular Board meeting, including a notification from the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) about a bill recently passed by the state Senate authorizing the SWRCB to order the mandatory consolidation of water systems (or extensions of service authority) in cases where water systems consistently fail to provide safe drinking water.  The Board also reviewed a request from the San Rafael Fire Department to hold “Toxic Away Day” at the Mesa Park parking lot on October 31, 2015;  the request has been conveyed to Mesa Park for approval.   Finally, Coastal Clean-Up day is this Saturday, September 19th  and activities will be held at three locations in Bolinas: Agate Beach, Kent Island, and Duxbury Reef below RCA.


Staff directed the Board’s attention to a letter recently delivered to Steve Hodge concerning encroachments in the Alder and Cedar rights-of-way.  Staff requested Board guidance on implementation of the policy the Board established back in 2007 directing staff to send out specific forms of letters to residents concerning encroachments in the public rights-of-way.  Staff said this is always a very difficult process to execute and requested that the Board reconsider the existing policy and whether it needs to be revised or updated in any way.  Staff noted that the Board policy established at the August 15, 2007 regular Board meeting directed staff to send out certain forms of letters to residents encroaching into or obstructing the public rights-of-way on the Mesa after consultation with the Bolinas Fire Protection District, depending on the type and extent of encroachment/obstruction.  Staff suggested that an education and outreach campaign may be necessary as many residents do not seem to be aware of the public health and safety threats posed by significant encroachments into/obstructions of the public rights-of-way.


Director Smith said that such a campaign makes sense to him and he supports the current Board policy.  He noted that the public rights-of-way are either 40 or 60-feet wide and were established this way per the subdivision map for the Mesa to provide adequate room for two-way traffic, parked vehicles, utility infrastructure, and the like.  He said while the entirety of the public right-of-way may not need to be unobstructed and/or without encroachments,  it is important for the BCPUD and the BFPD to have sufficient space to operate and that the current fire season demonstrates how important ingress and egress is to the safety of the community.   Discussion ensued with Board members agreeing that a policy with regard to enforcement of Ordiance 30 such as the Board established in 2007 is reasonable and necessary to preserve the use of the public rights-of-way for their intended purposes.  Director Comstock said the BCPUD is not trying to be overly bureaucratic, but it is necessary from time to time for the district to make difficult enforcement decisions.


Steve Hodge read a statement to the Board in which he took issue with staff enforcement of Ordiance 30 with regard to trees and shrubs that he planted in the Alder and Cedar rights-of-way adjacent to his property at 305 Cedar Road, as well as a fence currently existing approximately 10-15 feet into the Alder right-of-way.  Steve said he feels he was singled out and that the BCPUD does not consistently apply Ordinance 30.  He requested reimbursement of his cost to remove two tree trunks left in the right-of-way after BCPUD had them trimmed (BCPUD staff supported the request as the BCPUD should have completed this tree job) as well as reimbursement of his cost to relocate the trees and shrubs from the Alder and Cedar rights-of-way.  Director Siedman asked Steve to provide a copy of his statement to the BCPUD staff and, after a brief discussion, the matter was referred to the Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads committee for review and recommended action.  Staff was directed to include an item on the October 21, 2015 meeting to discuss Ordinance 30 and the BCPUD’s response to Steve Hodge’s statement. 


On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that flows continue to be low and spray season is effectively concluded.  Staff has performed some mowing and other vegetation management is taking place now to prepare for the rainy season.  Staff noted that later on the agenda is an item for the Board to consider an engineering proposal for a  “master plan” of possible improvements to the wastewater treatment process.


-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.


The Board received a drainage report from Lewie Likover.


4.      Community Expression.


Bill Lyons asked why the BCPUD doesn’t adopt a uniform fire road standard for safe roads and put that standard in place for the Mesa.  He said the “whole Mesa is a mess and grossly substandard” and he challenged the BCPUD to form a roads assessment district and go out and improve the roads.  Director Amoroso said a proposed new district would have to be approved by two-thirds voters and he questioned whether voters would do so.  Director Siedman suggested that perhaps the BCPUD should put an advisory measure on the ballot and see how the town responds. 


5.      Request to Remove Hazardous Trees and Overhanging Limbs from Within and Above the 500 Block of the Dogwood Right-of-Way near Mesa Road (P. Buchanan).


Phil Buchanan thanked the Board for including this item on the agenda.  He referred to photos and other information provided to the Board depicting the swath of trees in Dogwood right-of-way near Mesa Road.  These trees completely overhang the road and extend over to private property on the opposite side of the right-of-way.  At his request, BCPUD staff met with the nearby neighbors to discuss a scope of work and held a site meeting for interested contractors to submit bids for the work.  Phil said that the proposed scope of work will go a tremendous way toward making road travel safe for vehicles and pedestrians on Dogwood.  Phil noted that numerous limb failures have occurred already and he contracted for work to remove part of one tree that he felt most threatened his property.  He said that the BCPUD staff put together a clear scope of work for the project and received bids for a reasonable price which he hopes is within reach of the BCPUD to do, with contributions from neighbors.  Phil said he is in contact with the neighbors to try and determine what a reasonable neighborhood contribution would be.  The low bid for the work is $13,900.  Thus far, Phil has $2,300 firmly committed from the neighbors and is hoping to raise $3000.  One of the nearby residents who is a biologist has written a letter pro bono to confirm that there will be no effect on special species plants or wildlife as a result of this project, which represents additional neighborhood contribution to the work.  He inquired whether the Board would be willing to approve proceeding with the hazardous tree removal, contingent on a neighborhood  contribution of $3,000.


Discussion ensued among the Board members about the scope of the project.  Phil said he neglected to mention that he submitted an arborist report, for which he paid $600, which establishes that the trees to be removed are in very bad shape and should be removed, and others should be trimmed significantly to eliminate hazards to people and property.  Director Amoroso inquired whether any of the largest trees would be removed and Phil clarified that only the overhanging limbs of those trees are slated for trimming.  Director Amoroso then asked whether hazards would still remain even if the BCPUD does this project;  Phil said that there are trees on private property that should be addressed, as well, but that is the responsibility of the private property owners.  Director Comstock said that where neighborhoods proceed as Phil’s neighborhood has done, by identifying hazards, obtaining an arborist report, performing an environmental analysis, and contributing private funds toward a project to mitigate the hazards, it is reasonable and consistent with BCPUD policy about encroachments in the public right-of-way to help.  Director Amoroso concurred and noted that this project demonstrates the perils of failing to act when trees first are planted in the rights-of-way and he moved that the district approve the project.  Director Smith seconded the motion and said that he thinks a minimum 25% contribution from a neighborhood toward project implementation is appropriate.  Director Amoroso noted that the neighborhood will contribute $3000, plus the cost of the arborist report ($600) plus the biologist report (in-kind);  Phil Buchanan added that he’s also previously spent $1,200 to remove overhanging limbs from the Dogwood right-of-way.


V. Amoroso/D. Smith                all in favor         to approve a project to remove certain hazardous trees and overhanging limbs from the 500 block of the Dogwood right-of-way at a cost of $13,900, subject to the neighborhood contributing $3000 of that cost.


6.      Second Request to Remove Dead Pine Tree in 400 Block of Hawthorne Right-of-Way, between Larch and Poplar Roads.  (C. Duchamp)


Carol DuChamp requested that the BCPUD remove a dead pine tree in the 400 block of the Hawthorne right-of-way per a submitted bid of $1200 for the work.  Director Siedman noted that this section of the Hawthorne right-of-way is a “paper” road only and not open to vehicle traffic.  Carol agreed but said the tree could fall and damage her fence and/or her studio; she also said the neighbors use the right-of-way as a walking path.  Carol said that she will contribute $200 toward the work and a neighbor will contribute $100 for a total of $300 contributed by neighbors; as such, she requested the BCPUD contribute $900.  Discussion ensued among the Board members. Director Comstock agreed the tree is dead, but noted that the right-of-way is not open to traffic and poses little safety hazard to the public; however, since the cost is modest and the neighbors will contribute 25% of the cost, he does not object to BCPUD participating in the project.  The Board asked staff to inquire with the company submitting the low bid on the Dogwood project whether it can do the work for less than $1200.  Director Comstock suggested the Board approve the tree removal at a maximum cost of $1200, with neighbors contributing $300.   Director Smith agreed but said he did so mainly because of the relatively minimal cost; he noted that the project otherwise is a very low priority (given paper road and no BCPUD water lines in the right-of-way) and should not be construed as setting precedent.


D. Smith/L. Comstock               all in favor         to approve the removal of a dead Pine Tree in the 400 block of the Hawthorne right-of-way subject to a maximum contribution from the BCPUD of $900.


7.      Request for Letter of Support from the BCPUD for a Proposal to Install a Childrens’ Play Structure in the County of Marin’s Park near the Tennis Courts on Brighton Avenue.  (C. Gussis).


Chrysanthe Gussis appeared on behalf of a group of downtown families who are in discussions with the County about installing a park structure on County land near the tennis courts on Brighton Avenue.  Chrysanthe said the County is supportive of the idea, but would like to receive a letter of support from the community before taking the next step of engaging with the local group about a structure design, etc.  The County is willing to contribute funds and maintain the structure once installed; local families will seek foundation support as well as private donations to pay for the structure.   Chrysanthe said the group has spoken with Mesa Park representatives who support the concept as Mesa Park has received “flack” for not including a play structure in the downtown park on Wharf Road.  After a brief discussion, the Board agreed to send in a letter of support for the concept.


G. Godino/L. Comstock             all in favor         to send a letter of support from the BCPUD to Supervisor Kinsey for a proposal to install a play structure in the County of Marin park near the tennis courts and stating that the BCPUD looks forward to reviewing a design and to soliciting public input.


8.      Marin Local Agency Formation Commission:  Countywide Water Service Study (Municipal Service Review – Draft Report, August 2015).


Staff and directors Godino and Smith attended the September 10, 2015 meeting of the Marin LAFCO, where commissioners formally authorized the beginning of a 60-day public review period for  the draft Countywide Water Service Study.   The Marin LAFCO report is very comprehensive and much of it is accurate and not objectionable.  However, BCPUD staff continues to take issue with certain key points specific to Bolinas, including an alleged “intensification of water use”, which is not supported by the facts.  The study also recommends that BCPUD expand its water treatment plant to meet alleged current and future “peak day demand”, but that recommendation is based on a misunderstanding of peak day demand and BCPUD’s treated water storage capacity.  Staff explained the BCPUD’s concerns to the Marin LAFCO commissioners during the Septmber 10th meeting and will prepare comprehensive written comments for Board approval at the October 21st regular Board meeting;  the BCPUD’s comments are due by November 14, 2015.


9.      Amendment to Franchise Agreement for Solid Waste, Recycling and Green Waste Services (BCPUD and Redwood Empire Disposal, Inc.); Proposition 218 Notice re: Public Hearing on Rate Increase Proposal.


L. Comstock/D. Smith               all in favor         to proceed with a Proposition 218 notification to customers regarding a public hearing to be held on November 18, 2015 about a proposed rate increase within the BCPUD jurisdiction for solid waste disposal services.


10.  Association of California Water Agencies (“ACWA”) Region 1 Board Election for the 2016-2017 Term.


No action taken.


11.  Water Supply Update.


Director Smith said that, as expected, the downslope on the graphs presented in red in the Board materials correlates with the pump draw on the well and he noted that the draws have declined now that the ballfields at Mesa Park have been established.  Director Smith observed that during the latter part of 2014 the well was pumped hard to supply water to germinate the grass seed and establish the fields when they were first planted/rehabilitated.  However, the water level in the well “popped right back up” afterward, leading to concern that this replenishment may have come from groundwater under Wharf Road, potentially with accompanying movement of a seawater plume towards the well, since it is too early in rainy season for the aquifer to have been recharged by rainfall. 


12.  Volunteer Committee Reports.


-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report.


-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee:  Director Siedman said he appeared on KWMR recently to discuss the downtown parking and traffic issues in Bolinas.


-- Resource Recovery:   Staff reported that she has been in discussions recently with various County representatives about site management issues at the RRP site and will have a more complete report for the Board at the October meeting.   


-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Director Godino reported that the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District recently issued a new legal opinion about the legality of its non-toxic agreement with West Marin which concludes the agreement constitutes an illegal delegation of police power.  The opinion states that it may be possible to restructure the agreement to cure this illegal delegation and that District will need to evaluate assessments within its boundaries to ensure a proportionate benefit of services.  Alternatively, it seems the District could adopt district-wide regulations or split the jurisdiction into zones.  Liza Goldblatt is planning to request that BCPUD formally request how income/services are allocated by the District within West Marin and resume a leadership role in negotiations with the District to extend the non-toxic protocol agreement.  Overall, director Godino reported that there has been very little direct communication between the Council and the District since the meeting in Bolinas last January; she speculated that there may be a communication/personality problem.  After a brief discussion, the Board concurred that director Godino should attend the upcoming Council meeting and convey that the BCPUD is willing to resume a leadership role to ensure that only products approved for use near organic farms (i.e., non-toxic products) are used for mosquito and vector control in West Marin.


-- Land Stewardship Committee:  Appointment of Meg Simonds.  Director Siedman reported that the committee continues to work on its report to the Board. 


V. Amoroso/G. Godino         all in favor         to appoint Meg Simonds to the Land Stewardship Committee.


13.  Other Business.


  a.  Board Committee Reports.


-- Finance:  The Finance Committee will schedule a meeting in late October or early November to start work on preparations for the next fiscal year budget. 


-- 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. 


-- Personnel:  -- Personnel:  Employment of Full-Time Shift Operator.    Director Siedman reported that the Personnel Committee and staff conducted interviews of the top five candidates (out of 32 applications submitted) and, based on qualifications and field experience, a job offer was extended to Cody Repnak, subject to Board approval. 


D. Smith/L. Comstock      all in favor         to approve a job offer to Cody Repnak for a shift operator position with the district.


Director Siedman reported that the Committee and staff also will recommend approval by the Board of a full-time utility worker position for the district.  In past few months, with a part-time temporary laborer on staff, the district has accomplished a considerable amount of work and such a position would enable staff installation of some of the pipeline distribution projects identified in the capital improvement plan.  Staff will present a formal proposal with a job description and budgetary impact for Board consideration at an upcoming meeting.


-- Sewer:  Proposal for Engineering Services from Allied Engineers, Inc. and Oswald Green Technologies, Inc.  After a brief review of the proposal for improvements to the district’s wastewater treatment and disposal system, the Board asked staff to obtain more information about Allied Engineers and its qualifications.  Director Smith noted that the proposal includes a considerable amount of work for $9,000 and Bailey Green of Oswald Green Technologies is one of the original designers of the sewer ponds;  Director Smith said he has complete confidence in Bailey Green’s expertise, so he is inclined to move forward as soon as qualifications for Allied Engineers can be confirmed.  Director Comstock concurred and said he is very glad the district will be moving forward with this project.  Directors Godino and Siedman suggested that the Board approve accepting the proposal, conditioned upon the receipt of satisfactory qualifications from Allied Engineers.


G. Godino/D. Smith          all in favor         to approve the proposal for engineering services from Allied Engineers, Inc and Oswald Green Technologies, Inc. conditioned upon the receipt of satisfactory qualifications from Allied Engineers.


b.  Minutes of the August 19, 2015 regular meeting; Minutes of the July 22, 2015 special meeting.


Directors Amoroso and Smith offered corrections to the mintues of the August 19, 2015 regular Board meeting.


L. Comstock/D. Smith         all in favor         to approve the minutes of the August 19, 2015 regular Board meeting, as corrected.


D. Smith/L. Comstock         all in favor         to approve the minutes of the July 22, 2015 special Board meeting.


c. Warrants.


L. Comstock/D. Smith          all in favor         to approve the warrant list.


d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s):


       October 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.


15.  Adjournment.


10:17 p.m.