1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Godino, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
Construction on this project began on November 30th and is expected to be completed on or before January 22, 2016.
-- Update on the Wharf Road Lift Station Pump Replacement Project.
The manufacturer has notified the district that the pumps have been shipped and should arrive next week. This project is subject to competitive bidding requirements and preparation of the bid documents is underway. Staff has solicited engineering proposals for the preparation of technical specifications and drawings for the project with a goal of bidding the project in January. Staff noted it may be necessary to hold a special meeting of the Board to approve the contract documents.
-- Update on the BCPUD Chlorine Disinfection Byproduct Reduction Project.
Staff directed the Board’s attention to a written report from Lewie Likover with an update on the coagulation pilot; the results thus far look promising as the reductions in total organic carbons are significant. Lewie plans to conduct further testing on colder, more turbid water this winter. Once those tests are complete, the district will be able to better evaluate whether coagulation pre-filtration should be adopted as a part of the BCPUD’s water treatment/operations, possibly supplemented with small scale nano-filtration.
-- Update on BCPUD/BFPD Survey of Obstructions and Encroachments in the Public Rights-of-Way on the Bolinas Mesa.
Staff said that there is no update at this time; a survey of the public rights-of-way is planned, but likely will not get underway until late Winter or early Spring.
Staff reported that water consumption on the back of the Mesa declined as compared to the same time last year (September/ October/November) and noted that it is one of the lowest consumption quarters on record for this time of year.
The BCPUD filed its Small Water Supplier Conservation Report with the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) on December 14, 2015. The data show a 35% reduction in comsumption by BCPUD customers between 2013 and 2015. This apparent decline is a bit over-stated because water production in 2013 was a higher than usual year (in the last 5) due to several leaks that were undetected for some time (one on Mesa Road and one on Park Ave, both draining into existing ditches) and due to the flushing needed on the distribution system during the Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project. Notwithstanding those issues, the decline in customer consumption from year to year is highly significant, exceeds state requirements, and is much appreciated by district staff.
California Office of Emergency Services (“CalOES”) has issued a fact sheet about the availability of disaster assistance funding for “tree mortality events”. Specifically, funding evidently is available for the removal and disposal of dead and dying trees constituting a threat to public rights-of-way in public infrastructure as a result of drought conditions. The fact sheet suggests that the deadline to apply for funding may be as soon as December 29, 2015, so staff will obtain further information from CalOES.
Staff has been very busy with repairs and upgrades at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant (“WRTP”). Specifically, staff has replaced membranes on two of the filters, installed a new air compressor, and installed a new sump pump. In addition, the plant’s generator was not operating well last week so the radiator was removed and taken in for repair.
The district’s vehicles due for smog tests this year have been taken in for service. Staff also has been doing some work up the Arroyo Hondo watershed to prepare for winter. Staff has trimmed back trees and repaired the access road where it was degraded in places. Staff also replaced a broken valve at the upper dam which failed when activated recently.
Staff also has nearly completed the removal of invasive vegetation around the photovoltaic array at the WRTP. Once the poison oak is removed at the top of the array, the site will be ready for the replacement of the combiner boxes. In the meantime, staff also cleaned up the housing for the invertors by removing old paint and applying a rust inhibitor to stop corrosion; staff plans to build a protective structure for the invertors in the upcoming weeks.
Staff completed the district’s required Stage 2 quarterly sampling for chlorine disinfection byproducts during the first week of December.
The Bolinas Childrens’ Center recently advised staff about a “spongy” area in the floor in their rented portion of the building next to the fireplace. Upon inspection, staff discovered an old fire suppression system under the floor of the building which was creating a moisture problem; the Bolinas Fire Protection District was consulted and advised that the system was not necessary. Staff reframed under the building to better support the floor.
Staff reminded the Board that at the most recent meeting, Board members inquired about the ISO letter concerning the BCPUD’s distribution system; Bolinas received a rating of “3” within the boundaries of the district and a “9” outside the district. The Board has asked staff to follow-up with the BFPD for an explanation of the ratings. The BFPD explained that historically Bolinas has received a “4” inside the district and a “9” outside the district – “1” is the best rating and “10” is the worst rating possible. BFPD noted that BCPUD will always be rated “9” outside of the district boundaries due to the lack of a water supply system; on the upside, Bolinas’ rating has improved to a “3” within the BCPUD boundaries. The BFPD stated that this information is of most interest to insurance companies when rates are set for property insurance.
The district’s bookkeeper, Kaaren Gann, has advised the district that she is retiring at the end of December. Staff informally has interviewed two potential replacement bookkeepers. Kaaren will be available for transition assistance, so staff would like to select a new bookkeeper as soon as possible.
Staff directed the Board’s attention to information provided by the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”) about a project approved for Bill Barton at 8 Ocean Avenue to restack riprap at the base of bluff below his house. Staff provided the information to the BFPD, as well. The CCC wants to ensure that the BCPUD is aware of the extent of the project and potential impact, most specifically due to the equipment staging on Brighton Avenue and equipment on the beach. Staff noted that the project is limited to a 5-day construction window during low tides and must be completed after Memorial Day and before Labor Day. The Board members had no comment.
The Board reviewed a notice from the CCC about a coastal development permit waiver for a geotechnical investigation of an existing 150-foot long seawall (including excavation of 5 to 6 test borings using a small track-mounted drill rig) at 100 Brighton Avenue.
Staff reported that Marin LAFCO anticipates issuing its final report on the Countywide water study next week prior to a formal hearing by the Commission on January 14, 2016. Staff inquired whether the Board would like staff to attend the January 14th hearing. After a brief discussion, the Board said that it is not necessary for staff to attend.
On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that flows into the collection system continue to be low. Spray season concluded on November 15th and signage in the sprayfields has been removed until the next spray season beginning on April 15, 2016. Staff reported that David Stewart has purchased Lorenzo Ferlinghetti’s sewer connection; staff has advised Mr. Stewart that all outstanding fees due the BCPUD for this connection must be paid in full, an application to transfer the connection to Mr. Stewart’s property must be approved by the Board, and a lateral connection to the main installed and paid for by Mr. Stewart before it can be activated.
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular Board meeting, including communications from the Association of California Water Agencies/Joint Powers Insurance Authority (“ACWA/JPIA”) regarding, among other things, on-site training conducted for staff last week on confined space entry and defensive driving.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
The Board received a drainage report from Lewie Likover.
4. Community Expression.
5. Certificate of Appointment In-Lieu of Election and Oath of Office (V. Amoroso, D. Smith).
President Siedman administered the oath-of-office for directors Amoroso and Smith, who were appointed in-lieu of an election because their re-election was uncontested.
6. Request to Remove Hazardous Tree from 200 Block of the Nymph Right-of-Way near Cherry Road (S. Robertson).
Sally Robertson provided an arborist report to the Board documenting the condition of a Monterey Cypress in the Nymph right-of-way adjacent to her property. The report concludes that the over-extended branches of this tree (which has been topped by PG&E for power-line clearing, leaving four leaders to grow unrestrained) have an elevated risk of failure and recommends removal of the tree or at least the false leaders. Discussion ensued and the Board requested that Ms. Robertson obtain estimates for the tree’s removal and for the trimming back of the false leaders. In addition, the Board requested a neighborhood commitment of 25% of the project cost. This item was deferred for further consideration pending receipt of the requested information.
7. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund Grant Application -- A Grant Application by the BCPUD and the Bolinas Fire Protection District for a Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project in the Eucalyptus Grove on the BCPUD’s Sewer Pond Property.
Staff reported that she and BFPD Chief Anita Tyrrell-Brown have conferred with Todd Lando of FireSafe Marin who recommends that the districts apply for $100,000 in grant funds to reduce hazardous fuels in the eucalyptus grove on the BCPUD sewer pond property. This project is a logical “part two” of the work done a few years ago with Conservation Corps North Bay, which also was largely a grant-funded project. This CalFIRE funding program specifically is for districts such as the BCPUD which are located in the State Reponsibility Area. Todd said there will be a lot of competition for funds as there is $5 million available for the state, with a cap of $100,000 per project. Staff recommended that the district submit an application proposing to “match” some of the grant funds with in-kind labor and payments for professional reports and additional tree work as with the prior project. Applications for grant funding are due on January 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
V. Amoroso/L. Comstock all in favor to approve the submittal of an application for $100,000 in grant funding under the State Reponsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund.
8. Audited Financial Statements of the Bolinas Community Public Utility District for the Year Ended June 30, 2015.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to accept the audited financial statements of the BCPUD for the year ended June 30, 2015.
9. Water Supply Update.
Staff reported that Rob Gailey anticipates submitting his report on the irrigation well at the Resource Recovery Project site for the Board’s consideration at the January regular meeting.
10. Volunteer Committee Reports.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Resource Recovery: Update re: Notice of Violation from the Marin County Environmental Health Services Department; EHS Quarterly Inspection Report.
Staff reported that the BCPUD has submitted a report prepared by Wildscape Engineering concerning the repair work done on the berm at the Resource Recovery Project site and it is under review at the County, and by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and Army Corps of Engineers. The County’s Department of Public Works also has asked the district to update the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (“SWPPP”) for the site so staff will work on doing so. Staff noted that a new composting order has been issued by the SWRCB and it appears the Resource Recovery Project will qualify for an exemption; further evaluation is needed to confirm the amount of allowable materials processed each year.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Director Godino reported that a six-month extension of the non-toxic protocol agreement has been brokered with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (“M&VCD”). In fact, the M&VCD Board unanimously approved the extension, with the provisio that it may be extended further if “substantial progress” is made during negotiations for a new term of agreement; an initial meeting has been set for January 8, 2016. Director Godino noted that Supervisor Kinsey has been very helpful to the process. In related news, M&VCD At-Large Board member Fred Smith has asked for an item on that Board’s next meeting agenda to dissolve the West Marin Ad Hoc subcommittee of the M&VCD and reconstitute it. The Council met recently in Bolinas and directors Godino and Amoroso both attended; director Godino was asked to be the Council’s “point person” with the M&VCD and agreed to do so. Director Godino expressed some concern that the M&VCD will be meeting separately with Supervisor Kinsey (i.e., not with the Council present) but this appears to be a timing issue, not an effort to exclude the Council. Director Smith agreed, noting that the Supervisor’s letter in support of a renewal of the non-toxic protocol was very strong.
-- Land Stewardship Committee: Receive Report from the Land Stewardship Committee. Director Siedman noted that the committee has submitted its report. The committee met many times to work on the report and it is a product of numerous people. Director Smith said it is a great report; director Comstock asked that the minutes reflect the Board’s compliments to the committee for a thorough and well-done report. Director Siedman asked staff to include an item on the Board’s agenda for the January meeting for the committee to formally present the report. Director Comstock said the map included in the report is particularly good and noted that there appears to be a corrected version forthcoming; director Siedman confirmed that some of the boundary lines need adjustments and a final version will be provided soon. Director Smith said he has a number of small corrections to suggest for the report and asked if he should e-mail them to someone; director Siedman suggested he e-mail Genie McNaughton. Director Smith said there is one item he’d like to discuss because he’s not sure how to deal with it, and that is the issue of horses on the pedestrian/bike path. At one point, director Smith installed signs to direct horses off the path to alternative routes, but this approach was not successful and many of the signs have been torn down. After a brief discussion, director Smith agreed to direct his comments on this topic to Genie McNaughton, as well.
11. Other Business.
a. Board Committee Reports.
-- Finance: Staff will e-mail the committee members with a suggested schedule for the FY 2016-17 budget meetings. Director Comstock asked if the district’s bookkeeper has made progress on a new format for the budget and related spreadsheets. Staff confirmed that drafts are in progress.
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Minutes of the October 14, 2015 committee meeting; Minutes of the November 17, 2015 committee meeting.
Director Amoroso inquired about the status of the encroachments in the Alder and Cedar rights-of-way that prompted the committee meetings, as well as the new plantings in the Alder right-of-way. Director Comstock explained that the committee decided to defer a requirement to remove the new plantings until the survey of the Mesa is complete and the plantings in the Alder right-of-way adjacent to this property will be taken up in due course.
Director Comstock offered revisions to the October 14th minutes. Discussion ensued about the specific scope of the rights-of-way survey to be conducted by BCPUD and BFPD staff on the Mesa. Director Comstock said he was under the impression that the survey will be limited to only documenting obstructions that are problematic for the BCPUD or the BFPD in terms of access to infrastructure or emergency response. Staff concurred that this is the appropriate enforcement focus, but explained that staff is intending to document the obstruction status overall so that the Board and residents can be fully informed as many people do not seem to realize where the rights-of-way are located. Directors Comstock and Smith both expressed reservations and concerns that providing such information to residents could cause a “firestorm”. Director Comstock said that he wants to accomplish something, namely, the removal of encroachments that are causing problems for BCPUD and BFPD; if the BCPUD and BFPD notify virtually everyone on the Mesa about their encroachments, this could create real impediments to accomplishing what really needs to get done. Director Godino said she does not object to a “for your information” communication to residents as it may cause people to reflect and it is appropriate for them to have information. Staff suggested that the BCPUD and BFPD staff collect the information so that the Board can evaluate it – whether or not letters are sent can be decided at a later point, but it is important for the data to be collected and evaluated. For example, staff said that drainage ditches are often installed in what amounts to the center of the rights-of-way and not the edges because of encroachments and this has the potential to create real issues for pipeline replacement on the Mesa. Director Smith commented that it likely is not possible to make definitive determinations about the location of the rights-of-way without survey markers; staff concurred and said that staff will document existing conditions (i.e., 12 feet of navigable road, etc.) and make its best efforts to identify them relative to the rights-of-way as determined by available information (in some cases survey markers, in other cases the location of utilities such as power poles, etc.).
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve the minutes of the October 14, 2015 Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads committee meeting.
Director Amoroso suggested the minutes of the committee meetings be submitted to the Hearsay News for publication to inform the community about the committee’s activities.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to approve the minutes of the November 17, 2015 Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads committee meeting.
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Director Amoroso reported that Mesa Park had a long meeting recently and is making a serious effort to control its costs.
-- Personnel: Proposal to Convert Utility Worker Position from Part-Time Temporary to Full-Time.
Staff presented information for the Board’s consideration to convert the existing temporary part-time utility worker position to a full-time position, either a full-time utility worker position or a full-time shift operator position. Staff recommends that the district invest in a fourth shift operator position given the foreseeable retirement of at least one of the current operators within the next few years. Hiring a fourth shift operator essentially would be a component of a transition plan and it benefits the district significantly to have four licensed operators at this juncture for training purposes and to share the on-call duty. Director Siedman said the members of the Personnel Committee concur with the concept of transition planning in this manner. Director Comstock agreed that it is compelling to him to plan now for an upcoming retirement and ensure that the district is adequately staffed. He said when he first was elected to the Board, it seemed to him that the district’s personnel costs were high relative to other districts and its capital expenditures were low compared to other districts. Since then, he’s seen that the district’s operations are more expensive than other districts for a variety of reasons, including its water sources, treatment processes, extent of distribution system, etc.; that said, he hopes staff can be dedicated to capital projects/infrastructure replacement as well as daily operations.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the November 18, 2015 regular Board meeting; Minutes of the December 3, 2015 special Board meeting.
L. Comstock/V. Amoroso all in favor to approve the minutes of the November 18, 2015 regular meeting of the Board of Directors.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to approve the minutes of the December 3, 2015 special meeting o the Board of Directors.
L. Comstock/G. Godino all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s):
January 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.