SBCWD BOARD MEETING MINUTES


REGULAR MEETING
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2007

A.    CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL

Director Sapanai called a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 9:35a.m., at the District Office located at 3785 Shoreline Highway in Stinson Beach, California.

Directors present:
Elizabeth Sapanai, President
Jim Zell, Vice President
Lawrence Baskin, Director
Barbara Boucke, Director
Scott Tye, Director

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Christine Casper

B.    PUBLIC EXPRESSION

Christine Casper thanked the Board on behalf of the staff for the wonderful Staff Appreciation Dinner that they hosted on December 13.

Director Tye stated that an informal meeting is being held at the Stinson Beach Community Center today from 10:00a.m. to noon to discuss the recent oil spill.

C.    SETTING OF AGENDA

Motion to reverse the order of the agenda items number one and two under "General Business" made by Director Tye, seconded by Director Boucke and approved by unanimous vote.

D.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Motion to approve minutes for Saturday, November 17 made by Director Zell, seconded by Director Tye and approved by unanimous vote.

E.    APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS

Motion to approve disbursements for November 7, November 20 and December 4 made by Director Tye, seconded by Director Boucke and approved by unanimous vote.

Referencing check number 16192 to Stetson Engineering, Director Tye asked if the District's spending is on pace with the planned costs for the Water Treatment Plant Replacement Project. Mr. Schmidt replied that he believes the disbursements to Stetson Engineering are in line with the estimated costs for the project, and that he will have Allen Richards forward a billing summary.

Director Boucke commented that check number 16198 is for a minimal arbitrage fee that is common to construction projects, and that it was a necessary expense since the District was unable to commence the Treatment Plant Replacement Project sooner.

Director Sapanai asked for an explanation of the spending for check number 16195 to U.S. Bank. Christine Casper responded that U.S. Bank is the District's credit card, and that the charges for that month include the training class for Chris Kelley, the lamp black to match the pavement on Calle Del Arroyo for the Calles and Patios project, and some miscellaneous office supplies. The Board decided to have staff include an itemization of credit card spending in the future board packets.

F.    INVESTMENT REPORT

Director Boucke recommended that the $40,000 in the Deposit for Seadrift Waterline Replacement account not be included in the totals for the "Liquid Cash" on the Investment Report, since it is trust money and not available cash. Director Boucke also commented that as of November 30, the District has $192,000 in the Operating Account, and asked the Board if some of that money should be moved into the LAIF account. Mr. Schmidt stated that the current balance is high because the District received the $70,000 check from the County for the ERAF five-year lawsuit settlement. The Board decided to move $100,000 out of the Operating Account and into LAIF.

G.    GENERAL BUSINESS

  1. Presentation from Mr. Peter Banning, Executive Office Marin Local Agency Formation Commission on LAFCO's Service Review and Sphere of Influence Report. Mr. Schmidt explained that he met with Mr. Banning earlier in the week, and that he is at the meeting today to seek the Board's thoughts/direction about whether they want to open a discussion with LAFCO and the Stinson Beach Fire Protection District for a potential consolidation in the future. Mr. Banning explained that LAFCO has been around since 1963, and that the legislature put them in business to address a great deal of chaos in local government organization that had arisen in the post-war era. Mr. Banning explained that there are ten different agencies that provide wastewater services in southern Marin, with a population of about 50,000 and 50 elected officials. Mr. Banning noted that it has been twelve years since LAFCO has reviewed Stinson Beach, and stated that Stinson Beach is a very small area, yet it has its own water district, an independent fire protection district, a county-governed service area, and a private homeowners/community association.

    Director Boucke said that she had been on LAFCO as the public member from about 1973 to the early 1980's. Director Boucke commented that LAFCO is a wonderful agency and that she appreciates its purpose, but that Stinson Beach is very economically run and does not need the intervention of LAFCO.

    Mr. Banning thanked the Board for the discussion and stated that his purpose today was only to discuss the idea.
  2. Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff Regarding Request for Relief of Bi-Monthly Basic Water and Wastewater Fees at 85 Buena Vista Avenue, Stinson Beach, California. Mr. Schmidt stated that the water and wastewater programs are largely funded by the basic fees, and that the costs of those programs do not decrease because a particular customer is not taking water out of the system or having a wastewater inspection.

    Director Sapanai illustrated the Board's position by explaining that if a person purchases a house with the intention of living in it, but for circumstances outside of that person's control he/she is unable to inhabit it, the mortgage payment and taxes are not dismissed; they are fixed costs. Director Sapanai stated that when a person (or the previous owner of a residence) purchases a water meter, that that person chooses to pay into the maintenance of the infrastructure. Director Sapanai said that Ms. Fedun could have decided to have the water meter removed to avoid paying the fees, but that purchasing a new meter would cost $17,500. Director Sapanai added that the Board views Ms. Fedun's situation as temporary, and that as soon as she gets her wastewater system working, she can take water out of the system. Director Sapanai noted that Ms. Fedun is receiving the use of the District's wastewater staff, due to the discussions that they have had to have about her system.

    Director Sapanai stated that the position of the Board is that Ms. Fedun needs to pay her share of the infrastructure whether she is using water or not.

    Director Boucke stated that she sympathizes with Ms. Fedun, as she has two cabins in Tahoe that are unusable during the winter months. However, when Director Boucke sought relief from her bills during those months, she encountered the same rationale as the Board is presenting to Ms. Fedun today.

    Ms. Fedun stated that she has never addressed a septic issue before, and that while she understood that there had to be a septic tank upgrade on the property, she did not factor into the equation that she did not have a recorded easement for a leach pipe that connects to a leach field on her adjacent neighbor's property. Thus, the cost and timeframe of the project has greatly increased. Ms. Fedun stated that she was advised by Septic Engineer, Troy Pearce, that there is no room for a leach field on her property, and even renowned attorneys have estimated the litigation [for the easement] to be a minimum of two years.

    Director Baskin stated that he is sympathetic to Ms. Fedun's plight; however, the Board is not in a position to waive her fees, as it would be unfair to other property owners in similar situations. Several property owners have purchased water meters that remain on undeveloped lots, and those owners continue to pay their basic fees even though they are not using any water.

    Mr. Schmidt noted that the leaking tank is what initially failed Ms. Fedun's septic system; it was not the leach field.

    Director Tye added that the tank had been a problem for several years, and the District finally abated the property when the property owner passed away. That property owner had been allowed to use her system as long as the tank was regularly pumped, to prevent surfacing effluent.

    Director Sapanai made a motion to remove the penalties from Ms. Fedun's bill that have accumulated for lack of payment, assuming that total bill is paid within thirty days (including the water application fee of $45.00), and with the caveat that reversal of the late fees will not apply to any future late payments. The motion was seconded by Director Tye and approved by unanimous vote.

    Mr. Schmidt stated that Ms. Fedun will be mailed a revised bill.

    Ms. Fedun stated that she submitted photographs to the District for her porch and stair assembly at the advice of the Building Department at the County of Marin. Director Tye suggested that since Ms. Fedun has such a tiny lot that she meet with a wastewater engineer to ensure that any construction that she plans does not interfere with the installation of a septic system.
  3. Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report Titled, "Retiree Health Care Costs: I Think I'm Gonna Be Sick," Dated March 19, 2007. Mr. Schmidt stated that the Grand Jury Foreperson requested specific comments on each of their recommendations (R2, R3, R4, R5, and R6).

    Director Sapanai recommended rewording page two of the "Statement to the Grand Jury" dated October 27, 2007, and handed her suggestions to Mr. Schmidt.

    The Board decided that Mr. Schmidt will write simple answers in response to the Grand Jury recommendations. Most of the responses can be derived from the "Statement to the Grand Jury" mentioned above.
  4. Election of District Board President and Vice President for 2008. Director Sapanai nominated Jim Zell for President and Barbara Boucke for Vice President, seconded by Director Baskin and approved by unanimous vote.

H.    MANAGER'S REPORT

Mr. Schmidt stated that staff has been working on several repairs in the field. In addition, much work has been conducted regarding the Appropriations Limit, and the response to the letter from John Haaf of JPIA that specified safety recommendations for the District. Mr. Schmidt replied to John's letter, indicating that the District will implement his suggestions, some of which have already been addressed by staff.

Mr. Schmidt reported that there was a Wastewater Committee meeting on November 19.

Mr. Schmidt stated that a Water Operations Committee meeting was held on November 21. The Aldergrove well repair was discussed, bids were reviewed, and work will begin on the project next week. Mr. Schmidt added that the lining of the culvert at the Water Treatment Replacement Plant site is complete.

Mr. Schmidt stated that he has been working with Jeremy Tejirian, the District's planner assigned by the county. The deadline has passed for comments from the California Coastal Commission regarding the District's permit; however, because the window for comments was only two weeks and it was during the holiday season, Mr. Tejirian said that the comment period would be slightly extended.

Mr. Schmidt stated that issues arose at the last Water Operations Committee meeting regarding the location of easements at the Treatment Plant site and the PG&E facilities there. Mr. Schmidt stated that he has been working with several representatives from PG&E, and received faxed drawings of their facilities at the site that will impact the location of some of the plant structures. Mr. Schmidt said that the District has twice requested a USA mark out of the location of the PG&E facilities, but they did not mark out anything. Therefore, Mr. Schmidt left a message for the PG&E easement representatives that the District assumes PG&E does not have any facilities at the site.

Mr. Schmidt stated that he has been working with District counsel on the easement descriptions regarding the three property owners at the Fitzhenry Creek location.

Mr. Schmidt reported that a cluster of valves were raised on Calle Del Arroyo last week, and that the tree clearing and trimming project at the Steep Ravine Tank site is complete.

Mr. Schmidt stated that he accompanied Chris Kelley on several job sites this month to better understand the situations that Chris encounters in performing septic inspections, especially with regards to obstructions to the septic tanks. The Board expressed concern over staff moving the homeowners' personal property, as it is a liability for staff and a bad precedent to set.

Mr. Schmidt reported that he and Chris called some homeowners whose wastewater systems were out of compliance and asked for their cooperation with regards to completing the District issued Repair Orders. That approach was successful in getting the property owners to complete the work, thus avoiding public hearings for abatements.

The Board discussed the Calle Del Embarcadero lateral leak. Mr. Schmidt presented the galvanized pipe that was replaced at the site, which was only about 3/4" in diameter and served three or four homes.

Mr. Schmidt referred to the bound copies of the audit in the board packets, and reported that the four suggestions included in the audit have all been implemented. Mr. Schmidt performs bank deposits on a weekly basis, the election for the Appropriations Limit is going forward, and an accounting software problem has been fixed. Director Boucke stated that somebody needs to develop an inventory policy; Mr. Schmidt replied that Toby is working on it.

Mr. Schmidt stated that the election date for the Appropriations Limit is set. He called last week to inquire about the cost to the District, but has not received a response.

Mr. Schmidt said that Ruby Papp, of the California Coastal Commission, confirmed that her agency does not have any regulations regarding the location of septic tanks for oceanfront homes. Ms. Papp stated that the only requirement that there might be regarding this issue would be listed within the settlement that the Seadrift Association made with the Coastal Commission several years ago. However, Kiren Niederberger, of the Seadrift Association, confirmed that there are no such requirements included in the lawsuit.

Mr. Schmidt referred to the revised Task List attached to the staff report. Director Sapanai stated that reversing the encroachment over the District's water meters needs to be a priority. Mr. Schmidt stated that he would send letters to those property owners next week, with photos of the encroachments attached.

Director Boucke and Director Zell, of the Personnel Committee, agreed to convene a meeting in February to review and update employee job descriptions.

I.    COMMITTEE REPORTS

Director Sapanai referred to the document in the board packet regarding the proposed Title IV changes to neighbor notification for variances. Director Sapanai reminded the Board that they have already approved the verbiage changes, subject to the Legal Committee writing them. Director Sapanai asked the Board members to review the final version of the changes and to notify the Legal Committee if there is anything in it that they don't like; otherwise, it will become a part of Title IV.

Director Boucke, of the Ad Hoc Social Committee, reported that the Staff Recognition Dinner was a great success, and that she would like to recommend to the future Ad Hoc Social Committee that the dinner be held again at the Community Center. In addition, Director Boucke suggested that next year's committee include both staff and board members.

Director Tye reported that a Water Operations Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19 at 10:00a.m.

Director Boucke recommended convening a Finance Committee meeting before the next regular board meeting.

The next regular board meeting was set for Saturday, January 19 at 9:30a.m.

The Board decided to include the Water Conservation Policy on each regular meeting agenda.

J.    ADJOURNMENT

Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Director Baskin, seconded by Director Boucke and approved by unanimous vote.




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