SBCWD BOARD MEETING MINUTES


REGULAR MEETING
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2009

A.    CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL

President Boucke called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday 19, 2009 at 9:35 a.m., at the District Office located at 3785 Shoreline Highway in Stinson Beach, California.

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

Directors absent:
Elizabeth Sapanai, Director

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Denise Badstubner - Administrative Asst.

B.    PUBLIC EXPRESSION

Mr. Bruce Wachtell argued against the Monthly Billing Process and asked the Board to consider going back to Bi-monthly billing.
Rozlyn Marnell voiced concerns regarding the Monthly Billing and the Wastewater Monitoring Fee charged every month.
The General Manager stated that the monthly billing process has assisted the District in analyzing how much "unaccounted for" water we are actually losing. In addition, it helps to locate the water leaks of property owners. Director Baskin stated that water conservation was a big issue with regard to this conversion to monthly billing. Director Baskin stated that with the Bi-monthly billing, a leak could go undetected within an eight week period and the loss of water could be thousands of gallons before discovery and the District tanks could become depleted. Dr. Martin Cline had concerns regarding the efficiency of the District in relation to other Water Districts in the County and the Governance of the Board. President Boucke asked Dr. Cline to hold his comments regarding the efficiency of the District until Agenda Item D - Public Hearing. Dr. Cline then commented on the Governance of the Board. Dr. Cline stated; "I think this is an inbred society, which governance I question, and therefore, I believe there should be a term limit and the Community should select new individuals."
Director Baskin responded that the Board is elected or re-elected. He further stated that there have been no other candidates running for the Board except the incumbents. Dr. Cline asked President Boucke and the Board to take term limits under advisement and open the election up to the community.

C.    SETTING OF AGENDA

The Agenda was adopted as presented.

D.    PUBLIC HEARING

  1. A Public Hearing on a proposal to raise certain Water and Wastewater fees up to 9% (or less) for 2 years in a row. This item is continued from the Saturday, May 23, 2009 Board meeting, the Wednesday, June 17, 2009 Special Board meeting, the June 20, 2009 Board meeting and the July 18, 2009 Public Hearing. President Boucke opened the Public Hearing at 9:56 a.m.
    The General Manager gave a brief history and background regarding the proposed rate increase.
    The General Manager reviewed several attachments, including; a Resolution, Frequently asked Questions, Notice of Increase (Prop. 218 procedure), Water Rate Consultant Information, Capital Improvement Projects, Cash flow available for projects, and the protest letters received by the District in opposition of the Rate Increase. The General Manager reviewed the frequently asked questions, new Water Quality Requirements, the future of the infrastructure, the Capital Improvement Projects Budget, Funds Available Budget and the protest letters received from the Community. President Boucke stated that three Committees have studied the Capital Improvement Projects and that these projects, for the most part, are dealing with an aging infrastructure. She stated these improvements are necessary and essential to delivering quality water to the Community. The General Manager reviewed the need for two new fees proposed by the Wastewater committee. 1) A $550.00 fee for engineering, inspection and administration of a Permit Application for a Septic Tank Replacement. 2) A $200.00 fee for the administration involved in reissuing a new Discharge Permit, if a Citation is recorded at the County. The General Manager also explained the Property Tax Revenue and the amount which will be borrowed by the Governor. The General Manager discussed and explained the Operating, Emergency and Capital Reserve Accounts.
    The General Manager reviewed and explained the Investment Report, the 2008-09 Audit Review, the District asset's and restricted funds.
    President Boucke asked Board members for comments before opening the meeting for public comment. Director Zell stated that the Capital Improvement Projects are essential to delivering water to individual houses throughout our community. Director Tye had no comment. Director Baskin commented on the correspondence received about the rate increase. Director Baskin stated that the members of the Board have a fiduciary duty to be responsive to the needs of the community, the operation of the District in delivering clean and safe water, and administering the septic systems, which are also a health and safety issue. The Board is seeking a minimal amount of increase to maintain responsible fiscal management of the District.
    Director Tye spoke regarding the valuation of property taxes which assists the District. President Boucke opened the Public Hearing to the audience. Mary Belle O'Brien stated that only problem septic systems should be charged a Wastewater fee.
    Dr. Cline stated that his understanding of the rate increase was in some way to address the 18% water loss in the District, and asked if that was correct. The General Manager stated that the water loss is throughout the system, in addition to the Black Rock Tanks. He stated that probably half the Capital Improvement Projects have to do with getting the water to the customer and identifying the leaks in other areas. Dr. Cline stated his real point was to address the efficiency of the operation of the District. Dr. Cline reviewed data from other Marin County Water District rates and argued that SBCWD's rates are the highest. The General Manager explained one of the reasons the Coastal agencies are more expensive is because there is no firm water supply or delivery system like other agencies that share their water and send it to other areas, and share in the cost.
    Mr. Wachtell pointed out the positives of not having a larger agency or developers taking over the Water District and to increase rates when necessary is a price well paid. He stated that those people who object to the rate increase should be able to demonstrate that the Capital Improvements are not necessary. His suggestion to the Board was to limit the rate increase for one year; subject to another hearing a year from now to see if another 9% increase is warranted.
    Pam Lichtenwalner said that she thought the District was the most expensive. She informed the Board of infrastructure money becoming available under the Obama administration. She was also concerned about the viability of the pipes. She stated that the District should be writing grants for funding instead of the entire burden being placed on the homeowners. Director Zell thanked Dr. Cline for the information he provided. Director Zell stated that it is most difficult to compare one Water District to another, particularly since our Water District is so small. Director Zell asked Dr. Cline what he meant by a "closed voting system". Dr. Cline stated that he did not find that the requests for nominations to the Board are widely disseminated. Director Zell stated that every election is announced and posted by agenda at the Post Office, Market and wherever interested parties could view the information. President Boucke closed the Public Hearing and brought the subject back to the Board. President Boucke stated that she had spent an enormous amount of time reviewing and analyzing the financials of the District. President Boucke made a proposal of a "onetime only" 5% increase in Wastewater. President Boucke felt this would yield sufficient money to cover the rising costs and continue to provide quality Wastewater monitoring. President Boucke stated she did support the 9% increase to Water.
    President Boucke asked the Board for comments.
    Director Zell thanked Dr. Cline for the information he provided to the Board regarding other Water Districts. He stated that he would be in the audience if he was not a member of the Board, asking why the Board is not asking for an increase in rates considering the projects necessary. "For what is involved with these projects it would be financially irresponsible if we did not "consider" (emphasis on consider) a rate increase at this time". Director Zell stated that after input and alternatives from the public, he was not prepared to vote on the matter. He stated he would rather digest some of the information and better understand what the alternatives may or may not be, including the alternative that was presented by President Boucke.
    The General Manager addressed Pam Lichtenwalner regarding grants. He stated that with every one of the Capital Improvement Projects, the District has applied for two different kinds of grants; Proposition 50 about a year ago, and about 6 months ago the Economic Stimulus money. Director Baskin encouraged the Board to make a decision today on these very difficult issues.
    Director Baskin made the motion to increase Water and Wastewater by 9% per year for the next two years commencing October 1, 2009, and adopt the two new fees set forth on page 2 of the proposal that went out on July 18, which are; $550.00 fee for the Engineering, Inspection and Administration of a Permit Application for a Septic Tank Replacement, and a $200.00 fee for the administration involved in reissuing a new Discharge Permit, if a Citation is recorded by the County. Director Tye seconded the motion. President Boucke called for the question and took the vote by roll. Baskin - yes, Boucke - no, Tye - yes, Zell - no, Sapanai - absent. The motion failed for lack of a majority.
    Director Baskin made the motion to increase the Water Service Charge and Water Usage Charge by 9%, and increase the Wastewater Monitoring Charge by 6% per year for 2 consecutive years commencing on October 1, 2009, with the same two new fees of $550.00 and $200.00. Director Tye seconded the motion. President Boucke called for the question and took the vote by roll. Baskin - yes, Boucke - yes, Tye - yes, Zell - yes, Sapanai - absent. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

E.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Director Baskin moved to approve the Minutes of Wednesday, August 19, 2009. President Boucke seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

F.    APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS

Director Baskin moved to approve the Disbursements for August 24, and September 9, 2009. Director Tye seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

G.    GENERAL BUSINESS

  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: proposal from Todd Engineers, to conduct the Phase 2 Hydrologic Study. President Boucke requested that the Hydrologic Study be reviewed by the Water Operations and Wastewater Committee's. Director Tye stated this project should be put on the Capital Improvements Budget. Director Baskin agreed that both Committees should review the project and then refer it to the Finance Committee.

H.    MANAGER'S REPORT

The General Manager informed the Board that the automatic gate controller at the Treatment Plant was run over by a vendor for the contractor and no longer operates. A claim was submitted to the vendor's insurance company. The quote to replace the unit totals $2535.00 and will be completed next week.
President Boucke inquired about leak detection. The General Manager stated that American Leak Detection Company has surveyed about 1/2 of the water distribution system and have found no large leaks. They are surveying the other 1/2 of the system next week. The company representative will attend the next Water Operations Committee meeting on September 24, to give a report to the Committee.

I.    COMMITTEE REPORTS

None.

J.    CORRESPONDENCE

None.

K.    ADJOURNMENT

President Boucke called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Director Baskin made the motion to adjourn the meeting. Director Zell seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.




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