President Lawrence A. Baskin called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

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

Directors absent:
Scott Tye, Vice President

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.




The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff to consider an addition to our "inHance" software program that would allow customers to go on-line, view their accounts and make credit card or electronic payments, (continued from the Saturday, May 15, 2010, Board Meeting.)
    The General Manager stated that a few modifications will be made to the survey form to be mailed with the customers' July water bills. The draft survey form previously reviewed inadvertently omitted the $1.00 per transaction fee. Also added was the survey return date of August 1. The General Manager stated that nine other water districts were canvassed to determine what they were charging, and whether they or their customers paid for this service. Most of these districts were large enough to absorb all of the credit card fees. Due to its small customer base, the Stinson Beach County Water District is not in a position to offer the option of on-line credit card payments free of charge. Director Sapanai stated that individuals going out of town would want the option of paying by credit card on-line to avoid the District's 10% penalty late charge. Staff is directed to send out the survey form. The Board will discuss the matter again pending the results of the survey.
  2. Presentation and discussion of the District's (DRAFT) 2010-2011 Operations and Maintenance Budget, (continued from the Saturday, May 15, 2010, Board Meeting.)
    The General Manager reported that employee salary and wages increased, but employee dental insurance and employee health insurance both decreased, due to the administrative assistant position having been budgeted to include a spouse and children, instead of a single individual. The net employee expense budget increase is the difference between the budget for 2009-2010 of $700,885 and the budget for 2010-2011 of $707,415 ($6,530).

    The sum of $18,000 will be set aside as a reserve Post Employment Benefit Obligation. The account will be set up by the end of our June 30 fiscal year. Director Boucke requested that reserve amounts be included in the quarterly financial reports (LAIF), as well as how the individual accounts are "ear-marked." Our auditor, Terry Krieg, is aware that this reserve account must be reported on our financial statements. President Baskin suggested the funds be invested in a two-year CD.

    Director Boucke moved to adopt the proposed budget for 2010-2011 as presented. Director Sapanai seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously passed.
  3. Presentation and discussion of Stinson Beach County Water District (DRAFT) Resolution No. GB-2010-00, Establishing an Employee Benefit Program for the Fiscal Year 2010-2011.
    The General Manager stated the previous Employee Manual has been renamed the "Personnel Handbook." He noted he recently gave written evaluations to all applicable employees.

    The District will no longer pay the employees' co-payments as a medical benefit, and the reference to "co-pays" has been deleted. Director Sapanai noted that the eyewear benefit needed to be clarified. The resolution should be changed to read: "The District will reimburse the employee up to $150.00 per employee, per fiscal year for prescription corrective eyewear."

    The knit shirts previously shown to the Board will be purchased for the field workers from the Surf Shop in Bolinas. Their names and "Stinson Beach County Water District" will be on the front of the shirts and "Stinson Beach County Water District" will appear on the back. The color will be medium blue.

    Director Zell moved to approve Resolution No. G.B. 2010-00 [subsequently numbered as G.B. 2010-07.] Director Sapanai seconded the motion. None opposed and the Board approved the resolution unanimously.
  4. Discussion of Revised Actuarial Valuation of Postretirement Healthcare Program, GASBY Statement 45, (continued from the Saturday, May 15, 2010, Board Meeting.)
    The actuarial valuation was revised by Dennis Daugherty, using a retirement age of 60 and a 5% discount rate, a request made by the Board last month.
  5. Discussion and possible direction to staff regarding updated Stinson Beach County Water District Emergency Response Plan.
    The General Manager noted the emergency response plan is revisited every two years. A great amount of time has been expended in creating the original content of the plan's manual. The manual includes various notices to be distributed to the public door-to-door, such as the "Order to Boil Water" and the "Cancellation of Order to Boil Water."

    Director Sapanai stated it would be helpful to have a field trip to one of the water tanks to refresh the Board's recollection of the various procedures involved in case of an emergency. Several years ago Toby conducted a training session at the Steep Ravine and Highlands tanks. Each tank had a locked tool box with wrenches and read indicators on the side of the tanks. The General Manager is directed to work with staff to compile instructions for turning the valves off and on. Also, backups need to be identified in case of vacations or other absences. A field trip will be set up in the fall.
  6. Discussion and possible approval of the 2009 Water Quality/Consumer Confidence Report.
    The General Manager stated that the deadline for mailing out the report to our customers is at the end of June. President Baskin suggested and it was the consensus of the Board to add to the first page, in bolded and underline format, the sentence: "Please give special attention to the last page: "IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DISTRICT WATER CUSTOMERS."


Director Boucke moved to approve the minutes of May 15, 2010. Director Sapanai seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by unanimous vote.


The General Manager will investigate Director Sapanai's query regarding the $39 late fee and $17.50 finance charge by Staples. Director Zell moved to approve the disbursements. Director Sapanai seconded the motion. The disbursements for May 10 and May 27, 2010 were approved by unanimous vote.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. The Notice of Determination-Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Steep Ravine well was sent to the State Clearinghouse and the County of Marin on May 20, 2010. He has been advised that he will hear by next Tuesday whether or not the declaration meets the County's definition of being complete.

He noted that the District was billed approximately $1,000 for a ten-page draft Cafeteria Plan prepared by Marcus Wu, but received only recently. The plan would limit benefits to future hires. The Personnel Committee will review the draft and, if appropriate, make a resolution. During this next fiscal year, the General Manager will conduct a survey of other public agencies for a comparison of salaries and benefits.

He had a conference call with Ray McDevitt and Allan Richards regarding water consumption by category and by geography. He spoke with John Ryan of the GGNRA and a consultant who is working for the GGNRA about a new septic system for the park. They have a copy of the latest version of Title IV. They will utilize it to design the system and would like the District to review their design as well as perform the septic inspections.

The General Manager and Rich Souza visited the Sutton drainage site [old Elwood's] on Monday, comparing the site's elevation to the existing plan. He and Rich have questions and concerns about the elevations shown on this plan. A few days later, the revised drainage plan was received. Neither he nor Rich have reviewed the revised plan. The plan has to be evaluated against the criteria listed in the conditions, including engineering analysis and topography. The County Public Works Department will do their review first and give their comments. Then, the revised plan will come back to District staff for a decision. If the applicant disagrees with staff, he can appeal to the Board.

Director Sapanai thanked the General Manager and President Baskin for speaking and clarifying with Andrea Blum [the reporter from the West Marin Citizen]. Her article concerning the Stanford Study on septics was written in an obfuscated manner, as she did not have a clear understanding of the subject matter. Director Boucke noted that a week later, the San Francisco Chronicle also printed an article about the condition of various beaches. Stinson Beach was listed as a Class A super beach.

Due to plentiful rainfall and conservation this season, the Stage 1 Alert for Water Conservation can be rescinded. However, the District still wants to encourage people to use water conservatively. The General Manager will notify the District's water customers by placing a note in the small box in next month's water bill.

The General Manager stated that solar panels for the office roof were in the draft CIP budget. He will get proposals if the Board is interested. Director Sapanai inquired about the feasibility of getting solar panels to run the pumps and thereby reduce our electric bills. The General Manager responded that it would cost approximately $150,000 for the Laurel plant to run on solar and approximately $50,000 for the District office building to run on solar. Director Boucke requested that staff first check with the Bolinas Community Utility District to determine their solar panel satisfaction before the District expends any funds. Director Boucke noted that the Federal Government is making grants for alternative energy. Director Sapanai replied that our demographic area may be considered to be too wealthy to qualify.

The Board will consider whether or not to opt out of green energy when given the opportunity. [At the present time, Stinson Beach is not slated to receive service from the Marin Energy Authority (MEA)]. It is believed that when solar energy is employed, the rate repaid by PG&E is at wholesale, whereas green energy is repaid at retail.

The General Manager reported that he has been tracking the Gann Initiative appropriations limit made by resolution going back to 1995. For several years no resolutions were made. He is working with the District's attorney, Patrick Miyaki, to recalculate the figures. There is an election coming up in November. August is the deadline for the District to pass a resolution calling for an election for the purpose of submitting to the qualified electors of the District the question of establishing the District's Appropriations Limit for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The resolution will be discussed at the July Board meeting.

Toby's Monthly Update Report listed only nine obstructed water meters remaining out of an original tally of thirty-one. One of these meters is obstructed by a fence built many years ago on the right of way, and it may require legal assistance to get resolved. Director Boucke noted that the Seadrift Association has strict rules. The Association could require that the fence be moved out of the right of way. President Baskin noted that, as a matter of real property law, one cannot get prescriptive rights into the right of way. The Board recommended a dialog with the Association, "Is there a Seadrift Association rule about encroaching on the right of way, not just about the Water District's right of way, but also about the road aspect?"






The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The Board expressed sincere condolences to Director Zell in the passing of his dad and, in his honor, the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010


Members present:
Barbara Boucke, Director
Elizabeth Sapanai, Director

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Rich Souza - District Engineer
Chris Kelley - District Wastewater Inspector
Helma Schwendig - Acting Administrative Assistant




The Committee adopted the agenda as set.


  1. Review of the status of the incomplete septic system design for #12 Marine Way, Account #3880, Tim Peterson, Michael Mullin and Donald James, Owners.
    The General Manager referred to the District's Resolution No. WW-2009-04, a resolution directing the abatement of a nuisance on property located at 12 Marine Way, Stinson Beach. He explained that the reason the septic system design was on the agenda was due to the project's sensitivity and proximity to the creek. The project's stage is between items 2.b. and c., page 2 of the Resolution: developing a plan to improve the septic system to meet the requirements of Title IV, the District's Onsite Wastewater Management Code, and submitting that plan and applying for a Design Approval Permit; and then submitting an application for a Wastewater Treatment System Construction Permit within 30 days of the Board granting the Design Approval Permit. The application for a Wastewater Treatment System Design Approval Permit is presently incomplete, and the District wants to ensure the project is on track.

    Noadiah Eckman of Eckman Environmental, the system designer, commented that she believes that as of April 19, 2010, all items have been completed and resubmitted. The owners, however, need clarification on the allowed number of gallons per day discharge and would like a 450 gallon per day variance on the design flow.

    Riley Hurd III, Esq., representing the owners, Tim Peterson, Michael Mullin and Donald James, stated the discharge permit is for 200 gallons per day. The owners want to design for 450 gallons per day.

    Rich Souza stated that due to the sensitivity of the creek, the discharge permit should not be for more than 200 gallons per day. Noadiah noted that a variance would be required. Rich stated where there is a setback to a creek, the District does not allow additional flow. Noadiah was under the impression that it was necessary to overdesign due to the habitable size of the residence. She did that.

    Director Sapanai noted that there are a number of systems that are overdesigned, but are still required to stay within a limited discharge number. A variance would be required for going to a discharge of 450 gallons per day. The District would not want the discharge to be more than 200 gallons per day. She noted that, judging from past experience, any design that stays within 200 gallons per day is going to be looked upon favorably by the Board.

    The General Manager stated that Rich has not yet reviewed the revised plans that were submitted just a few hours ago. He will take a look at them and discuss the matter at the next committee meeting.

    Director Boucke responded that the message that she gets is loud and clear: No more usage than 200 gallons per day and stay as far away from the creek as possible.

    Riley Hurd inquired if a variance is not needed then?

    Director Sapanai replied that when Rich has reviewed the resubmitted design plan, that would be a much better time to determine whether or not the project really does need a variance or not. It is totally theoretical right now.

    Conclusion: No action can be taken at this time as the application for a Wastewater Treatment System Design Permit is incomplete.
  2. Review of correspondence from Mr. Riley Hurd III re undeveloped property next to #2 Calle Del Embarcadero. APN#195-132-03, Mrs. Suzanne Royce, Owner.
    The General Manager noted the April 6, 2010 letter he received from Riley Hurd III, counsel to owner, Suzanne [Silk] Royce, covers two main areas: (1) the historic groundwater elevations on the property and, (2) the Title IV Onsite Wastewater Management Code revision adopted January 16, 2010. The owners had submitted their application in November 2009 before the changes to the Code.

    Riley Hurd III noted the groundwater elevation appeared to be retroactive, changing from 18" to 24" in the revised Code. He assumes it is a forward looking regulation. If it doesn't say it is retroactive, then it is not. He inquired as to the timetable for testing. The owners are forced to apply for a variance and were surprised by this. Director Sapanai stated if it was an application that was completed and in the permit stage, she would agree with that. But given that this was not the case, she is not so sure. She does not know.

    Riley Hurd's second concern was with the timing of the testing. What is the baseline for testing? The property owner, who is here today, and the applicants were under the impression that the previous test that existed in the District's files from Rich was what they were constrained by. That found there was not 18" and because of that they were forced to apply for a variance for the difference between what there is and what there is supposed to be under what they believed to be the applicable Code sections. Then they get back from that variance submittal an incompleteness letter saying no, that is not it, the whole property has to be re- tested, provide monitoring wells during the wet weather season and the District will go out and test this thing again. That was a great surprise. So our main concern is we will stick with the previous test results, we are applying for a variance, and we would like a decision on our variance.

    Noadiah stated readings are based on several readings done at different times. Testing results vary if done at different times. Across the street the highest is four feet. They do their testing to meet the Code requirements as testing in wet weather. That is just part of the design procedure.

    Rich Souza noted that there is actually a 16" test also. The photo of last Monday, April 12, 2010, showing another test on neighboring property, determined the ground water level to be between 10"-12." He stated the adjacent property owners say the property does flood.

    Director Boucke noted a variance applies whether the groundwater level is determined to be 18" or 24."

    Rich noted that a retaining wall is required and should be designed by an engineer. One gets a conditional building permit for wastewater and a building permit from the County of Marin.

    Erica Lowry, a neighbor, expressed her thought that the property could not be built on. She has watched the property over the years, and is concerned that if the house is built, her property will be flooded, as it is lower. She is very concerned about the neighbors' septic systems. She stated tides are becoming larger and larger due to changes in the environment. She and her neighbors get their feces pumped away [from holding tanks], so she knows their effluent is not affecting the water table of her neighbors.

    Bruce Wachtell lives at the end of Embarcadero. He spoke about the flooding history. In 1983-1984 period, the water was 24"-27" above grade on that property and the surrounding properties. There was horrendous flooding. Vehicles were unable to pass. Wastewater systems were mixed with rain. No one could drain the water away. Houses on the beach are not as subject to flooding, but the situation gets worse the closer one is to the creek.

    Conclusion: The matter has not been resolved yet.
  3. Review of the status of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) park restroom septic replacement.
    The General Manager reported that the GGNRA is in the process of hiring a private contractor to replace the septic system. The District has no authority over this system. He spoke to Larry Miranda and advised him that this item would appear on our agenda. Director Sapanai noted that although the District has no jurisdiction over park land, the District does have jurisdiction over the areas that are being polluted.

    Rich Souza recommended sending the GGNRA a letter; no one knows where the leach field is.

    Bruce stated that in the '70's the beach was taken over by the Federal Government. He believes that the tidelands are held in trust for the people of California and that if this area is contaminated, the State would have an interest.

    Scott Tye, Director, in the audience, suggested porta potties may be a temporary solution to the pollution problem. He noted that visitors are the life blood of our town.

    Conclusion: Send the GGNRA a letter outlining the District's concern.
  4. Review of Failed Systems Report.
    Chris Kelley, the District's Wastewater Inspector, reported on his updated April 14, 2010 report consisting of eight Revocations of Discharge Permit (Permit to Operate). These systems were located at #12 Sierra, #30 Laurel, #85 Buena Vista, #30 Belvedere, #12 Marine Way, #3265 Shoreline, #316 Seadrift and #127 Seadrift. In each case, the owners are taking steps to cure the cause of revocation.


Bruce requested that the District remind customers before the December and April water billings of the real property tax installment date dates. Director Sapanai agreed to have the District insert reminders in the November and March billings.

Director Boucke suggested that the District purchase copies of the recent National Geographic special issue "Water, Our Thirsty World" for the Board members and staff.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.

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