President Elizabeth Sapanai called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, February 18, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

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:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.


Steve McCaffrey of Redwood Empire Disposal handed out (1) a Memorandum from Armanino McKenna LLP which summarized their analysis of a proposed rate increase for the Stinson Beach contract and (2) a list of current Garbage Rates in Marin County. Redwood Empire Disposal has in the past only adjusted rates by the annual change in the Consumer Price Index (C.P.I). However, the actual costs of fuel, payroll and dump fees have far outpaced the C.P.I. Mr. McCaffrey will attend next month's Board meeting to discuss the matter in more depth.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a Variance request for installation of a new alternative septic system; 3715 Shoreline Highway, Acct. #00370, Lynette S. Sutton and James H. Sutton, owners.
    Vice President Zell recused himself from this part of the meeting, as he has a conflict of interest. The General Manager summarized the action taken at last month's Saturday, January 21, 2012 Board meeting. At that meeting, the Board voted to approve the appellants resubmitting a new Variance Application and a new Design Review Application for an Onsite Wastewater System [Alternative System] with a reduced fee of 15% for each application. The resubmitted applications were subsequently reviewed at the District's Wastewater Committee meeting on Monday, January 30, 2012. In an e-mail dated February 1, 2012, Blair Allen of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board advised the General Manager that he [Mr. Allen] had no additional comments regarding the project beyond those he made on October 11, 2007.

    The Board had to consider the following four variances: (1) Site Criteria - Setbacks [to Easkoot Creek], (2) Design Flow [limited to 150 gallons per day], (3) Use of Alternative Wastewater System Designs [recirculating textile filter], and (4) Importation of Soil [raised bed drain field]. The District's current Title IV Onsite Wastewater Management Code regulations allow only a single family residence with 1,400 square feet of habitable space for a daily maximum wastewater flow rate of 150 gallons. The variance, however, would allow the proposed buildings to contain 2,240 square feet of habitable space, but the maximum wastewater flow rate will not be permitted to increase and must remain at 150 gallons per day.

    Norm Hantzsche, of Questa Engineering, the system's designer, noted that he has been working on this project since 2005, and that there have been no changes in the District's Wastewater Code nor variance issues which would have affected this project. Also, he stated the revised Drainage Plan has been approved by the County, and reviewed by the District and its Engineer, and believes it to be satisfactory.

    Director Tye inquired of Mr. Hantzsche whether or not the high water shut off casing was a closed casing. Mr. Hantzsche responded that it was a perforated casing which allowed the water to rise up from the top as well as the bottom.

    President Sapanai stated she was concerned about the final plans which showed the number of bedrooms, toilets and appliances that could be used, although the maximum wastewater rate is limited to 150 gallons per day. She felt the 150 gallon limit would be difficult to meet and cautioned the Suttons to scale back on the number of water using plumbing fixtures and appliances. Just because the septic system was designed for greater than 150 gallons per day, not being able to meet the requirement of 150 gallons per day would not be a basis or grounds for asking to have it increased. She would not be able to approve the variances for this project if it had not been a replacement of an existing septic system.

    Director Baskin made a motion to approve the variance and adopt the findings as set forth in the Questa letter of June 20, 2007, specifying this is the replacement of an existing residence and should not be considered as a precedent setting approval for undeveloped properties. Director Tye seconded the motion. The variance was approved unanimously.

    Vice President Zell returned for the remainder of the meeting.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff to grant a Water Use Charge Reduction Request for Mr. Tig Tarlton, 75 Dipsea, Stinson Beach, Account #7890.
    The General Manager summarized Mr. Tarlton's Water Use Charge Reduction Request dated January 24, 2012 and his letter of February 6, 2012. The total water use portion of his bill was $4,601.10, of which $2,525.14 was for the month of August and $2,075.96 was for the month of September 2011. As the leaks took place during August and September, Mr. Tarlton did not meet the 90 day requirement for submitting the leak reduction request. Paragraph #3 of the District's Water Use Charge Reduction Policy describes the limited circumstances under which the General Manager may approve a request for a water use reduction not to exceed 50% of the water usage portion of the bill that qualifies for reduction. The General Manager was not authorized to grant Mr. Tarlton any relief, as the water loss occurred from leaking toilets.

    Tig Tarlton spoke of his recurring excess water usage which he attributed primarily to the Good & Clean Co. employees' failure to pay attention when they flushed his toilets and ensure the flushing mechanism turned off and did not keep his toilets running. He has an ongoing dispute with Milton Gooden, the proprietor of Good & Clean Co., who he stated told him his toilets were too old. Mr. Tarlton displayed a toilet cover which bore the stamp "2004."

    The Board was sympathetic to Mr.Tarlton's dilemma, but noted that paragraph #1 of Resolution No. GB-2010-02 clearly states that "In the event of water loss resulting from circumstances within the customer's reasonable control, including, but not limited to, failure of sprinkler/irrigation systems, faucets, toilets and components, failure to turn off water supplies or provide for regular observation of the water system in the event of vacation or other absences, failure to supervise children, tenants, landscape personnel and maintenance contract personnel, there shall be no reduction." The Board felt Mr. Tarlton could have gotten someone to turn off the water when no one uses the residence. President Sapanai suggested he install a digital water Meter Display Unit (MDU) on the street and have someone come weekly and check the water usage. She also suggested that Mr. Tarlton have the cleaning people turn off the toilet valves which will cut off the water supply to the toilet.

    Director Tye made a motion to deny the appeal. Vice President Zell seconded the motion. The Board voted 4-1 to deny Mr. Tarlton's water use charge reduction request. The Board did, however, authorize the General Manager to offer Mr. Tarlton a monthly payment plan.

    Director Baskin noted that paragraph #4 of the current Resolution should be discussed at the next Board Meeting. The Resolution was written when the District billed every two months. Now that the district is billing monthly, the wording should be changed to "Water loss reductions/adjustments shall be limited to two consecutive months within two consecutive billing periods."
  2. Review and approval of the Stinson Beach County Water District Memorandum on Internal Controls, Required Communications and Basic Financial Statements for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2011.
    The District elected to hire a new auditing firm to audit the District's financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. The General Manager introduced the District's new independent auditors, David Alvey and Tim Kirsch from Maze & Associates.

    David Alvey stated the District remains in a strong financial condition. The auditors did not find any material weaknesses nor significant deficiencies in internal controls.


President Sapanai referred to Page 3, lines 6 and 7, of the Minutes of the January 21, 2012 Board meeting which stated: .... "with a reduced fee of 15% for the resubmitted [Sutton] Variance Application and Design Review Application...." She had preferred a reduced fee of 25%. Director Tye motioned to approve the minutes and Vice President Zell seconded the motion.


Vice President Zell motioned to approve the disbursements of January 24 and February 8, 2012. Director Baskin seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved unanimously.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. The recommended changes to the District's Title IV Onsite Wastewater Management Code, which were sent to Blair Allen in June of 2011, will be discussed at the March 17 Board meeting.

The General Manager described the proposed language which will now be part of Resolutions and Design Permits for septic systems that will be installed within 10 feet of the District's water main. The homeowner is to relocate the water line to meet the State of California waiver of 10 feet or greater from the edge of the proposed new septic system, in accordance with the design standards of the District. However, if the homeowner so requests, the District will provide a written estimate to relocate the line by District staff as time permits. Director Zell suggested that the Board consider turning over the water main relocation project to a private contractor in lieu of using District staff, as the District staff's duties in dealing with water production take priority. President Sapanai agreed this suggestion was worthy of further discussion. The General Manager will place the item on the March 17 Board meeting agenda.

The General Manager noted that the District has approximately $850,000 in its LAIF account and approximately $170,000 in its operating account.

The General Manager updated the Board on the current status of getting the District's easement modified for our Highlands Tank Site in order for Verizon to go forward with their plans to erect cell antennas at the site. Katharine Arrow of the National Park Service (NPS) stated the NPS will not grant an easement change for the road if there is any opposition from the Stinson Beach townspeople, and that the NPS does not want to offend anyone in the community. Ms. Arrow suggested that Verizon begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance process. Verizon might be able to obtain a 5 year use permit from the NPS.




The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

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