Saturday, August 18, 2012


President Elizabeth Sapanai called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, August 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
Lawrence Baskin, Director
Barbara Boucke, Director
Scott Tye, Director

Directors absent:
Jim Zell, Vice President

Treasurer present:
Judy Stemen

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Assistant


Steve McCaffrey, of Redwood Empire Disposal, Inc., stated he will report at next month's Board meeting his ideas and approach for a satisfactory long term rate structure. They have expanded their services by instituting a free pilot program to pick up e-waste, household appliances and scrap metal. The free residential community cleanup collection is slated for the second week in September. Mr. McCaffrey will transmit to the General Manager a copy of the flyer announcing the particulars of the cleanup. The flyer will be placed in the customers' next water bill or, alternatively, a reminder note giving the date of the pickup will be inserted on the water bills. Michael Mitchell, on behalf of the Village Green, expressed his gratitude to the Stinson Beach County Water District in alerting him regarding the recent water leaks. He stated it is a pleasure to work with the District staff. The County of Marin is fixing the leaks in the irrigation lines.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set, with the Board granting Ms. Heide Kurtz' request to participate by telephone from Los Angeles in Agenda item D.1, General Business, on behalf of her mother, Ms. Gunild Walsh.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: Water Use Charge Reduction Request for Ms. Gunild Walsh, 298 Seadrift Road, Stinson Beach, Account #06870.
    The General Manager gave a brief report of the water leak. The house was not occupied at the time of the leak. The leak occurred when a 3/4" copper pipe and a 1/2" copper pipe failed under the slab cement floor of the kitchen and patio, resulting in a loss of 463,760 gallons of water [which at 62,000 cubic feet is about 40% of the District's total water storage capacity] and a $16,475.80 water usage charge. Because the leak occurred over an extended period of time, probably 20 to 30 days, and did not affect the town's firefighting capability or customer service capacity, the General Manager was able to grant Ms. Walsh a water usage reduction. In accordance with the water use charge reduction provisions in Resolution No. GB-2012-01 and applying the applicable Tier 1-7 rates and Tier 3 rate above 13,400 cubic feet, Ms. Walsh's water usage bill was reduced from $16,475.80 to $6,921.04. In addition, because the leak was isolated promptly and there was no negative impact on the District's water storage capacity or other customers, the General Manager was able to grant an additional 50% reduction of $3,460.52, leaving a balance owing of $3,460.52.

    As Ms. Walsh was unavailable to attend the Board meeting, she requested her daughter, Ms. Heide Kurtz, to represent her in seeking a further water usage charge reduction from the Board that is in addition to the relief previously granted by the General Manager. Ms. Kurtz stated that she very much appreciated all of the General Manager's assistance and professionalism. However, she proposed that her entire bill be calculated at the Tier 1 rate, which would amount to $1,209.00. She stated that there was no negligence on her mother's part and that other water companies take that into account. She believes the District is trying to make a profit on her mother's leak.

    Morey Nelson, a Seadrift resident, stated he was sympathetic and the Tier 1 rate seemed reasonable to him.

    Director Tye stated that if the District does not receive reimbursement for the lost water, the other rate payers must make up the difference. Other, larger districts, have much larger volumes of water at their disposal and use different formulae for water usage. He stated he was surprised to the degree that the bill was reduced to $3,460.52 as a result of the General Manager's calculation.

    President Sapanai stated that the report from American Leak Detection also showed that a toilet was running and that if someone had been in the house, they would have heard water running. She suggested Ms. Walsh have the meter checked on a regular basis. The lost water was processed and treated water and its attendant costs must be paid. Ms. Sapanai suggested payments can be spread over a period of time.

    Director Baskin stated he is sympathetic; however, since the District has only 725 ratepayers, its water rates are more expensive than in other areas such as Novato, as there are fewer ratepayers in Stinson to spread the operating costs around. The District's resolution establishing the policy for water use charge reductions was carefully worded to meet both the needs of the ratepayers and the needs of the District. He stated that reducing Ms. Walsh's bill from $16,475.80 to $3,460.52 was a dramatic reduction. The District converted from billing every two months to billing monthly in order to shorten the time frame in which a leak may go undetected. The District is not profiting from Ms. Walsh's leak. To the contrary, the District's revenues from water sales and septic inspections do not produce enough income to offset its operating costs. The property tax apportionment which the District receives from the county makes up the shortfall. The water rates do not reflect the costs involved to produce the water. If the water had been used to fill a swimming pool, for example, there would be no reduction and the bill would remain at $16,475.80.

    Director Baskin moved to approve the General Manager's calculation and water bill of $3,460.52. Director Tye seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: Stinson Beach County Water District Resolution No. G.B. 2012-00 [subsequently renumbered as GB-2012-07] Adopting an Amended Conflict-of-Interest Code.
    The Political Reform Act requires all local government agencies to review their Conflict-of- Interest Code every two years. The District's counsel, Hanson Bridgett, reviewed the District's current Conflict-of-Interest Code and determined the need to add "Consultant" and delete the reference to disclosure categories for the members of the Board and the General Manager, as the level of disclosure is set by state law. The Board requested that the General Manager determine the cost of having the Hanson Bridgett firm revise the District's Conflict-of-Interest Code, as well as to determine which projects the firm has on its automatic calendar to provide the District with legal assistance.

    Director Baskin moved to adopt the Amended Conflict-of-interest Code. Director Boucke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
  3. Discussion and possible direction to staff to authorize the General Manager to accept all deeds and grants conveying any interest in real property to the Stinson Beach County Water District.
    Director Baskin moved to grant authority for the General Manager to accept all deeds and grants conveying any interest in real property on behalf of the District, subject to the Legal Committee's prior approval by adopting Stinson Beach County Water District Resolution No. G.B. 2012-00 [subsequently renumbered as GB-2012-08]. Director Tye seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Director Tye moved to approve the Minutes of July 21, 2012. Director Boucke seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.


Director Boucke moved to approve the disbursements of July 24 and August 9, 2012. Director Baskin seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved unanimously.


The Board reviewed and approved the financial reports for June 2012. The District will invoice the County Flood Control Project for Stetson Engineers' assistance regarding creek flow information.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. On August 9, he attended the first of two meetings of a Solar Collaborative Purchasing Project which is being organized by the County of Marin. The project is called the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Fund (SEED Fund). The second workshop on August 23 will deal with the Technical Consideration for Solar Projects, such as the costs, site constraints and assembly. The Seed Fund team is comprised of Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI), which is a non-profit organization formed to reduce pollution. They are teamed with an independent solar consulting firm called Optony. The CA Solar Initiative is funding the program by issuing grants. So far, five municipalities have shown an interest; however, five more are needed in order for the project to proceed. The District's site may be too small to qualify.

The Grant septic project documents were forwarded to the RWQCB on August 13 for their 30 day comment period. Neighborhood notification notices will be sent out for both the Grant and Royce projects by the end of August.

On August 28, the General Manager and Director Tye will attend a meeting of The Working Group for the County Flood Project at the Community Center.

The District's auditors, Maze & Associates, will perform their annual financial audit on September 4th and 5th.

The District's relocation of the Seadrift Water Main Line is approximately one-half completed. We will excavate a hole in front of 141 Seadrift to the depth of the water line to determine if the water line was relocated, as required by the Donahoes' 1999 Septic Approval. A letter has been sent to the Dursts, requesting the $2,084.96 balance owed the District for relocating the water line at 135 Seadrift Road.

The Chemical Toilet flyer and modified permit application were mailed to 25 different companies/individuals. Director Boucke recommended adding Katie Broomhead [a private chef in Stinson Beach] to the distribution list.

The General Manager transferred $100,000 from the District's LAIF account into its operating account to make up for the prepayment to CalPERS, gasoline purchases and various materials to finish the Water Treatment Plant.

He will be attending a workshop on October 10 of Our Coast/our Future (OCOF).

The septic system for 12 Marine Way passed its monthly inspection. It will be inspected again on August 20.

The risk control recommendations made by John Haaf, Risk Management Manager for ACWA/Joint Powers Authority, after his review of the District's facilities, have been implemented.


None. Director Tye suggested placing a binder containing a copy of the monthly Board packet on the counter for the public's perusal.


The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

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