Saturday, January 19, 2013


President Jim Zell called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, January 19, 2013, at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

Directors present:
Jim Zell, President
Barbara Boucke, Vice President
Lawrence Baskin, Director
Sandra Cross, Director
Morey Nelsen, Director

Treasurer present:
Judy Stemen

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.


Local residents, Pamela Smith Lichtenwalner and Marion Weber expressed their desire to be notified concerning Verizon's and other telecommunication group's placement of cellular equipment near the District's water tanks.

Ms. Weber requested that she be advised of the date of the next Water Operations Committee meeting. She would like to bring up for discussion the technology developed by Pax Water Technologies, a company that uses a biomimetic approach in mixing water in storage tanks. Ms. Weber disclosed that she has invested in the company.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Special Recognition to Toby Bisson for his efforts and invaluable local knowledge in the rescue of a hiker who was lost on the west side of Mt. Tamalpais.
    The rescue took place on New Year's Eve and involved the assistance of 60 personnel from 12 agencies, across 6 counties, including the CHP helicopter, all searching in the dark for the whereabouts of the hiker in extremely challenging, steep terrain. When finally found hours later at the base of a waterfall, the hiker was suffering from hypothermia and likely would not have survived the night. Toby was instrumental in instructing the team from Napa County where to search. The Board applauded Toby as, thanks to him, this challenging mission had a good outcome.
  2. Special Recognition to Helma Schwendig for her extra effort in obtaining a commission as a Notary Public of the State of California.
    The Marin County Recorder is now requiring that the General Manager's signature on all SBCWD Septic Discharge Permits as well as Failed Systems Citations be notarized prior to sending in for recordation. The Board applauded Helma's success in obtaining her 4 year commission as a Notary Public for the District.


  1. Consideration of a request from North Bay Corporation/Redwood Empire Disposal to raise garbage rates by 7.01% (No Franchise Fee Increase) to be effective on February 1, 2013, continued from the Saturday, December 15, 2012, Board meeting.
    The discussion of the requested rate increase was continued from the Saturday, December 15, 2012, Board meeting.

    Steve McCaffrey, Director of Governmental Affairs, North Bay Corporation, spoke briefly of Redwood Empire Disposal's commitment to continue to provide good customer service. He is preparing a new draft contract which would be initially reviewed by the Legal and Garbage Committees.

    Director Baskin moved to adopt Draft Resolution No. GB-2013-__ [subsequently numbered GB-2013-01] with attached Exhibit A, setting forth the new rates which become effective February 1, 2013. Director Nelsen seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously with the exception of Director Cross, who was not present when the vote was taken.


  1. Review of the District's Basic Financial Statements and the Memorandum on Internal Controls as at June 30, 2012.
    David Alvey, Manager, Maze & Associates, the District's Independent Auditors, stated they gave an unqualified opinion of the District's financial statements without any reservations. This is the highest level of assurance that a CPA firm can give to a client. This means that the auditors feel that the District followed all accounting rules appropriately and that the financial reports are an accurate representation of the District's financial condition. In their Memorandum on Internal Controls, the auditors did not find any material weaknesses or significant deficiencies, just a few housecleaning items, nothing that they feel are of a real major concern. Lastly, the District's net assets are moving in the right direction, which is a good sign of a strong financial position.

    Director Baskin motioned to accept the Basic Financial Statements and the Memorandum on Internal Controls. Director Boucke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

    The Board directed the General Manager to have the financial audit posted to the District's website and have a copy placed in the Stinson Beach Library.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff to grant a Water Use Charge Reduction Request for Mr. Mike Bernsohn, tenant, 185 Buena Vista, Stinson Beach, Account #3360.
    Mr. Bernsohn's water loss was due to the irrigation lines for his vegetable garden being "squeezed" between growing hedge trees and a fence, causing the PVC lines to crack. The total water use portion of his bill from August 30, 2012 to October 1, 2012 was $1,025.86. He had submitted a repair receipt of $415 and is requesting a 50% or more reduction of the water use portion of his bill. Under paragraph#1 of the District's Water Use Charge Reduction Policy, the General Manager is not authorized to grant Mr. Bernsohn any water use reduction, as the loss of the water was caused by Mr. Bernsohn's irrigation system.

    Mike Bernsohn, the tenant, is a full-time resident of Stinson Beach. He stated the irrigation system had no controllable parts. It consisted only of the PVC pipe that was connected to his garden hose and that the water loss was not within his reasonable control. Mr. Bernsohn was adamant in his belief that he could not have inspected the PVC pipe for cracks due to its location.

    The Directors discussed the percentage of leaks resulting from failed irrigation systems [approximately 50 to 60%], the impact of leaks on the town's water supply, the District's limited storage capacity, and the District's strict guidelines which need to be met in order to grant a water use charge reduction.

    Director Baskin made a motion to grant Mr. Bernsohn a 50% water use reduction. Director Nelsen supported Director Baskin's motion if Mr. Bernsohn was also required to install a digital display meter (MDU). Director Baskin amended his motion to grant Mr. Bernsohn a 50% water use reduction with the stipulation that Mr. Bernsohn install an MDU. Director Nelsen seconded the amended motion. The motion was approved 4-1, with President Zell opposed. The Board also provided Mr. Bernsohn the option to make monthly payments of the reduced balance due.

    The language of the policy establishing water use charge reductions will be reviewed in the near future.
  3. Discussion and possible direction to staff to grant a Water Use Charge Reduction Request for Ms. Pauline Walton Flath, 133 Seadrift Road, Stinson Beach, Account #7695.
    Ms. Flath's water loss was due to a toilet flapper failing to shut off. She has submitted a repair receipt and has requested a 100% reduction of the water use portion of her bill from August 29, 2012 to October 1, 2012 of $2,375.32. Since the loss of the water was caused by a component of Ms. Flath's toilet, the General Manager is not authorized to grant her any water use reduction.

    Pauline Walton Flath, a part-time resident, stated that the house was not occupied. However, she is very sensitive to water use, and always turns off the red lever in front of her driveway upon departing. She had a new, quiet toilet installed which makes no sound when it flushes, so she was completely unaware that the toilet was running. Ms. Flath distributed to the Directors a copy of her water usage history from July 31, 2007 - January 2, 2013 which reflected very little or no usage except the large amount for the period in question. She has in the past experienced a next door contractor connecting his hose to her water spigot.

    Director Nelsen moved to grant Ms. Flath a 50% reduction, with the stipulation that she hire someone to make sure her water is turned off during her absence. Director Boucke seconded the motion, but the motion did not pass. The vote was as follows: AYES: Directors Boucke and Nelsen. NOES: President Zell, Directors Cross and Baskin.

    Ms. Flath stated she believes the Board is biased against Seadrift people. Director Baskin responded that the Board tries to be fair to everyone, but unfortunately, based on the circumstances of her leak, he could not vote to grant her any relief. However, Ms. Flath can make monthly payments over an extended period of time.


Director Baskin moved to approve the Minutes of December 15, 2012. Director Nelsen seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.


Director Baskin moved to approve the disbursements of December 12 and December 27, 2012. Director Nelsen seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved unanimously.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. He is still working with Lance Benjamin of Pall Technology Services regarding our claim for reimbursement for the purchase of a failed 350 gallon polymer tank of $7,000. Also being followed up is a $1,700 credit due us for a recent meter return.

A fourth meeting is being scheduled with Joanne Towl, Supervisor, Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District. There are 22 different kinds of mosquitos in this area. One lives its entire life cycle of three weeks in septic systems. Director Nelsen has agreed to be the District's representative of the West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council. The District provides free mosquito netting measuring 1/16" for homeowners to screen their roof vents.

The Notice of Start of Wet Weather Testing Period has been modified slightly, placed on our website, posted around town and e-mailed to Barbara Fedun. However, due to the lack of rain lately, no wet weather testing can be done at the present time.

The District has so far received 10 requests from contractors regarding the Highlands #1 Water Tank Anchorage Improvements Project plans and specifications. The estimate for the project is $92,500. The bid opening date is February 18 [Presidents' Day], but the General Manager will speak with Allan Richards of Stetson Engineering to change it to the next business day.

Governmental Accounting Standards Board rule (GASB) #45 requires the District to estimate the future cost of required medical benefits given to employees and set that money aside. Dennis Daugherty of Nicolay Consulting is in the process of preparing the 2012 report.

The SBCWD Ordinance and Notice of Lien on Norman McVea's property for an unpaid water bill of $1,714.36 was mailed to the County Recorder for recording.

We are still working with PG&E to reduce the number of billings we receive from them. Because the District put its solar panels on line about the same time as Marin Clean Energy, PG&E has been sending out "statements" and "invoices."

Director Nelsen requested that the General Manager send a letter to Kiren Niederberger, General Manager, Seadrift Association, concerning the projected completion date of the Seadrift Water Line Relocation Project.

Director Cross inquired regarding the formulation of the wastewater inspection policies. She felt there is some confusion of the proper nomenclature. Some policies appear to her to be actually operating procedures. The General Manager responded that the District's Title IV is policy and that administrative/operations procedures support its policy. He will have operating procedures retitled as such as necessary. Treasurer Stemen inquired if the District maintains a manual of standard operating procedures, especially for Water Supervisor Toby Bisson and Wastewater Inspector Chris Kelley. Director Baskin noted that the Water Operations Committee could review all policies already stated and that the Wastewater Committee could review all septic policies




The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:22 a.m.

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