Saturday, April 20, 2013


President Jim Zell called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, April 20, 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.


Director Baskin expressed his appreciation of former Director Scott Tye's many years of diligence and hard work while serving on the Board.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Discussion and possible approval of a Billing Rate Increase for Hanson Bridgett LLP, the District's Legal Counsel.
    The General Manager introduced the District's legal counsel, Patrick Miyaki, to new Board members Sandra Cross and Morey Nelsen. Mr. Miyaki gave a brief history of his work with the Hanson Bridgett law firm over the past twenty years. He replaced Ray McDevitt as the District's general legal counsel several years ago. Mr. Miyaki came to today's Board Meeting to present his proposal for a billing rate increase from $270/hour to $288/hour effective July 1, 2013. This represents a good discount to the District, as his standard rate is $505/hour.

    It has been three years since his previous rate increase. The Legal Committee had reviewed his request at its February 20, 2013 committee meeting. The Legal Committee and staff are very satisfied with the services provided by Mr. Miyaki's firm. Director Baskin made a motion to grant Mr. Miyaki's hourly rate increase to $288/hour. Director Cross seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
  2. Consideration of an offer from Mr. Richard Reasoner and possible direction to staff to assist in preparing a training class for irrigation specialists.
    The General Manager introduced Richard Reasoner, a local resident, who is President of Dendron Landscape Management Consultants. Mr. Reasoner approached him to discuss the recent Water Conservation Stage II Alert that the District had placed in last month's water bills. Mr. Reasoner has volunteered to teach a class on irrigation practices for the individuals who are responsible to install/maintain irrigation systems. He has a lot of experience in water conservation and recommends setting up an outside water budget prototype for Village Green I and II and the Stinson Beach School. Also, a newsletter to homeowners should be prepared, giving them tips to conserve water and including a survey, if they and/or their landscapers are interested in participating in an irrigation management class to be held by Mr. Reasoner at the Stinson Beach School. A draft newsletter will be developed at the next Water Operations Committee meeting and a final version placed in the May water bills.

    Director Nelsen inquired if the District has considered the use of graywater for irrigation purposes. He noted that the Independent Journal had featured an article regarding Marin County's adoption of graywater regulations in unincorporated areas in order to lower water consumption.

    Director Cross noted that the matter had previously been discussed at a Wastewater Committee meeting and wondered if the District has the authority to simplify its current procedures. [At the present time, any design to treat graywater on site shall be considered an alternative system and can be approved only by the Board granting a variance.]
  3. Discussion and possible revision of the District's Policy for Water Use Charge Reductions.
    Director Nelsen had presented a proposed resolution to revise portions of the District's current Water Use Charge/Leak Reduction policy, Resolution No. GB-2012-01, during the Public Expression portion of the Saturday, February 16, 2013, Board Meeting. He felt that the current policy is subjective and punitive to the ratepayers.

    The Board decided to discuss the matter more in depth at the next Water Operations Committee Meeting [March 6, 2013]. The Board packet for the Meeting of March 16 contained a copy of Director Nelsen's draft Resolution which had been discussed at the March 6 Water Operations Committee Meeting. Also included was an estimate of the decrease in the District's revenue if the new policy were implemented [discussed at the March 13 Finance Committee Meeting].

    Much thought and effort had been expended to achieve the District's current policy. President Zell noted that he is satisfied with the existing provisions which spell out circumstances within the customer's reasonable control as well as circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the customer. The District must have control over a finite water resource.

    Director Cross noted that the District has to set standards for loss of water and that consumers must be held accountable for their water loss.

    Director Baskin recommended that certain parts of existing Resolution GB-2012-01, relating to whether or not the event of water loss results from circumstances within or beyond the customer's control and listing examples of reasonable control, be incorporated into Director Nelsen's revised draft Resolution [GB-2013-__.]

    Director Baskin requested that the General Manager lists any leak reduction relief that he grants during the month on his Monthly Report.

    Director Boucke suggested removing the words: "there shall be no reduction" from the last sentence of paragraph 1, of current Resolution GB-2012-01.

    Director Nelsen stated that it is his intention that the District not lose any money and recovers its cost of producing the water.

    After much back and forth discussion, the Board tabled the matter to be heard again at the next Water Operations Committee Meeting [April 24, 2013].
  4. Review the District's Annual Public Water System Statistics Report. Possibly set up several special Finance Committee meetings to work with staff on a water audit to confirm "unaccounted for" water.
    The General Manager reported that the District's annual Public Water System Statistics Report for 2012 to the Department of Water Resources again shows that the District produced 55 million gallons of potable water, but only delivered 45 million metered gallons, an "unaccounted for" percentage of nearly 20 per cent. The District is aggressively seeking to reduce this loss by replacing its older water mains in the Calles and Patios and a 500' section of Highway 1 as soon as possible. The older residential and commercial water meters, which slow down over time, will also be replaced.

    The Finance Committee, (consisting of Directors Boucke and Nelsen and Treasurer Stemen) will work with staff on a water audit to confirm this "unaccounted for" water in order to recover this water and increase the District's revenue by decreasing its Operations & Maintenance costs. The mathematical computations will also be reviewed as well as a determination of the value of the lost water. The implementation of a GPS mapping system of the District's pipes will also be considered. The District will make use of the Best Management Practices in water loss control methodology as recommended by the American Water Works Association. Director Baskin requested that District staff notify its customers when water meters are changed out.


Director Baskin moved to approve the Minutes of March 16, 2013. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. Director Baskin noted that, although he was not present at the March 16 meeting, Page 2, line 10, of the minutes should state that Director Cross also moved to adopt the Findings of Fact set forth by Questa Engineering. The minutes were approved unanimously.


Director Baskin moved to approve the disbursements of March 11, March 14 and March 28, 2013. Director Nelsen seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved unanimously.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. Director Nelsen, Toby and the General Manager met to review the District's equipment depreciation schedules. He subsequently also met with Janice and Toby. The Finance Committee also discussed the depreciation life remaining in the District's existing pipelines.

The General Manager transferred $275,000 from the District's Operating Account at Westamerica Bank to the District's LAIF account, bringing its balance to about $1,180,000.

He is still corresponding with Pall Corporation regarding a full credit for their failed poly tank for $7,004.59. Director Baskin suggested that the District determine if Stetson Engineering has the expertise to examine the tank for defects in manufacturing. Treasurer Stemen suggested researching the Pall Corporation on the internet for posted complaints from other customers.

The District has received a proposal from The Weist Law Firm to refinance its Outstanding Long Term Debt Obligations. This would save the District approximately $20,000 each year for the next 19 years. Director Baskin requested the firm's contact information. The proposal will be discussed at the next Finance Committee meeting on May 8.

The District expects to be repaid $42,906 in property tax revenue plus 2 per cent interest from the State by the end of June. These funds were borrowed by the State three years ago in order to pay school expenses.

Peter Fiske, Ph.D., CEO of Pax Water, wants to use the Pax mixer to be installed at our Steep Ravine Tank site as a demonstration project.

Vice President Boucke requested that updated, laminated wallet cards be prepared and distributed to the Board and Treasurer, including names and phone numbers of the Board and staff. President Jim Zell requested updated Emergency Response Plan Procedures.




The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting to Closed Session was approved by unanimous vote at 11:45 a.m.

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