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24850 Birch Street, Willits, CA 95490

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Board of Directors of Brooktrails Township Community Services District met in regular session on August 22, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Brooktrails Community Center.


Roll call showed the following directors present: Orth, Horrick and Skezas. President Skezas announced that Director Williams had been excused for this meeting. Also present were General Manager Chapman and District Counsel Neary. Director Ziady arrived at 7:02 p.m.



1. July 25, 2006. Director Orth requested that the words "for our 218 election" be added to the end of the first sentence of the second paragraph on p. 3705. On p. 3706, he noted that the motion referenced in the second paragraph carried unanimously. On p. 3707, last paragraph, he asked that the words "a spring-fed well in the area disappeared, and this has never happened before to this user's spring" be added after the reference to 110-degree heat. Director Horrick moved to approve the minutes as amended; Director Orth seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Lt. Tom Allman of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department briefed the directors and audience on his department's activity in Brooktrails in the past year. He said they have been vigilant on the outskirt roads such as in Spring Creek looking for access issues; he felt these roads are now in the best condition they've been in his career due to residents' efforts. He said he'd like to see some kind of program where people could be nominated for brush clearing efforts. Staffing remains stable with 13 deputies, four of them residing in Covelo and nine living on the 101 corridor; there is rarely a situation where someone is not in the area. There has been bear activity on the west side of Brooktrails and there are currently several humane traps set up.

Director Orth asked about their communications system. Lt. Allman said upgrading the 25-year-old system will cost over $1 million. During the January 1 floods, the County's main communications system went down, but the backup system worked flawlessly. He stressed to the Board how important cell towers are in such situations. The current system is affected greatly by weather conditions.

General Manager Chapman said there had been a report in the Press Democrat about 140,000 marijuana plants seized and asked what proportion came from here. Lt. Allman said he felt the actual plant count would be 250,000 although a huge proportion of these are small seedlings. He said he would see if a flyover of Brooktrails could be arranged. He said there is medicinal marijuana out there, and that the Sheriff's Department would have to pay reparations for if they did take it.
President Skezas thanked Lt. Allman for his presentation.



2. Review of Accounts Payable report and authorization to issue checks. Director Orth moved to approve payment of the outstanding invoice report; Director Horrick seconded. Director Orth noted the costs involved with our water projects, and asked about the charge listed for "lot merger." General Manager Chapman noted that there had been an error on that charge which was corrected in the revised Accounts Payable report. General Manager Chapman noted that we were paying one-fifth of the FDAC-FASIS final payment at this time. The motion carried unanimously.

3. Retroactive approval of August 9 check run. Director Orth moved to retroactively approve the outstanding invoices of August 9; Director Horrick seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

4. Richard Estabrook - Water Projection Update.
Mr. Estabrook reviewed his projection of May 2006 which began with 322 acre-feet storage and a net of around 40 acre-feet by end-December if no rainfall occurred. He said he felt confident that that his projections were within 20 - 25 acre-feet of reality. Since the initial projection, he has checked readings every week. He noted that the red dots on the graph represent actual volumes and said we are following right along the projection; however, he said, if we don't get significant rainfall by the end of December, the reservoirs will be low. He said as long as we keep track we'll be okay; he said he did expect to get some kind of rainfall in October or November to help out a little bit, but we should not assume we will get any.

Mr. Estabrook said there were three main variables in the projection formula, and he would look at the projected vs. actual for each. These were the (1) estimation/calculation/projection of Willits Creek flow rate from the last rain of the 2006 spring, through December 31st; (2) water production estimates, and (3) the bypass flow rate as measured by the new bypass flow meter, which he would compare to required releases by CA Fish & Game. The Willits Creek flow rate was calculated using the ARCS equation. The last rain was toward the end of May and we had about 2.5 cfs. Actual measurements by the USGS gauging station were then also plotted on the graph. The model for water production was then reviewed. For June, the model assumed production of about 11 million gallons; projections were based on the three preceding years' average. Actual water usage was surprisingly higher than projected, with June being significantly over at almost 14 million gallons, despite not being that hot that month.

Mr. Estabrook then referred to the bypass valve that was operating well for its first year. He said he felt before the bypass valve was installed, we had missed critical junctions to transfer water to Lake Ada Rose. Especially in that critical time, which this year was in May, we can now measure exactly what we need to let over the spillway and send the rest to Ada Rose.

Mr. Estabrook then discussed a new diagnostic tool/method he is using, where one looks backwards rather than forwards and plugs in actual values for the parameters. He confirmed Director Orth's supposition that this would reveal missing water. Mr. Estabrook said we have a pretty good handle on the data and our projected values should be really close to our observed values unless there's something funny going on. The model was looking good except for the reading he took the day before the meeting. He showed a series of graphs plotting the difference between the observed values and what was calculated for that day. There is still some uncertainty built in to the method. The USGS gauge is accurate plus or minus 8% and errors on other variables can occur. The differences run between 2 and 4 acre-feet. However, the difference on the last reading was 9 acre-feet. Either an error in reading occurred, or the preliminary data from the water plant was not quite right, or something else is going on. He said it might be consistent with significant sedimentation from last winter. He said that the 600 cfs last winter moved some sediment deeper into the lake and that hasn't been uncovered until we've gotten lower, he didn't know. However, it deserves some attention.

He said his conclusion is that at best our water supply will be tight if we don't get rain before December 31. He reminded the audience we can't use the bottom of Lake Emily as it's too muddy. 40 acre-feet, he said, makes him nervous. While the chances are good we will get rain before December 31, we have to give a share of it away to CA Fish & Game. Mr. Estabrook said he had analyzed rainfall data, and we had always used December 1 as the end of the dry season because Willits historic data indicates a 95% probability of significant rainfall before December 1. However, he said, this is a rainfall of a few inches, and we need more than that to start moving the creek, and this was before the bypass/release CA Fish & Game requirement that we release until we hit 15 cfs.

Mr. Estabrook said suppose we get 4" of rain and the creek goes up to 3 cfs; we have to give that 3 cfs away. But the lake will also receive that amount of rain and we can keep that. If we get 4" of rain we could get 15-17 acre-feet and still be in compliance with Fish & Game by releasing what flows in from the creek. The anomaly he had remarked upon earlier could represent sedimentation; he recommended re-doing it in two weeks and seeing if the 9 acre-foot difference disappears. However, if it increases, that could be a problem, and he would probably come back to the Board and recommend they consider invoking the emergency conservation ordinance.

General Manager Chapman said he had looked at the ordinance, and it required posting in the Willits News and having a public hearing. It was designed for a declaration prior to June 15, because we have to provide notice to each resident. He said he had discussed with Ron Runberg [the Golf Course operator] the fact that if we lost the surplus of 6-8 acre-feet, he would cut golf course irrigation down from 7 days to 3, and he would do this tomorrow. Mr. Estabrook said in fact there was a 2-acre-foot cushion, but you still have to consider the 2-acre-foot variation in accuracy factor.

Mr. Estabrook said he had concluded that the voluntary water conservation request didn't seem to work, based on usage in June and July. He said getting a peak in June as we did was very bizarre and we are at record levels of water production.

Director Ziady was concerned about the lead time we would need to declare a water emergency. She said she was feeling uncomfortable with what she was hearing and felt we could start the process, even if we didn't complete it. Mr. Estabrook said water rationing was basically what the conservation ordinance was all about; it is a big deal and will affect a lot of people, particularly those who use 1,000 cubic feet a month and up. He said now would be the time to start in order to have a really good effect, but crying wolf could also get a lot of people upset. Director Ziady asked if we had weather projections for the fall; General Manager Chapman said he didn't have that answer. District Counsel Neary voiced we could schedule the hearing right now and notice it. Director Ziady said she would like to see a public hearing scheduled, which could be cancelled. Director Orth said that marijuana growing in the District concerned him because they were using District water for that, and he felt they should be aware they might get cut off, and they should put in tank systems per our ordinance, or irrigation systems.

President Skezas noted in the General Manager report the listing of gallons used by the top five users in July. Mr. Chapman said he had sent courtesy letters out once again asking them to consider what their water use habits were, and some of these were repeat offenders. Ms. Reed asked if the high users were using enough to cause a water emergency; Mr. Chapman said he didn't want to make that statement. Mr. Chapman read the publication and time requirements of Ordinance 122. Mr. Neary said he felt the conservation ordinance was designed to enforce conservation by excessive rates, the goal not being to capture revenue, but to dent the pocketbook of the offenders and motivate them to earn a credit for the charge. At the time of adoption the ordinance complied with existing law. However, he then referred to Jarvis v. Los Angeles and the Bighorn case; the Supreme Court has recently determined that metered usage rates are subject to 218 while connection fees are not. This was prompted by some utilities setting excessive rates and then transferring the excess to their general funds. Mr. Neary expressed his opinion that the significance of that decision was probably not substantial to this District because we have set our water rates based upon the actual costs of providing the service, with a permissible bumper, so our metered water rates are all right, as long as we can demonstrate that the cost to provide the service equals the projected income. But, Mr. Neary said, there was a potential that this healthy rate structure could be argued as being outside of Prop. 218, and a lot of questions could come into play: Is Bighorn retroactive? Does it apply when the money is not transferred to a general fund? Mr. Neary said we might have to go back and develop some rationale for the charges in the ordinance or we could find ourselves with a challenge. Of course, he said, if you're in an emergency and running out of water, you could proceed with the program and allow any lawsuit to run through its 18-month gestation period, but in the long run you could end up finding that our water structure doesn't work.

Director Ziady said we may have to change the conservation ordinance. Mr. Neary said we might trigger the type of challenge that might make the system unavailable for future use. He said he felt the question was whether Bighorn applied retroactively, and said it was unusual for a case that's been around more than five years not to indicate a starting date for its precedent. President Skezas said he would like to review the ordinance in general this winter with the idea of adding some ability to execute the ordinance on an emergency basis. [Note: The ordinance does allow for declaration on an emergency basis at any time of year.]

Mr. Chapman and President Skezas thanked Mr. Estabrook for his report.

5. Ohl Grove Restroom - Approval of construction contract with Clark Construction/Notice to Proceed. General Manager Chapman reviewed the history of this project. This was put out to bid in 2005 but the two bids received the District felt, at the time, were too high. It was then slated for construction by our crew and re-estimated and re-designed to some degree. Now, however, we have reconsidered having this done by the low bidder, Clark Construction. They have reviewed and updated their bid. Two drinking fountains were added for ADA compliance, and they are expensive at about $5,000.00 each. We need to request an advance from the state for construction, Mr. Chapman said, and therefore have brought this issue to the Board for approval. Director Orth moved to approve the award of the contract to construct the restroom, including drinking fountains, to R.J. Clark Construction, for the amount of up to $39,822.00, and to authorize the General Manager to issue the Notice to Proceed. Director Ziady seconded.

An audience participant asked if this had had local bids. Mr. Chapman then reviewed the bid process done in July 2005. President Skezas asked if the bid was the same; Mr. Chapman responded that it was slightly higher, but the ADA water fountains were a significant change. Director Orth said there was over $10,000 in added cost since the low bid, and this was due to the two drinking fountains alone. The audience member asked if those estimated additional costs were being provided by one individual. Mr. Chapman said it was by Clark Construction. The audience member asked if the District's purchasing ordinance allowed making this call without going out to public bid. Mr. Chapman said we could bring this back, but we may not then make the October building deadline.

Director Orth said he didn't think our ordinance specified a timeline. Director Ziady asked if there were a timeline under the grant which required spending the money by a certain time. Mr. Chapman said the primary timeline for construction was set in October to avoid the November rains. Director Orth said the other option would be to take out the fountains from this bid and re-bid them. He said we could re-bid the project, including drinking fountains, but the project cost will probably go up. The audience member said he understood that and was fairly familiar with the way districts operate, especially from a purchasing standpoint, and asked what the purchasing guidelines were.. Mr. Chapman thought this was changed to $25,000.00 by state law SB135 last fall. Director Orth said he would be comfortable with just removing the drinking fountains; he said that way we're staying with the original bid plus its inflation factor. Director Ziady referred to the paving done at the Ohl Grove and how this was combined with another job; she said if you pull out the drinking fountains and have them done separately, it will probably cost more money. Director Orth said you might also argue that since Clark's bid was already on paper, you might get a lower quote from someone else. Mr. Chapman said he was comfortable with pulling the fountains; he said one of our biggest problems was simply getting people to bid due to the fact that since you're working with state funds, prevailing wage applies. Director Orth said we'll have at least this one bidder. Mr. Chapman said we would use due diligence to find other bids on the fountains.

Director Orth made a new motion to approve the award of the contract to construct the restroom, not including the drinking fountains, and to re-bid the fountains, and that the contract to construct the restroom be awarded to R.J. Clark Construction, minus drinking fountains, in the amount of $29,116.00. Director Ziady seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

6. Consideration of ordinance prohibiting resale of District water. Mr. Chapman said this issue has been front and center all summer. He summarized the issue of resale of District water, and he felt that water collected for Brooktrails use should be used in the District only. Director Ziady said the first part of the ordinance was really tied to the moratorium and asked if we wanted to do this, in light of the fact that it might be lifted in the future. District Counsel Neary said that the "whereas" clauses were not part of the regulation. General Manager Chapman pointed out that the actual regulatory provisions were under section 2-212. Director Orth moved to introduce the draft ordinance and schedule a public hearing for adoption for September 12, 2006, with notice of hearing to be posted at three places within the District, and to waive reading of the ordinance and to allow introduction by its title. Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously. District Counsel Neary said he felt a roll-call vote was appropriate, and one was then taken.

Results were as follows:
AYES: Directors: Ziady, Orth, Horrick, Skezas
NOES: Directors: None
ABSENT: Directors: Williams

7. Review and approval of September 9 Community Forum agenda. The proposed agenda was reviewed by General Manager Chapman. He said he would present a report on the water projects. He pointed out the new map of Lake Ada Rose and said we would be looking at raising it to 500 acre-feet. District Counsel Neary said when we made the deal for purchasing Ohl Grove, the Ohls had asked that the dedication ceremony be videotaped. Mr. Chapman said a brass plaque honoring John Ohl had been ordered. Director Ziady said she was hoping to also dedicate the new trails honoring Gloria Harden and Lou LeBrun. Director Ziady moved to approve the proposed agenda; Director Horrick seconded. Director Horrick asked if Richard Estabrook would be part of this meeting. Mr. Chapman said he would be at the following Tuesday meeting. Director Ziady suggested asking him if we could use his charts at the Community Forum meeting. The motion carried unanimously.


From Directors: None.
From District Counsel: None.
From General Manager: General Manager Chapman said he had provided Howard Dashiell, Director of DOT, with the new Lake Ada Rose map. Regarding the rubber spillway, we still needed a price to USDA Rural Development by October 1, 2006. Director Orth asked, regarding the Lake Emily 15' rise issue, what about the ancient slide. Mr. Chapman said he had talked with Rick Sowers, PE, CEG, about this. Mr. Sowers said the only way to confirm was to do the core tests. This would return to the Board in the next couple of weeks. Mr. Sowers suggested that even though a Lake Ada Rose 28' project was going to trump the Lake Emily 15' project, we still need to drill at least two experimental holes at Lake Emily when we do the Lake Ada Rose core tests. This will better equip us to assess the viability of the two projects. Mr. Sowers' caveat was that even if all the drillings passed, the CA Division of Dam Safety could still deny us. Mr. Sowers observed that, at this time, there is no reason to assume that raising Lake Emily 15' is fatal.

The tracer test was successful and we are using less chlorine, maybe as little as a quarter of the former amount. Lastly, Mr. Chapman pointed out the reimbursement of over $21,000.00 received from the State for Brown Act meeting requirements and credited Joanne Cavallari with accomplishing this. Director Orth said you can also file for reimbursement from the state for our LAFCO charges.


Director Horrick moved to adjourn, and Vice-President Horrick declared the meeting of August 22, 2006 closed at 8:22 p.m. and announced there would be a brief closed session after the meeting.

The closed session regarding a personnel issue was postponed to the September 12, 2006 meeting, per advice from General Counsel Chris Neary.



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