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24850 Birch Street, Willits, CA 95490

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Board of Directors of Brooktrails Township Community Services District met in regular session May 23, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Brooktrails Community Center.


Roll call showed the following directors present: Ziady, Orth, Horrick and Skezas. Director Williams was absent with notice. Also present were General Manager Chapman and District Counsel Neary.


Director Orth suggested that due to the presence of the election crew in the audience, the polling place item on the Action Agenda should be addressed first, after the special presentation. President Skezas said he wanted more information on the ADA door requirements, but there were some things that could be discussed, not related to the resolution. He continued that there were two precincts in Brooktrails; one precinct had received sample ballots, and they could vote in Willits. The other precinct got requests for mail ballots, and they could vote by mail.

1. May 9, 2006. Director Orth asked that the phrase in the last paragraph on page 3679 be changed to reflect the fact that it was not true that we could store water from a project such as the Dos Rios project behind our dam. On the last page, next to last line of Public Comments, he asked that the term "County agencies" be replaced with the term "state-mandated commissions." He moved to approve the minutes as so amended; Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

2. Dr. Marvin Trotter, Mendocino County Public Health Officer – Avian Flu. Dr. Trotter said the 1918 flu epidemic that killed 50 million worldwide was an avian flu, and that was the reason for the concern. The good news is that this flu is not happening in wild migratory flocks as expected, and there have been very few cases this year in parts of Asia. Large commercial flocks of chickens are a significant source of exposure. The flu killed about 50% of those it infected regardless of age and is very virulent and classified as an H5-N1 strain. Every year it mutates, and if it mutates to a form easily transmissible among people, you would have a large problem. The vaccines are very hard to make. He referred to the sites and for more information. Dr. Trotter said eating raw eggs might be a problem but eating chicken is not.

Dr. Trotter continued that the public health department can respond to an epidemic for about three days before they are overwhelmed. He predicted some disaster will happen at some time, and said we should have a generalized emergency plan rather than a specific one. Individuals and families should be prepared with disaster supplies. The public health department is coming up with a plan where most of the County's population can be vaccinated within about 5 days.

Director Orth asked about picking up dead birds, regarding West Nile virus. Dr. Trotter said he saw no reason to pick them up. He said West Nile is a big deal for persons over 50 and is not a disease of children in school. A mixture of eucalyptus and lemon sold under the name "Repel" has been found to be as good as DEET as a repellent. He urged that DEET not be put on children as it will harm their neurological systems.

Director Orth noted that the mutation to human-to-human transmission is beginning and Dr. Trotter agreed but said it is not common. Dr. Trotter said there will only be vaccine for 20%, and once you treat first responders (police, fire, etc.), you've used your 20%.

Dr. Trotter then announced a public insurance program where a family of four can make up to $60,000 a year and their children can be insured under Blue Cross for $10.00 a month for medical, dental and visual. The telephone number is 463-KIDS.

President Skezas thanked Dr. Trotter for his presentation.

3. Richard Estabrook – Summer Water Report / Preliminary Projection. Director Orth commented that our current light rains are meaningless overall. If we don't get any more rain, at least an inch in a day or two, there is a potential for a very long dry season this year. However, he felt there was a good possibility that we would get this rain, as we did last year.

Changes this year in the projection are predicated on what the Fish & Game bypass requirements will be: 15 cfs (cubic feet / second) from September 1 to March 1; the May bypass requirement is going from 1.5 fps up to 5 cfs. Right now we're at around 2.5 cfs so it's not an issue for us this year. The water recovery project at the water plant will add a small amount of water. Mr. Chapman said this amounted to 1 acre-foot a month. Director Orth stressed that the Fish & Game requirements offer the alternative of actual natural flow for the bypass amount, and now we can measure that. Mr. Estabrook said another change this year is the new bypass meter, which is working really well. Mr. Chapman said he was going to contact the top 2% of water users and send them a courtesy letter this June about conserving water.

Mr. Estabrook also commented that big events like the New Year's storm deposit a lot of silt into the lake, decreasing its capacity. He said his projection is slightly conservative and uses a three-year average. The graph goes on to December 31 with a projection for that date of 37 acre-feet. He said he was not making any recommendations because he expected we would get more rain in June. He said he would return to the Board if he finds reason for action later, as more data collects. President Skezas, in a spirit of good humor, said that when fawns are born in May, a wet winter follows, and that was happening this year.



3. Review of Accounts Payable report and authorization to issue checks. Director Orth moved to authorize payment of the accounts payable; Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

4. Authorization to issue checks, Clearwell project. Director Orth moved to authorize payment of the Clearwell checks; Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

10. Community Center – Dedicated Use as Polling Place. General Manager Chapman said the request for three days' reservation of the Center pertained to the need for machine security on the day before the election; the day after resulted from the event last year of a renter coming in and saying that the Center had not been cleaned. Director Ziady asked what the security requirements were and President Skezas said they were putting the machines in the locked office. He said the County has been paying $50.00 to BPOA per each of the two precincts. Director Orth proposed that we continue to accept those payments to go toward cleaning of the facility. President Skezas said their cleaning people normally come in every Monday night, and on Election Day they could simply come in on Tuesday night instead. President Skezas asked if there was anything in writing from Marsha Wharff about what needed to be done to the facility to make it more accessible. He said he had met with Anne Holden from the County for an accessibility inspection in February, and he had walked through with her and thought we were OK. Then, after it was too late to do anything about it, the word came by phone. Director Orth said he had heard about it from Marsha Wharff at a meeting and he had then called Mr. Chapman.

Mr. Chapman said the only thing the County focused on was the front door, which had 15 pounds pull instead of the required 5 pounds pull. He said we were having a very difficult time finding a preset ADA door. He recently talked with Round Tree Glass which does have experience with ADA doors. (We still do not have a price on this). The advantage to glass was that a wheelchair person could see what was on the other side. President Skezas said he was concerned that once we did the front door, they would start on the other doors, such as the sliding glass doors, and he wanted to know now about these before commitment. He further iterated that the County had presumed that he did not want them here, but he never gave them that impression; he noted there were a number of polling places affected and not just Brooktrails. President Skezas said he fully supported having the Center as an election site. The matter will return to the Board.

6. Consideration of paving Ohl Grove entryway and four parking spaces. General Manager Chapman said he reviewed that the proposal to pave four parking spaces at the Ohl Redwood Park, as well as the entryway which was a County requirement. Director Ziady explained that the Greenbelt Committee was concerned about handicap access to the park and about the trees. Mike Aplet had come up with a plan to push the entrance of the park in about 50 feet, and to create one handicap parking space and three other spaces. There would still be no driving inside the park. Discussion followed that we are doing it this way to combine it with the other paving work for a cost saving. District Counsel Neary said you would need to sole source this to this particular contractor with a finding that it is being done that way to achieve a potential cost saving. Director Orth said he would move to make that finding and to approve the change to the Ohl Grove Phase II planning to include paved parking at the main entrance to the Ohl Grove, and to achieve a reduced cost by combining this project with the existing water plant project, and said that a finding should be attached to the motion as to accepting the estimate by Duran Construction. Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously. District Counsel Neary said we should check that this price will still hold as there has been a substantial increase in asphalt prices since the bid date of May 8, 2006. Director Orth then moved that since this increase would have to be factored in by all potential bidders, we will accept a change in price caused by the increase, at the General Manager's discretion. Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

7. Consideration of policy presented by Mendocino County Planning & Building regarding completion of a service connection clearance form prior to County issuance of a building permit. General Manager Chapman said he felt Planning & Building had proposed this procedure because they had to be very certain that a water service connection existed before permitting construction (and typically we issue a letterhead confirmation of a service). Mr. Chapman said his concern was that Planning & Building may be assuming that the District bears responsibility for sewer inspection past the connection in the street. President Skezas suggested that the phrase "clears the building/plumbing permit" on the proposed form be replaced with a phrase that the District certifies a water and sewer connection is present. Director Orth said that the LAFCO municipal service review (MSR) process was driving the initiative. Development pressures were coming up in the County and he felt this was a liability disclosure issue, because the MSR process is meant to disclose to the public the condition of water, sewer and fire resources in the County. It will help determine the need for community sizes and future infrastructure. He gave the example of a County approving a subdivision within the Redwood Valley Water District allowing for wells which became problematic; now when single-family homes are approved within water districts, capacity must be confirmed. He moved to authorize the General Manager to forward comments and suggestions in response to the proposed clearance policy, including President Skezas' comment, and regarding the phrase in the County's letter, "Projects that are supplied water by a private well or rely upon a septic system would not be subject to the above policy," that the District comment on the need to ensure that those parcels are not within a service provider's district. He also said we needed to add requirements to add all low-flush toilets and fixtures with any permit. Director Ziady seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

8. LAFCO Protest Letter. General Manager Chapman said his issue was not the mission of LAFCO, but the general observation of how LAFCO's budget has increased in the past five or six years. He said he felt LAFCO had an obligation to tell the state that there were ramifications to the one-third support from counties, cities, and districts formula, and consequences to the districts, such as ours, were unproportionately dramatic. Director Orth commented on the suggestion that he recuse himself due to his dual position with LAFCO and the District. He said he had consulted with District Counsel Neary, and clarified that he was an independent commissioner for LAFCO and once sworn, must represent all districts and not just his originating district. He felt we have a good protest as to the way revenues are considered for the LAFCO formula because, unlike most jurisdictions, we have done our Specific Plan and are engaged in projects. We generated loans to do our recent project, but the LAFCO formula taxes us for a percentage every time we raise funds to do a project. He said he believed we should approach our legislators to state that projects should not be considered in the LAFCO formula. He said, for example, when we raise funds to raise the dam, those funds would become subject to the LAFCO formula and that isn't fair or reasonable. The hospital district which used to pay the lion's share of the districts' part of LAFCO, refused to pay its share and got special legislation exempting it until it is in the black. Director Orth then referred to his hand-out material discussing why the LAFCO budget has gone up. He said the local LAFCO was hiring an actual employee, not a consultant, to work on the MSR process. He stressed that our paying the LAFCO cost was not voluntary. He said that rollovers in the budget are actually mandated for LAFCO and this offsets costs of the following year. Director Orth said he believed this LAFCO was the most cost-efficient in the state currently.

Director Orth listed various reorganization projects LAFCO is currently overseeing in the County. He said there was no doubt Brooktrails is paying the lion's share among the district assessments for LAFCO. He said for $10,000.00 we will be getting quite a bit of service; it would have been easy for LAFCO to hire an outside consultant and charge us for it. Mr. Chapman asked whether there was any limit to the amount of reserves LAFCO can build up, now currently about 45% of their budget. Director Orth said no, there was no limit, and if there were ever a lawsuit, the reserves would disappear. He said that all annexations have been stopped until the MSRs are done, so developers cannot annex into the city, nor can EIRs be done. Mr. Chapman reiterated that LAFCO needed to remind somebody up the ladder about the inequity of who pays for what. He said it's $11,000.00 now, next year it might be $13,000.00, and we've already paid $34,000.00 into LAFCO and he saw no end to this unfunded mandate. He asked for comments on his draft letter.

Director Ziady agreed that LAFCO was both important and unfair and she felt it was reasonable for us to state it was unfair and to take issue with the formula. Director Horrick said he agreed with sending a letter. General Manager Chapman said he would remove the remark in his draft about LAFCO's passive acceptance; he further added that Director Orth had a valid point regarding projects and he would like to add something about that. Director Orth said LAFCO had tried to lobby against the formula with little reaction; it doesn't mean they wouldn't readdress it, and he felt that the recent water project cost tax upped our share even more, taxing us for fulfilling the mandate for infrastructure. President Skezas asked if the project taxing was mandated or if this was how LAFCO was using the formula. Director Orth said an individual county can change the formula, with the agreement of all parties. Mr. Chapman said he would attend the June 5th LAFCO budget meeting. It was agreed that the Board president would review the letter. Director Orth so moved; Director Horrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

9. Consideration of annual appropriations limit for FY 2006-07. General Manager Chapman reviewed that this is done annually as mandated by the State Constitution. Director moved to adopt Resolution 2006-16 setting the appropriations limit at $2,446,515.00 for Fiscal Year 2006-07. Director Horrick seconded. In answer to a question, General Manager Chapman clarified that this appropriations limit related to ad valorem tax and excluded enterprise funds. Roll call vote was as follows:

AYES: Directors: Ziady, Orth, Horrick, Skezas
NOES: Directors: None
ABSENT: Directors: Williams

10. Already discussed and to return to Board.

11. Consideration of a tree ordinance for the illegal cutting of trees. General Manager Chapman described the recent clear-cut which was done after the Fire Prevention Officer specifically ruled that the trees were healthy. He requested ideas on how to set up a fining mechanism. Director Ziady responded by saying that sedimentation affected the watershed as a whole and the community. She wondered if we could fine, and if there were an appeal process; if we can't fine or they choose not to pay the fine, can we say that we will block the County permits for them, or place a lien on their property. She said she guessed that since these were redwoods somebody probably cut them for nothing. Director Orth said he would like to see a Heritage Tree and Watershed Protection ordinance, and that this was requested in the Specific Plan. He said we can define within such an ordinance the legal structure to be able to intervene when trees are being cut outside our process. We can amend and improve it over time and put in the kind of managerial tools we need for enforcement.

Director Horrick said maybe we need to rectify this with the need to reduce fire danger. There seems to be a conflict between the CDF clearing guidelines and our restrictions on what people can eliminate. Something should be cleared up so that residents know what they can do. General Manager Chapman clarified for President Skezas that the trees in the current clear-cut were removed for expansion of a deck, and he had to check whether plans had been submitted for that deck project. President Skezas asked for a legal opinion on what we can do. Director Orth said CDF exempted large mature trees from their standards, and that our hazard abatement program does not justify removing commercial-sized trees (which should to be trimmed up, not removed). Director Ziady said the Fire Department was quite reasonable regarding tree-cutting; Jon Noyer had given her a permit to remove one overhanging her house. Mr. Chapman said Bob Axt was looking for a balance between ambiance and watershed protection, and while he wouldn’t let you take all the trees out, he would let you take out clumps here and there, and was very reasonable.



From Directors: None.

From District Counsel: District Counsel Neary said he corresponded with FASIS as requested by the Board, but had not received a response. Also he had provided information to General Manager Chapman on the new draft sewage discharge requirements by the state, with a fairly significant fee structure which would be a per-customer, per-month surcharge, he thought it would be from $3.50 to $12.00 per customer. Director Ziady said the state wanted the district to do the collection of these fees for them, and that this was a kind of a second tax since you've already bonded for these projects. Director Orth asked if the funds were going to be redistributed to upgrade sewer facilities. Discussion followed that it would go to regulation. Director Orth asked that at the next meeting the General Manager and Mr. Neary prepare a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board. Mr. Chapman said he felt the next meeting would be too soon due to the Gitlin matter and budget issues. Counsel Neary said he thought there was 90 days.

From General Manager: General Manager Chapman said the Hibbs pot farm had been voluntarily cleared out after several meetings with Mr. Hibbs and various staff members, and in particular, Lily Phoenix. Mr. Chapman's main concern had been the prospect of water being taken from a nearby fire hydrant. President Skezas asked if seals could be put on fire hydrants to prevent theft or indicate tampering. Mr. Chapman said staff was already looking into that. On another matter he said he was investigating buying a used chlorine monitor. He also reported that he went to an energy conference with Brian Weller which focused on the price of fossil fuels. The long-range prospect for Brooktrails, particularly in the airport area, would be to look to solar power for the water pumps, and the need to get the water plant as self-sufficient as possible. The tennis courts would serve as an ideal spot as they are 300' away and in full sun for most of the year, and could provide space for a panel system. Director Ziady said there was some financing available for projects like this, and agreed with the concept, particularly in case of emergencies so the water plant could be kept running. Director Orth said that the REVIT-ED Committee of WELL, if they are interested, might be a good place for complete information and perhaps even for design. Lobbying and negotiations with DUT are also important.

Bob Terry, President of Brooktrails CERT, commented about emergency preparedness in general, as a tie-in to the potential avian flu.

Director Horrick moved to adjourn, and President Skezas declared the meeting of May 23, 2006 closed at 8:55 p.m.



Secretary to the Board of Directors

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