The Board of Directors of Brooktrails Township Community Services District
met in regular session on May 25, 1999 at 7:00 p.m. in the Brooktrails Community Center.
A. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
B. ROLL CALL
Roll call showed the following Directors present: Eads, Estabrook, Orth and Skezas. Also present were General Manager Williams and District Counsel Neary.
C. ADDITIONS/ ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
D. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
May 11, 1999
Director Orth moved to approve the minutes of May 11th as written, seconded by Director Eads. Motion passed unanimously by the members present.
May 18, 1999
Director Orth moved to approve the minutes of May 18th as written, seconded by Director Eads. Motion passed unanimously by the members present.
E. PUBLIC COMMENTS
F. SPECIAL PRESENTATION
2. CONSIDERATION OF ANNUAL AUDIT OF SOLID WASTES OF WILLITS, INC.
Deferred until the arrival of Jerry Ward.
G. ACTION AGENDA
3. CONTINUED CONSIDERATION OF A PROPOSED ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE PROTECTION OF BROOKTRAILS REDWOOD PARK BY PROVIDING FOR REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE CONDUCT OF DESIGNATED OFFICERS AND REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 64, AND SCHEDULING A PUBLIC HEARING FOR JUNE 8, 1999.
General Manager Williams stated that since the last discussion held at the May 11th meeting, the proposed Firearms Policy had been sent to both Lieutenant Tom Allman of the County Sheriff's Department, and the District's liability insurance carrier for review. Also, Fire Chief Thomen has been in contact with the District Attorney's office and has been assured that if citations are issued by Brooktrails Designated Officers the DA's office will enforce them. The two main issues raised were the ability to issue citations, and the authorization for the Fire Chief and the Fire Prevention Officer to carry concealed weapons for personal protection.
District Counsel Neary provided material to the Board members describing the criteria used for issuing concealed weapons permits. He explained that the issuance of a concealed weapons permit is a political issue, as opposed to a legal one. The only legal prerequisites are that the person be a resident of the County and that they complete the required training. The Sheriff then must determine if the person is of good moral character and if good cause exists.
Note: Director Whitney arrived at 7:10 p.m.
Lieutenant Tom Allman took the podium. He stated that the Sheriff has asked the County Counsel for an opinion on the legality of an on-duty governmental employee using a concealed weapon for personal protection, which may take some time to receive. He assured the Board that the amount of faith the Sheriff's office has in the Brooktrails Fire Department is unequivocal, and that they are very much aware of their law enforcement obligations to the District.
Director Eads expressed his feelings that although Fire Departments and Police Departments work together, each has their own area of expertise.
With regards to the wording of the concealed weapons permit, Director Whitney asked if the statement "concealed upon the person" meant only on their body, or if it allowed the weapon to be concealed within a vehicle. Lt. Allman explained that concealing the weapon in a vehicle is allowed.
Director Estabrook voiced his concerns that the proposed ordinance authorizes the Designated Officers to "arrest", yet the discussions to date indicate that they would be issuing "citations". Lt. Allman clarified that issuing a citation is a form of arrest, even though the violator is not physically taken to jail.
Director Orth noted that the action taken by this Board will set a precedent for other Fire Districts in the County who are faced with similar enforcement issues. He wanted to assure that this is not just a political decision, but that it is a coordinated effort to address the needs of the Fire Departments throughout the rural areas of the County.
President Skezas asked Fire Prevention Officer Daryl Schoeppner, who was present in the audience, if he felt comfortable issuing citations without a weapon. Mr. Schoeppner replied that he would not want to approach people alone, in a remote area of the District with a badge and a citation book without personal protection.
President Skezas felt that if the Fire Department officers are asked to enforce the Ordinances of the District, and issue citations, they should carry weapons. Because the Board is now aware that both officers want to carry a firearm, and have concealed weapons permits, it is up to the Board to establish a policy setting the rules and regulations, provided that the legal opinion from the County Counsel determines that it is legal for them to do so in the scope of their employment.
Director Whitney asked the General Manager if the District is covered under its liability insurance for employees to carry a concealed weapon. General Manager Williams confirmed that he had discussed the proposed Firearms policy with SDRMA who has confirmed that this situation is not excluded. Director Whitney then moved to waive further reading, introduce Ordinance 110, and schedule a public hearing for June 8th, 1999, as recommended by staff.
Director Estabrook continued to stress that he had many concerns. He felt the Ordinance implied that the Designated Officers should act as peace officers, and also felt that the philosophy of the Firearms Policy was not written strongly enough. He would like it stated that the officers would not respond to a situation that they would not have responded to unarmed.
Director Whitney suggested changes to Section 3. of the Ordinance which he felt would clarify the duties of the officers.
District Counsel Neary explained that he had worded Section 3. to give guidance to the Designated Officers as to what their responsibilities and rights are under the Ordinance. He explained that using the term "misdemeanor" would include "infractions" and "arrest", as explained by Lt. Allman, would include "cite".
Director Estabrook again asked that the Board continue to work on the wording of these documents prior to scheduling a public hearing, and suggested that Board
members submit written comments to the General Manager outlining their concerns.
Lt. Allman suggested the use of pepper spray as an effective alternative to a firearm.
Director Whitney then withdrew his motion, and Board members decided to bring the matter back at the June 8th meeting, after they have provided additional input as to the language of the Ordinance and Firearms Policy, and have received the legal opinion from the County Counsel.
F. SPECIAL PRESENTATION (Deferred from earlier in the meeting)
2. CONSIDERATION OF ANNUAL AUDIT OF SOLID WASTES OF WILLITS, INC.
General Manager Williams pointed out that the District does discount the franchise fee for the expense of the collection of the District's solid waste, and the charge for this year was within a few dollars of the previous year.
Jerry Ward, president of Solid Waste of Willits, came forward. He reviewed two letters sent to the District, copies of which were included in the Board packet, that outlined the franchise fees for 1998 and summarized additional information required by the franchise agreement.
He explained that Solid Wastes of Willits operates three franchise agreements, one with the City of Willits, one with the County of Mendocino and one with the Brooktrails Township, and described the subdivisions within each one. Expenses for each franchise are allocated on a truck hour percentage basis, with the exception of three direct expenses which are bad debts, franchise fees and dump fees.
General Manager Williams pointed out that the Brooktrails figures were on page 25 of the audit, showing a loss of $798 for the year.
Director Whitney asked if consideration was given to wear & tear, due to the terrain of the District. Mr. Ward stated that expense allocations are based only on truck hours, not terrain.
Director Estabrook asked for clarification of the calculation of the franchise fee, and was told that the fee is based on revenues collected, not billed, so bad debts are subtracted from revenues prior to the calculation. He also asked if they keep track of the amount of material recycled in Brooktrails. Mr. Ward explained that because it is more efficient for them to have one driver pick up both the City of Willits and Brooktrails, and difficult to separate and weigh the recycled materials, the recycling sales figure is based on a percentage of the customer base.
Director Estabrook then asked for an explanation as to why the allocations for the expenses are different, if they are all based on truck hours, as this would be essential information to determine when a rate increase for Brooktrails would be necessary. Mr. Ward was unsure how the percentages were calculated, and offered to research the matter with the auditor and respond back to the Board.
Director Orth noted that the Ukiah landfill would be closing soon, and the costs for the other disposal options are cheaper, indicating that the District is contributing to the closing costs of the landfill. He reported to Mr. Ward that a resident had complained to him about problems with the pick up of recycling bins in a cul-de-sac, which apparently was due to lack of turning space for the truck. Mr. Ward was unaware of the problem and assured the Board that if a customer has a complaint about the service, a call to their office will solve the problem.
President Skezas asked if recycling service is provided only to paid customers of garbage pick up service. Mr Ward confirmed that this is the case, however, if a paying customer decides to self-haul and has recycle bins, they will continue to provide recycling service. He explained the problems they have with providing recycling bins, which are expensive, not as durable as they should be, and are often taken when a resident relocates. He reported that the recycling center is continuing to accept electronics free of charge.
President Skezas noted that the audit had been received and filed.
BREAK at 8:39 p.m.
RECONVENE at 8:44 p.m.
4. BUDGET WORKSHOP - THIRD BUDGET WORKSHOP TO REVIEW THE FINANCIAL PLANS FOR THE 1999-2000 FISCAL YEAR.
In response to concerns raised at the May 18th meeting about alternatives for the Fire Department Budget, General Manager Williams provided 3 sets of possible options for the Board's review, the original plan, Option 1, and Option 2.
Option 1 moves funding for the Fire Department personnel out of Active Use into the Fire Department, resulting in reserves of $23,010 in the General Fund, and a reduction in expenses for Active Use from $43,340 to $24,790, however the Fire Department would have a deficit of $14,680.
Option 2 establishes a new Ambulance Service Budget under the General Fund, moving $15,000 in service fees and $32,630 in expenses from the Fire Department to the General Fund, resulting in a reserve in the Fire Fund of $1,610, and a substantial decrease in reserves in the General Fund. As it is, the Ambulance is subsidized by funds from Fire Tax.
Director Orth voiced his support for Option 2, as it provided information which could be presented to the public demonstrating that the ambulance is a service added since the passage of the Special Fire Tax. It has been a drain to the Fire Budget, but a necessary service worthy of funding. However, funding the Ambulance out of the General Fund is only a temporary solution.
Director Eads asked for a future agenda item to address the funding of Ambulance Service after the Budget for the upcoming fiscal year is finalized.
President Skezas pointed out that even with Option 2, the Fire Department Budget will be out of balance again after the next fiscal year. Therefore, the Board must decide whether to hold an election to establish a separate Ambulance Tax and an increase of the Fire Tax, or combine Fire and Ambulance services together and elect to raise the existing tax sufficiently to cover both.
After a discussion concerning the provisions of Proposition 218, Board members decided to review the options and discuss the Fire Department Budget again at the June 8th meeting.
Moving on to the Five Year Capital Improvement Plan Update, General Manager Williams reviewed the anticipated revenues and funds available for capital projects. Major items discussed included upgrades to the Water System, Sewer System, Fire Department and Golf Course. In response to an inquiry from Director Whitney, he explained the proposed test well suggested as a back-up and alternative water source.
5. CONSIDERATION OF ENGAGEMENT LETTER FROM TERRY E. KRIEG, CPA TO CONDUCT ANNUAL AUDIT AND RELATED MATTERS FOR THE 1998-99 FISCAL YEAR.
General Manager Williams reported that Mr. Krieg had conducted the annual audit for the District for the past four fiscal years, and had lowered his cost for the upcoming year by $500. Director Orth moved to authorize the President to sign the engagement letter, seconded by Director Whitney. Director Eads pointed out that the Board previously agreed that after five years a request for proposal would be done. A vote on the motion was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
6. CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION ACCEPTING DONATION OF ONE LOT ON SALMON PLACE FROM ROBERT AND HELEN STEIN.
Director Orth moved to approve Resolution No. 1999-18, a Resolution Accepting Donation of One Lot on Salmon Place from Robert and Helen Stein, seconded by Director Estabrook. The vote on the motion was as follows:
AYES: Directors: Eads, Whitney, Estabrook, Orth, Skezas
NOES: Directors: None
ABSENT: Directors: None
Resolution No. 1999-18 adopted.
G. SPECIAL REPORTS - THE GENERAL MANAGER.
i. Significant Correspondence received since last meeting:
1. A letter had been received from Bruce Burton, Dept. of Health Services, Drinking Water Field Operations Branch. A draft letter of response outlining re-roofing of the tanks was approved by the Board.
2. A letter from FEMA concerning revisions to regulations pertaining to insurance in disaster assistance programs was reviewed.
v. Possible upcoming agenda items
H . PUBLIC COMMENTS
Director Orth moved to adjourn and President Skezas declared the meeting of May 25, 1999 closed at 10:10 p.m.
PAUL A. WILLIAMS
Secretary to the Board of Directors
GEORGE C. SKEZAS