Garberville raises connection fees

Garberville >> Garberville Sanitary District heard a report from their general manager, raised connection fees, and voted on a loan for the Alderpoint water tank replacement project at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Present at the meeting were board president, Rio Anderson, and members Bill Stewart, Linda Brodersen, and Doug Bryan, in addition to district staff and three members of the public.

At a previous meeting, the board had considered raising the water connection fee from $1,000 to $8,000 and the sewer connection fee from $1,000 to $8,000. At the meeting last Tuesday they voted on the resolutions to raise the connection fees and adopted the wording of the ordinance changes.

Alderpoint tank loan

District project manager Jennie Short, on speakerphone, updated the board on her research into a loan to fund the Alderpoint water storage tank replacement project that is nearing completion. Through June 30 of this year the district had spent $343,000 on the project, which was budgeted for $726,000.

The district had previously considered borrowing $500,000 in a 10-year loan from CoBank of Colarado, but found the terms onerous. They had also considered a $500,000 five-year loan from RCAC (Rural Community Assistance Corporation), with slightly higher interest rates but with less stipulations, which would have much higher yearly payments due to the shorter loan term.

Emerson pointed out that the tank could be paid for with district reserves, but Short said other district purchases and obligations had to be considered. Short presented a chart with several configurations of loan options, and the board voted to borrow $250,000 from RCAC for five years, which would lower yearly payments to close to what they would have paid for the larger and longer-term CoBank loan.

In an update on the Alderpoint water tank replacement project, Emerson said that the contractors, RSH, were a little bit behind schedule, but that the project was nearing completion.

Open board seats

District general manager Ralph Emerson said that three people have expressed interest in the three board seats that will be open in January. Bill Stewart’s term ends at the end of the year, but he declined to run again, and Rio Anderson’s term ends, but he no longer lives in the district, a requirement for signing up to run on the ballot. There has been an empty seat on the board for several years.

Emerson said that three people, who do not live in the district, Gary Wellborn, Rio Anderson, and Richard Thompson, have applied for the open seats, which will now require Humboldt County Board of Supervisors appointment. If all three are appointed by the board of supervisors, the district will have a full five member board.

Emerson reported that he had been researching the process for board appointments.

General manager’s report

In his general manager’s report, Emerson told the board that the Southern Humboldt Community Park board is still dissatisfied with the gate arrangement after a tree fell on the previous gate to the eastern park road that also goes to the private road to Buck Mountain Ranch and where the new GSD water treatment plan has been situated.

The gate to the private Buck Mountain Road was used to replace the old gate at the entrance to the park road. Emerson had suggested moving the gate south, beyond the water treatment plant (which has its own fence and gate), but the park board had not wanted to do that, he said. The district shared one third of the cost (with the park board and Bob McKee) to move the gate to its present location.

Emerson reported that due to the high traffic on the road up to Buck Mountain Ranch, the park board now wants the district to share the cost of a solar powered key-pad lock for the gate, which the park board said is often left open. Emerson reported that the park wants the district to share a third of the cost, estimated by the park board to be about $10,000.

Emerson also reported that during a power outtage the district’s raw water generator came on as designed but would not shut off because the voltage was high from PG&E. He said a PG&E service man told him the voltage was within PG&E limits and would require monitoring over a period, which might be months, meaning that the generator would have to be run indefinitely. Emerson said that after he went to the PG&E office to file a complaint and have the district’s attorney send a letter to demand back pay for any costs incurred, the same service man, who happened to be in the office, assured Emerson he would check it again. Within an hour, Emerson reported, the problem was fixed.

Emerson said he was approached to apply for board membership of the CSDA (California Services District Association). The board gave him permission to go ahead.