The Redway Community Services District has rescinded two resolutions from their September meeting amending existing water and wastewater ordinances. Resolution 13-14-2, which approved a number of fee-changes (RCSD doubles fees, Redwood Times, Sept. 23, 2013) was left in place but Resolutions 13-14-1 and 13-14-3 had to be struck down. Chairperson Michael McKaskle stated that recently discovered regulations contradict advice from the district's attorney which had been received at an earlier date, and that the move was necessary due to procedural errors.
"It's really unfortunate when the state of California makes changes to their regulations because the burden falls to us to find those changes. They don't notify special districts," said operations manager Ken Dean. "Larger communities have attorneys on staff that look out for their well being. Smaller districts have managers that try to do the best that we can."
As a result of recent developments, there were questions about which parties were responsible for ensuring that procedural requirements would be met in the future. The board now plans to review the district's personnel policy and job descriptions with an eye towards clarifying each position's responsibilities.
"We need more board training," McKaskle said in response to questions about how the district plans to avoid these mistakes in the future.
Operations manager Ken Dean's own job description will also be reviewed, due to new state regulations requiring a wastewater operator with a grade 3 certification or higher. Dean is a grade 2 wastewater operator, but he has recently announced plans to vacate his position and relocate out of the area in late 2014.
Dean recommended that his successor's job description be adapted from one recently selected by the Garberville Sanitary District, as the GSD is subject to the same new state regulations. He is also looking into reconfiguring the documentation process in a way that allows the district to reclassify itself under less stringent rules without having to change operations at the wastewater plant.
"It's kind of sneaky when you read the regulations," Dean said. "The type of treatment that we do can be classified under five different processes depending on how you handle the solids."
Two of Dean's subordinates have recently earned their grade 2 certifications, and may now be eligible to pursue grade 3. There are also contractors in the area that can be retained on contract.
Though increases on fees imposed by the RCSD have already been adopted, a public hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. to allow customers an opportunity to protest proposed rate increases (RCSD issues notice of increasing rates to owners and residents, Redwood Times, Oct. 8, 2013). This process is governed by Proposition 218, passed by California voters in 1996, which requires official written protest from a majority of property owners within the district's geographical boundaries in order to stop the rate increase.