RCSD to discount charge to GSD for water during emergency

Sandy Feretto

Redwood Times

There was a quorum of directors of the board present at the regular meeting of the Redway Community Services District board on Sept. 19, though board members Dian Griffith and John Rogers were absent.

Office manager Debra Evans presented the monthly financials. Board member Linda Sutton wondered why the billed amount seems to be consistently higher than what comes in. It seemed to Sutton that if totals were lower one month they would be higher the next month, reflecting the late payments of the previous month. The real question seemed to Sutton to be, how much will the rate increase bring in over the year to meet the district's financial needs?

Board chair Michael McKaskle asked operations manager Ken Dean if he would provide monthly production numbers for the previous year's months so they could compare them to the current year's months. Dean said there is no way to correlate it. He said he has 20 years' worth of data and "it's all over the place." It depends on weather, usage and environmental circumstances, he said.

McKaskle thought that it might help to compare two months of different years of basically the same production to see if they are making markedly more income now. Dean said in the winter months they usually sell between two and three million gallons of water a month and in the summer between nine and 11 million gallons a month.

Dean said leaks have a big effect on production and income amounts. In that case, water is produced that does not generate income.

The board wants to be able to determine if the new rate structure is increasing revenue.

Business manager Debra Evans reported that there are some difficulties with some of the waste water budget data going into the budget report. She estimates another week or two before the waste water budget is ready for the board to go over.

Evans is still pursuing the follow-up to the state water board regarding RCSD's comment letter on the notice of application to divert water to bottle and sell by Shepardgerdes. Evans received acknowledgement that the applicant received the letter, as was required by the state water board. The state board needs to be notified that the applicant received a copy of the letter. It is hoped that will be sufficient to have the letter counted as valid comment on the application by the state water board.

Dean reported that it has been a busy time. He said that the service line near Community Cornerstone had to be repaired again. He said that line is old and getting really bad. It is tied into the service line on Rusk Lane. The whole loop needs to be replaced, Dean said. He said it would be a priority for next year and might be an opportunity to tie-in in front of Shop Smart on the main line. Dean said he had hoped this work would be covered by the recent water project but the funding didn't allow for distribution upgrades other than the storage tank. So the district will have to pay for it.

It might cost about $200,000, Dean said, but it could be done in smaller bundles, getting key aspects as they go along. It is in dire need of replacement he said.

The letter to Mercer-Fraser helped in the matter of the water project manuals still needed by the district to complete the requirements of the contract. The district got notice that Water Works, the project design engineer, has received the literature and the as-built drawings for the project. Dean recently spent some time in a conference call online, going through the scenarios that they have and the pages and screens on the computer. It went well, Dean said.

Dean reported that the waste water treatment block and bearing for the clarifier came apart in pieces. This increased the difficulty that the contractor faced in replacing these items. A mechanic from Arcata was able to field fabricate the change and now it should last 20 years.

Dean reported that the district has not received a recommendation for the water plant valve actuators yet, to replace the new ones that are of faulty design. There are 24 actuators and Dean estimates they cost between $900 and $1,200 each.

Tony Wiedemann, CDPH Klamath district engineer, will perform a final inspection of the water project to see what is going to be required for the district's new permit to treat and purvey water. Right now the district is working under their old permit. There was a question from the board about how Wiedemann could inspect the project without the new actuators, but Dean said this is just a "canvas" inspection.

Dean presented a list of field staff responsibilities. He intends on spending more time in the office coordinating the field data and office data interface, so there will be a slight shift in responsibilities of the field staff. The treatment facility upgrade has freed up staff to focus more on transmission and distribution, water leaks and service lines.

Dean's truck got dinged while he was working for the district. The board agreed to reimburse him for half the cost of the repair.

The board discussed the requirement for the water treatment plant boundaries. McKaskle reported that he and board member Art McClure walked around with the neighbor and came to consensus. The surveyor said he hasn't placed the corners yet. The board needs to find out what the next step in the process is to finalize the boundaries.

McKaskle drafted a letter for the board to review supporting College of the Redwoods removal from "show cause" status.

The district supplied 275,000 gallons to Garberville Sanitary District during GSD's recent water pump failure. The board will bill them for about a quarter of what that amount of water would usually cost at the highest billing tier. The board will send a letter along with the bill to the GSD board recommending that they find some redundancy for their system.

In correspondence, the board received a letter requesting forgiveness for a leak. When someone has a leak, the board has a policy that they can choose to forgive half of the cost of the leak overage on a case-by-case basis, according to circumstances. In this case there were extenuating circumstances. An anonymous donor offered to pay most of the half the customer would have had to pay. The district has a policy that anyone can pay anyone else's bill.

Evans presented another correspondence from the Special District Risk Management board commending RCSD for the staff's commitment to risk management and prevention loss training.

No action was taken in closed session, where the board discussed facility security.

The waste water budget meeting date has not yet been set, but will probably be in about two weeks.

The next regular board meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., the usual time, different week.