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Garberville >> At their board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 23, Garberville Sanitary District board of directors heard from district general manager Ralph Emerson that they will have a full board after the first of the year, due to Humboldt County board appointments, at the district’s request, of members who do not reside in the district. Gary Wellborn and Richard Thompson were appointed to fill the empty seat and replace Bill Stewart when his term is up at the end of the year, and Rio Anderson was reappointed.

The board members at the meeting district’s regular meeting were Anderson, Linda Brodersen, Bill Stewart, and Doug Bryan. Thompson and Wellborn were present at the meeting as members of the public.

Emerson reported that the monthly base rate for water to the Jim DeMulling Veterans Park in Garberville was being paid for by a private citizen who was requesting a waiver.

At their October meeting the board had reviewed a letter from Bruce Barkley for the Veterans for Peace requesting a water service hiatus to the Veterans Park until a plan to deal with the park was met. Barkley’s letter said that the park had not used any water for a year. The board discussed the letter briefly at their October meeting, but did not make a decision then.

“Since then I contacted Steve Dazey who said he is willing to pay the fees for the water,” Emerson said. “The county owns that piece of property and like we talked about earlier, they want to release ownership of that property.”

In response to questions from the board, Emerson characterized the situation as a “bit of a quagmire,” since neither Dazey or the person who had been paying the bill own the property.

Stewart said the water service had been installed for the veterans, who he said were now defunct in terms of money. “So I believe that Steve Dazey has offered to take it over,” Stewart said.

Emerson agreed, saying he thought the county was trying to sell the property.

“Soon as there is a new owner then we’ll clear it all up,” Anderson said, “But until then if he is willing to pay it then we can just wait.”

Emerson and Stillwell said they would talk to Dazey about it.

District operations manager Ron Copenhafer showed some of the board members approximately where the district infrastructure and service lines were in the park property and adjoining properties in the area of the Jim DeMulling Veteran’s Park. He said district easements had already been discussed with the county.

Water bill late policy

The board reviewed and adopted Emerson’s suggested addition of a late payment policy to the district water billing policy. With some slight changes to Emerson’s wording, the board amended their policy to add a $5 late fee for payments received after the 25th of the month. Late payment procedures policy will include a courtesy call and notification of the property owner for bills 30 days past due. Thirty to 35 days past due would cause a one week shut-off notice, and 60 days past due may cause a lien to be placed on the building or property, or instigation of small claims, or collection agency involvement. The plan would allow for the general manager or designee to negotiate a payment plan.

Other business

Bryan told the board about an opportunity for the district to receive fuel reduction work through a grant the county was getting and the board told him to sign the district up for it.

Stillwell reported that replacing the old leaking Alderpoint tank had saved the district $1,302 in electrical costs in its first quarter of use.

The board voted to approve, with Stewart abstaining, a vision and dental insurance plan for district employees at Emerson’s suggestion. The cost for the insurance for the five full time employees would be $4,131 per year, Emerson reported, pointing out that it could be paid for with some of the money saved by the Alderpoint tank replacement.

Stillwell reported that she had attended two trainings for clerks through the California Special Districts Association. She provided the board with some of the information material she had received at the conferences. She said the topics at the trainings included communication, protocol for board communication, record retention, the Brown Act, and policies.

“A lot about policies we don’t have that we’re supposed to have, that they recommend you have,” Stillwell said.

The December board meeting will be a special meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 5 p.m.

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