Redway Water News–Pay Raise for General Manager, A Possible Rate Increase, and More
Customer Assistance Program Suggested
Highlights of the meeting include the District’s Administrative Aide presented the idea of a Customer Assistance Program borrowed from Paradise CA in Butte County. Under the CAP program, customers who qualify for PG&E’s CARE program would get a $10/month discount offset by property taxes. Most of the RCSD Board liked the idea, but Board Member Michael McKaskle wants to see the $7,300.00 annual reduction in revenue penciled into the 2017/2018 budget that is currently being developed.
Another highlight was the $6.00 an hour raise the General Manager received. Board Members McKaskle, Sutton and Griffin voted to approve the pay increase. McClure abstained and Kinder was absent. This represents about an 18% increase and about $9,000 a year depending on the number of hours worked. The raise is retroactive back to December of 2016. The Board noted that when this General Manager retires, the salaries generally needed to attract talented help are much higher than this District has been paying. No one mentioned how this will affect the budget or how it will impact RCSD’s ability to pay for the many large infrastructure projects that have been looming for three years now.
The Board has already completed the Proposition 218 process and can legally raise rates beginning in December with an Ordinance vote. The Board made note to have that item on the agenda in November so that it has been heard and can have a second hearing in December.
The District has just begun to gain traction toward planning for their needed infrastructure projects which include increasing the capacity of both the water and sewage treatment facilities, increasing the fire flow availability in the Meadows Business Park, repairing a distribution line that was damaged in a landslide in the winter three years ago, and increasing the RCSD water supply by bringing the “unnamed spring” back into production.
Movement toward bringing the spring back into the District’s water supply has occurred. RCSD obtained a lot line adjustment and the District has purchased a small piece of the neighboring property to provide an asement for the Spring’s water treatment equipment. That property belonged to a family trust, and one beneficiary of that trust is Boardmember Art McClure’s wife. Mr. McClure recused himself from all business dealing with the “unnamed spring” before this night’s conversation.
The next step toward bringing the spring back as a water source for RCSD is getting the permits in order. General Manager, John Rogers, will work with Stillwater Sciences to assess the spring, its source, and the supply it provides to the waterfall down to the South Fork Eel near Redway Beach. Boardmember McClure says he has watched the waterfall before and after the RCSD abandoned use of the Spring 8 or 9 years ago and says the flow at the waterfall did not change much. McClure asserts that there are more tributaries feeding the waterfall than this spring.
New Services are Rationed
General Manager John Rogers presented a flow chart for New Service applications. All new projects that hope to receive water and sewer service from RCSD must pay an application fee of $880. District staff then assesses whether there is system capacity to serve the applicant’s project. Some projects will be put on a waiting list for the future when capacity has increased. Smaller projects may be allowed service in the present.
If RCSD determines the District has sufficient capacity for an applicant’s project, the District will provide the applicant with a “will serve” letter. At that time, the applicant provides a detailed project application with engineered plans and pays a deposit to the District. After an agreement between the applicant and the District has been signed, the applicant pays the $12,448 New Services Connection Fee and may begin construction if all other needed permits are in order. The water services connection fee covers the sewer connection fee as well.
All Units Need Metered
During discussion of the new services application process, the Board and staff re-confirmed that during all site inspections (which may occur when a property passes to a new owner, at any service visit, and during any visits with regard to new service connections) the staff will be looking for auxillary units that are receiving water from the RCSD without a separate meter and base rate. RCSD wants all units on a property to have a separate meter with a separate base rate. This amounts to about 83.50 bill per unit before water has been delivered or used. Additionally, the District says expects all land owners with auxiliary units to pay the New Connection Service Fee as well as time and materials for installing the lateral lines and the meters. The District is currently composing an Amnesty Letter to all customers offering half off of these costs if the work is finished within a specified timeline.
Cooperation with Garberville Sanitary District
The General Manager and Board Chair of RCSD plan to meet soon with the General Manager and Board Chair of the GSD in the coming month. The RCSD Board is interested in GSD’s proposal of sharing staff during emergencies, collaboration on scheduled trainings for staff, collaboration on projects designed to benefit the overall health of the water source, the South Fork of the Eel River. RCSD’s board is not interested in pursuing connections between the district for fire flow or emergency supply due to concerns about cross contamination and liability.
Regular Meetings of the RCSD occur on the third Thursday of each month. The next one will be at 6:30pm on July 20th. The Board is trying out this earlier meeting time to see how it works for all parties.