Come to the Next Garberville Water Service Meeting, Urges Letter to the Editor

faucet water drip

[Stock image by Nicole-Koehler via Wikimedia Commons]

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[To the community,]

If you have concerns about the direction of the Garberville Water District it would be good for you to attend the monthly Board Meeting that will take place on the 27th at 5:00pm, at the Water/Sanitary District office, 919 Redwood Drive, in Garberville.

It is almost a sure thing that the General Manager will get into how they can raise rates on the small amount (around 450) ratepayers that make up the district. During the last meeting in May when a request was made to strike certain language in the local Special District Ordinance that is in conflict with a new state law, Assembly Bill No. 2299, that came into effect on January 1st. 2017 the General Manager said that he could write any rule into the District Ordinance that he wanted to and it would trump the state law. When it was pointed out that the state law was specifically crafted to not allow that to happen his answer was “sue me”. Of course it wouldn’t be him that was sued but rather the ratepayers of the Water District which doesn’t really have a lot of money.

Bill # 2299, known as the “Granny Flat” bill is crafted to allow for more affordable housing, called accessory dwelling units (ADUs). It allows new units to be attached or separated from the main house or even carved out of a space inside the principal residence. These ADUs will not be required to have utility hookups separate from the main house. If space allows other units on the same lot are covered under this new law. Many building rules, setbacks etc. still apply, but the new law is written in such a way that area jurisdictions (GSD) force homeowners to have separate utilities, place restrictions etc. that prohibit or make more difficult the permitting of ADUs. A good, much needed law!!

The GSD decided, during the last meeting, that they did not need a third party bookkeeping service anymore and would do it them selves. Possible conflict of interest here, maybe? Maybe the recent, not so laudable audit report,, had something to do with this ?

Come to the meeting andc about the direction that the district has taken recently!

Charles Butterworth





  • Right to worker

    Throw the bum out! Or… pay thru the nose to support your new king!

  • Here’s the text of that bill/law:

    It contains the follow information:
    (2) “Local agency” means a city, county, or city and county, whether general law or chartered.
    Which means a CSD has to follow the law–in this case, the County.

    If you want to rattle their cage and don’t mind wading through some legalese, here’s links to various government codes about a CSD providing copies of audits to the overseeing government entity, in this case, the County:

    California Code Sections Relating to Local Government
    (a) (1) The county auditor shall either make or contract with a certified public accountant or public accountant to make an annual audit of the accounts and records of every special district within the county for which an audit by a certified public accountant or public accountant is not otherwise provided. In each case, the minimum requirements of the audit shall be prescribed by the Controller and shall conform to generally accepted auditing standards.”
    and lots more on the page
    “a) The Controller shall compile, publish, and make publicly available on the Controller’s Internet Web site, in a format that may be printed and downloaded, reports of the financial transactions and information on annual compensation, consistent with subdivision (l) of Section 53892, of each county, city, and special district, respectively, within this state, together with any other matter he or she deems of public interest. The reports shall include the appropriations limits and the total annual appropriations subject to limitation of the counties, cities, and special districts. The reports to the Controller shall be made in the form and manner prescribed by the Controller.”

    (a) If the county, city, or district reports are not made in the time, form, and manner required or there is reason to believe that a report is false, incomplete, or incorrect, the Controller shall appoint a qualified accountant to make an investigation and to obtain the information required. The accountant appointed shall report to the Controller the results of investigation, and a copy shall be filed with the legislative body of the county, city, or district, the accounts of which were investigated. If a similar investigation has to be made of the accounts of any county, city, or district, for two successive years, a certified copy of the results of the investigation last made shall be transmitted to the grand jury of the county that was investigated or in which the city or district investigated is situated, or, if the district is situated in more than one county, in the county in which any portion of the district is situated.”

    I’d be willing to be the board members haven’t ready any of these sections but gee, ignorance of the law is no excuse….
    So if there are others who object to the board & their policies, let them have a read too.

  • there are certainly questionable things going on at the GSD—-guy comes to town , loads the board with a couple friends and gets a raise from 78k to 120k ? yup. We are paying Mr.Emerson 10x more than a lady east of us that EARNS 110k for managing 4,600 meters—-Emerson manages 450 !!! He has threatened to turn off water to business and residents without due process. WE are being fleeced—thank you GSD water board for undermining our town ! a number of local residents are monitoring our meters and noticing “issues”—–we encourage anyone who pays water bills in Garberville to watch your bills. They are trying to pressure the park board to come on board—I would strongly suggest the park board keep it’s distance from the GSD and Ralph Emerson. the GSD will now get rid of the accounting agency that gives us an outside monitor on the finances—recipe for embezzlement—-good work GSD–when all this is exposed Mr.Emerson will go back to the Sierras where he lives a MUCH wealthier man. This is what happens when we do not pay attention—–give Ralph his walking papers-there are currently 3 people on the 5 person board that DO NOT live in the district they vote for. !!! makes it easy for them to give out a 40% raise !!! and raise YOUR water rates as it does not affect them.! shameful stuff in such a small community. BUT WAIT: Mr.Emerson had these people appointed to the board !!! and then EXTENDED the life of their terms on the board ! There are currently a couple of lawsuits being discussed which will cost US money. And when the dust settles Mr.Emerson will be back to his home and family in the Sierras. Thank you Mr.Butterworth for the energy you have put into EXPOSING this most questionable situation.I would say go to a meeting and ask questions but I did that and the Board told me I could ask questions but they do not have to answer.Nothing inviting or inclusive about this current “board”. It seems as though they would rather NOT have the public involved.

  • it’s a little late, he got his big raise last year–where was the outrage?


    On Wednesday November 30th, members of RCSD and GSD met at the Garberville Sanitary District office to discuss ways in which we can assist each other and possibly do joint projects which benefit both Districts.

    John Rogers and Michael Mckaskel represented RCSD and Ralph Emerson and Linda Brodersen represented GSD. There were many topics discussed and are included for further discussion between the respective Board Members and staff.


    1. Shared staff for emergencies or assistance in operations and in the office
    2. Shared on-call personnel which can assist each other or cover other District as needed
    3. Work together to find and repair I and I problems on the sewer collection system (inflow and infiltration)
    4. Shared equipment use and possible purchases
    5. Shared costs for professional services on joint endeavors
    6. On-going collaboration between staff and Board on training topics which can be taught locally rather than traveling for the required courses to keep certifications and licenses current.
    7. There was a lot of discussion on upstream storage and ways in which we can have enough storage to insure necessary water for our customers year round, including drought seasons.
    8. River health and stability for growth and long term stewardship of local rivers is a concern of all and a joint plan with recommendations is a priority
    9. Recycled and reused water is also a priority and to find what the cost would be to provide treated recycled wastewater for agricultural use whether by piping or trucking.
    10. Toilet to tap recycled water was also discussed and the process with associated cost to treat waste water and recycle it to be used for domestic water consumption
    11. Joint education for customers on water use, conservation and ongoing water issues is also an area we can work together to eliminate each district from having to their own research and write their own information sheet for customers
    12. It was discussed that participating in Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC) is a good way to stay updated on local development and find alternative funding opportunities.
    13. We will be sharing District lists of equipment, employees, contact info, skills,
    certificates and licenses so that we know where we can assist each other.
    14. We discussed a possible connection from the GSD Alder Point tank to the Meadows Business Park for emergency use and backup.
    15. The final point was made that we would like to continue conversations in a joint board meeting or with a planning committee.

    2017-06-21 RCSD Regular Board Meeting Packet (Page 28)

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