Redway Water District Proceeds With Unnamed Spring Project

The old infrastructure at the Redway Community Services District's unnamed spring. (Photo by Sandy Feretto)

The old infrastructure at the Redway Community Services District's unnamed spring. (Photo by Sandy Feretto)

The Redway Community Services District (RCSD) moved forward with plans for redevelopment of their unnamed spring as a supplemental water source at their regular meeting on April 20. 

Water Works Engineers provided a draft preliminary engineering report that estimated the cost of the total project budget for final design and construction at $195,000. The preliminary description stated that the existing spring is permitted through the California Department of Water Resources for a withdrawal limit of 52 acre-feet annually, with a 55-gallons-per-minute withdrawal rate limitation. The report stated the spring had been observed to produce as much as 70 gallons per minute. 

The preliminary engineering report calculated the design flow rate at 70 gallons per minute in order to allow for potential future increase in permitted withdrawal. District general manager John Rogers said that the district has no plans to request an increase in their permitted withdrawal from the spring.

Rogers reported that he had consulted Nicholas Jacobs of the Sacramento based law firm of Somach, Simmons and Dunn, water rights specialists. “His sense of it is that it is worth it for us to go ahead and do the Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement,” Rogers reported, “and emphasize what mitigations we can make and to present that to [the California Department of Fish and Wildlife] and there’s a good chance that they will approve some level of use going forward.”

Rogers added the landowner of the adjoining property asked the district for a firm commitment about the lot line adjustment that will be necessary as part of the spring project.

Other Business

The closed-session item on the agenda, listed as review of staff evaluations, was reported to be informational only. After returning to open session, the board voted to give district general manager John Rogers a raise of $3.25 per hour, retroactive from January of 2016. 

In the general manager’s report, Rogers said that the district is advertising for a new field operations manager. He reported that he had an interview scheduled with a potential candidate —though, Rogers remarked, “His wish list was high.”

In discussion about the potential hiring of a field operations manager, Rogers said he planned to take a look at the year’s budget and expenditures. “I’m not noticing a lot of extra money piling up in the bank,” he said. “I’m not sure where we’re going to stand in terms of what we budgeted and what we actually spent for this year, but I am going to start going through that process now, prior to making a solid commitment to a new employee,” Rogers told the board, adding, “but we need this employee.” 

Rogers said that a field operations manager would oversee the overall operations of the water and wastewater plants, which each have a certified operator. Ken Dean, the district’s former operations manager, has been providing consulting service for the district and has been performing some of the operations manager’s duties.

A letter in the board packet from Ralph Emerson, Garberville Sanitary District general manager, proposed sharing an operations manager while maintaining individual staffing and boards at the two districts, but the board did not discuss Emerson’s suggestion at the meeting.

Rogers said that Glenn Gradin had been hired as office support staff for three days a week, in conjunction with backup help from Jamie Corsetti, the district’s accountant. Gradin and Corsetti are working on refining the district’s QuickBooks accounting system, Rogers added.

New Connections

Rogers reported that NBS, the rate consultant company the district recently hired, said the use analysis created by Sami Kader of Water Works Engineers was suitable for the district to use in calculating new connections fees.

In order to estimate new connections fees, Rogers said he has been putting together a capital improvements list for the water system that addresses depreciation and provides a replacement value. “By investing in your infrastructure you can get it to live a little longer,” Rogers said.

Rogers commented that he had spoken with David McMurchie, the district’s legal counsel, about development agreements and intent-to-serve letters. Rogers said he plans to look at wording used by other districts. He added that the district will need to decide what caveats to include in the new connection agreements and intent-to-serve letters.

The board discussed how they would address provisions for high water users, and talked about including in the connection agreements a way to reassess fees later if water use has increased during a prescribed time.

Conflict of Interest?

Board member Linda Sutton expressed concern about the potential conflict of interest in the case of board members who own property and may benefit financially if the Humboldt County Planning Commission takes steps to increase densities when the zoning is changed to mixed use on Redwood Drive and Briceland Road in Redway. She pointed out that the district will be asked to comment on the proposed change, and board president Michael McKaskle has property on Briceland Road that he has said he might develop in the future. The discussion was somewhat heated, and the board directed Rogers to consult with McMurchie, the district’s legal counsel, for a “short, concise written opinion.” 

Rogers reported that the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) inspection was held at the wastewater treatment plant.

The board planned a special meeting on Wednesday, April 27, to make changes to the state retirement plan that are needed due to changes in the law.

The Redway Community Services District board of directors meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the district office, 1150 Evergreen Road in Redway.