Reading Time: 14 minutes
Picked up the November 12, 2018 LDPCSD Special Meeting CD today. Had some “down time” due to a recent knee injury so I decided to listen to the meeting audio and simultaneously create a rough report in Word as this post. I could not resist traditional blah blah blah in areas so I identified those with a BLUE “LEW VIEW” INTRODUCTION. OK, so here it is….
Pre-meeting discussion by LDPCSD Danny Johnson of his recent vacation in Europe and visiting areas such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc. Mentioned riding on a high speed train in Switzerland that was never-the-less very smooth.
1303hrs start meeting, Hankemeier absent; pledge.
Johnson comments on Veteran’s Day, military, and everything we have in Don Pedro.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Ruth Smith was confused about new subdivision tower on Arbolada Drive, it was not a cell tower but a data tower – is that true? (the one on Arbolada Drive….NO SERVICE!) GM/Board Treasurer Peter Kampa states yes, it is a data tower not cell tower and it brought data to the LDPCSD, but no cell service.
1307 VP Dan Hankemeier arrives.
No presiding officer’s report by President Danny Johnson except for thanking customers who attended.
PETE KAMPA: (CD 9:04) No time cards so Directors could receive the $100/meeting. 18% treated water loss, RAW water loss: readjusted lost water report added acre foot – 7 AF in loss. Project for service lines and meter vault replacement out to bid. Several hundred service lines…… in the future the new proposed water meter will help with identifying water loss.
(LEW VIEW: WILL FINALLY HAVE SOME GOOD DATA WHEN COMPLETED?…..WHEN COMPLETED?……when completed?……. Lol! By March the project should be done.)
(CD 14:04) Danny JOHNSON: Do we have an engineer as of today?
Kampa – we have two candidates instead of four. Kampa sent questionnaire for more information. Fresno company taken out. KJ principle engineer and primary contact has resigned. Jennifer is the new engineer but Kampa doesn’t believe is adequate. Kampa leaning towards Jeff Black (Black Water) and Alfonso ????? out of Modesto least expensive, but Kampa concerned about capability to produce.
Johnson suggests going with BLACK WATER. WARREN: They have WASTE WATER experience as well. Kampa has worked with them before with the wastewater side in two other districts. (17:20)
RANCHITO WELL STILL NOT COMPLETED. Binkley still working on that above ground plumbing. Surveyor has completed his work …out to bid in early December. Hank: if out in December, when done? End of January……??? Ranchito well #2 needs to have valve replaced?
Kampa reading and researching on the district boundaries and annexations regarding POU. No contact from state yet regarding matter.
Planning Grant application being submitted to state (1/2 million for intake system, treatment plant and some distribution components,)
Dollar General questions by Warren…..Kampa: Dollar General still owes us completed material and our district needs to place a serious threat…. They are not producing the documents CSD asked for four months before completion. (21:00)
LDPCSD DOES NOT OWN THAT MAIN EXTENSION!
JOHNSON RE GRANTS: Back up generation grant? Kampa- still out there, no information.
RANDY’s REPORT BY KAMPA: (23:30) Due date, 90 days from start, have had it approximately 50 days…,
Everything torn apart…. Kampa expecting more information but couldn’t get in touch with Randy.
Kampa: Leak on intake and Ranchito well #1 still down are the two big projects. Distribution system leaks, fire hydrant work done by contractor. August, 15 leaks but we’ll get reimbursed – District should consider getting more money to do the remainder of the service lines.
JOHNSON: Look at the price we are paying…..can’t have our guys do the work? A dedicated crew?
Emery: $4,000 for each lateral repair that’s $400 a foot.
JOHNSON: THE BIG SCOPE OF WHAT WE NEED TO DO…..raising rates…..? Can we get somebody to work on call?
WARREN: Capital needs, need to have a meeting to look at long term capital stuff….. time to have a meeting only about capital stuff and a plan. Drought – lucky to have money to get that water.
JOHNSON: Service line replacement will only do about a third of what is needed.
No plan – what people to do work? ….. tells Kampa to plan for a long meeting in December.
JOHNSON: SPECIAL MEETING only for that topic. KAMPA: We have money in budget to help prioritize the projects – models to assist in designing a program. Kampa wants BOARD DIRECTION
Various director comments about District being stuck in drought matters that are over but we are stalling elsewhere now.
JOHNSON: Ranchito Well # 2 repair…… how long to get three flange gaskets? Johnson’s dander up because repair wasn’t made quickly. JOHNSON said he was going to throw a grenade:
36:50 WHAT IS OPERATIONS DOING NOW? He then requested an accountability report from Kampa. The “cookie cutter reports” each month do not make Johnson feel comfortable.
JOHNSON we have to move forward – original Ranchito well is down and now Ranchito #2 is off line, what if something else fails?
ROSS: Must tell the board what is happening, very basic stuff so reports only mention recent activities. Just trying to find stuff for monthly meeting reports and discussions. Wants to know what Randy is actually doing? (As Chief Operator why does he rarely attend board meetings?)
JOHNSON: discussed for years, what is happening with our LDPCSD operations? Treatment plant doesn’t take that much to report.
KAMPA state the matter was not on the agenda for discussion and they would discuss next month.
JOHNSON reminded about public comment, any Public Comment?
WES BARTON: will provide the board with his entire written comment as he would probably go over the three minutes. First meeting in years where he’s heard anything intelligent coming from a board meeting – yes we do have serious leadership problems, serious management problems, serious staffing problems, whether we have cash problems is unknown because we don’t have anyone to keep track of the cash – so….this is good. It’s not good that we don’t know where we are at, but it is good that we’re talking about it.
Johnson, I respect your point Pete so we’ll discuss it next month. Move on to item to #4 – Treasurer’s report and minutes approval. Wes Barton requested a copy of the shrinkage report which Kampa said would be available, Johnson stated he would see to it Barton received the information. Approved.
LAFCO and DON PEDRO SEWER ZONE DISCUSSION (44:45) Purpose of the special sewer zone was to charge those using the sewer system around the golf course to pay for the services. Sierra Highlands was formed first, then the sewer zone, and then the LDPCSD in 1980 with the resolution of formation stating the condition that the LDPCSD would assume the operation of the sewer system in the future.
WARREN: Discusses information from 2008 —-doesn’t know what the current condition of the facility.
KAMPA states the facility is fairly new but he had only operated the old sewer facility on the golf course. Johnson understands county wanting to combine services (water for entire district and waste water system around golf course) but the original system was on the golf course, but the county built a new multi-million dollar facility without sufficient financial income to support the system. Stated a county supervisor asked for his help in getting CSD customers to support taking over the golf course sewer facility but Johnson refused stating “you’ve got the wrong boy” because of the substantial amount of money owed on the system (millions) would be a terrible liability for the district. Johnson said the sewer customers don’t want to pay a higher cost for their sewer system and the district had a hard enough time.
Kampa stated if we refused Mariposa County Counsel would likely attempt to enforce the “will take” condition in the District’s formation resolution. He also said the county would subsidize any difference when the CSD acquired the facility.
Johnson discussed the problem of finding adequate staffing and the waste water part had to be completely separate from the drinking water part of district business.
Warren asked how many properties were served around the golf course, Kampa advised 200 and something yet President Danny Johnson stated only 70 actually had a residence. Kampa said there were less than 4, say 300 customers, but the system had six sewer lift stations that are unimproved since original installation. Old equipment. Kampa believed the processing system had been upgraded but the lifts have not.
JOHNSON asked who built the new waste system and Kampa indicated Boise Cascade built it and dedicated it to the County.
(LEW HERE: I always thought the County of Mariposa had it constructed – they bought the property from the Erickson Ranch on Ranchito Drive for the facility. I also thought Boise Cascade was out of the real estate business years ago? Could Boise have somehow been legally required to replace their original system that was failing due to the added processing of uncontrolled residential development in that area in the 1990’s? I doubt it. I think Kampa just avoided an important aspect to this waste water facility nightmare…..who is really responsible for its creation outside the subdivision PLACE OF USE UNDER WL11395? And the toxic leachate tanker dumping from the Mariposa County land fill years ago? The replacement of premature wearing components? What’s the factual word on that little matter?)
Kampa stated he had been contacted by the District II County Supervisor (Merlin Jones) who wanted to set up a meeting to discuss the LDPCSD taking control of the sewer system.
[LEW VIEW: Here’s an idea. Need a full time waste water operator and staff? Since the sewer system was necessary for the uncontrolled growth around the golf course by a land development company, have that company donate homes for those needed workers! The homes are already in that sewer zone, what better situation for an employee to be part of where they work! Might only take two or three homes. Perhaps lower pay than some areas, but check out your elegant subsidized residential palace and expensive water thirsty landscaping! I can’t take it! Even sitting at home listening to this garbage on CD. The deceit! Subsidize the difference? Same thing with Boise Cascade Sierra Highlands and the new LDPCSD yeah? They would cover the financial difference until the district got on its financial feet and could start billing subdivision property owners. OH PLEASE! How did that turn out?
Cartoon time? ….
Picture if you will…… County of Mariposa figure congratulating LDPCSD figure on its new acquisition of the Don Pedro Waste Water Facility with a hearty slap on the back thrusting the CSD figure head first into the sewer waste pond. As the County figure heads off on another SIFCPHOM (Special Interest Failed County Project Hand-Off Mission) to screw some other clueless disadvantaged community, as it disappears into the darkness it is heard to chuckle –
“good idea – get to know your new obligation”.
See what was apparently happening back then? Public officials, departments, agencies, funds and resources (including the powerful influence and authority of state agencies operating at and through the county level – such as LAFCos which created such a special district as the LDPCSD) were being diverted to private land development interests-
(subsidized water in a drought prone area is one heck of a special benefit and incentive for prospective developments and construction plans yeah? )
-on a number of government levels because the risk of failure and resulting foreseeable damage and financial liability were already planned to be obligations of the anticipated thousands of prospective purchasers of Lake Don Pedro subdivision property.
“Paging Deep Pocket, paging Deep Pocket, you have a financial call on the money green lobby courtesy phone”
Even if such a special interest “wink and nod” gamble failed and became a financial nightmare/bottomless money pit, the county was going to just simply “dump” that “crappy deal” on the MR WECs of the subdivision who were already subsidizing water service outside their water license Place of Use subdivision for Merced River water (due to the many LAFCO ANNEXATIONS INTO THEIR NEW “CATCH ALL” LDPCSD that BOASTED a built-in DEEP POCKET OF THOUSANDS OF CLUE LESS AND DISORGANIZED PROPERTY OWNERS OF THE LAKE DON PEDRO SUBDIVISION WHERE THE FAR MAJORITY OF OWNERS ARE TRAPPED MANDATORY CSD CUSTOMERS DUE TO CC&Rs WHICH RUN WITH THEIR PROPERTY TITLE.
LET THE PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS BEGIN!
Recall the special legislation required to increase the maximum availability fee from $10/lot year limit to the LDPCSD’s $60/ac year due to the low subdivision population of ENTITLED CUSTOMERS at he time? (maximum availability fee only $180/year REGARDLESS IF THREE ACRES IN THE ENTITLED SUBDIVISION OR 2,000 ACRES OF LAFCO ANNEXED LAND OUTSIDE! – does that sound right to you?)
So what does this new LAFCO SPECIAL DISTRICT START TO DO with six times the traditional availability fee revenue coming in? Expanded water services even further beyond the place of use boundaries of State water permits and licenses! Using public funds to provide water service main line extensions for annexations into the district service area (some before the district even received the transfer of facilities and assets of Sierra Highlands by the California Public Utilities Commission in 1981) all through the co-operating County LAFCOs of Tuolumne and Mariposa. Everybody wins except for MR WECs who is saddled with all additional costs. Oops…..sorry, just get so darn frustrated listening to this garbage. Back to the meeting……)
Kampa indicated the county was evidently prepared to force the issue of acceptance on the district.
Emery Ross said had warned about Supervisor Jones wanting the district to take it years ago. He said the users of the system were barely making the payments on the USDA loan for the facility. He said the majority of the vacant lots are delinquent on property taxes which was the problem. Emery said it was a real estate problem and there just wasn’t enough money. Ross said the system was rejected in 2008 when it was in better condition. Customers have twice voted down a necessary rate increase. He advised lot owners pay $900 a year for the sewer service. He then read the rates proposed for the next few years for the sewer bill. Emery said the lots owners just couldn’t afford the estimated increases as many are on fixed incomes.
Director Warren stated most of us have septic (on site private system) why not properties around the golf course?
Johnson suggested it was due to the density of the homes in the area and condos and all that.
(LEW VIEW: Also difficult to develop hilltop lots do not have the area or soil required for proper leach fields. The golf course sewer system was a way for land developers and realtors to sell properties that otherwise could not develop with their own onsite sewage disposal systems.)
Hankemeier thought the whole uphill design of the system was wrong because a failure could mean it all coming back downhill; also we weren’t involved in such a creation, why would we want it now?
Emery Ross continued about the costs of the system and the required qualified employees.
Someone asked if it was the Porter properties. Johnson replied it was everything around the golf course not just Porter’s property, the condos over there, where the homes are closer together. Emery continued reading a report about sewer water running down the street which is illegal.
President Danny Johnson commented on the hype years ago of Lake Don Pedro becoming the next Tahoe area. He said the County would not have invested in the place unless they thought the area was really going to prosper and develop but it was a bust.
VP Dan Hankemeier repeated that we had nothing to say about it.
Johnson commented this issue has been on and off for years.
Kampa said it was a public process and the district didn’t exist in 1980, but Sierra Highlands was already in place and LAFCO processed the projects.
(LEW VIEW: THESE DIRECTORS OBVIOUSLY DO NOT KNOW THEIR OWN DISTRICT HISTORY!)
Johnson asked for Kampa’s recommendation, he said when they sit down and discuss we should require an engineering condition assessment, how regulations are being met, facility/water monitoring….on the collection side, are their predictions of financial stability accurate, etc.
KAMPA TALKING ABOUT SUBSIDIZED SERVICE BY THE COUNTY and REIMBURSEMENT IF WE TAKE OVER THE WASTE WATER PLANT!
JOHNSON SAID SEWER COSTS WILL NOT BE PASSED ON TO WATER PAYING CUSTOMERS.
(LEW VIEW: REALLY? HOW WOULD ANYONE KNOW?
YOUR WORD? LIKE WHEN STATING THE NEW GROUND WELLS WOULD NOT BE USED FOR OUTSIDE PLACE OF USE SPECIAL BENEFIT SUBSIDIZED WATER REPLACEMENT SERVICE?
OR LIKE HOW THE ENORMOUS EXPENSE FOR GROUNDWATER SUBSTITUTION FOR LAFCO ANNEXED PROPERTIES ISN’T PASSED ON TO INNOCENT MR WECs NOW?
CARE TO COMMENT ON THAT DECADES OLD SUBSIDIZED SPECIAL BENEFIT WATER SERVICE?
EVERYTHING THE BOARD WAS DISCUSSING IS PRECISELY WHY SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENFORCED BACK THEN but it was impossible with the Deerwood Corporation influence over a gullible community driven by decades of greedy local real estate manipulation. This is insane. The county created the problem by permitting the uncontrolled development by the Deerwood Corporation et al around the golf course. The county chose the outside POU location for the waste water plant, and used it do dump their landfill leachate in the system in the dark of night, so why not let the county continue to provide those special benefits it set up?)
Johnson told Kampa to say hello for the board. Kampa advised he had work to do on the assessment concept.
(LEW’S VIEW: Placing KAMPA IN CHARGE OF SUCH A DISCUSSION? LIKE WITH THE DOLLAR GENERAL PROJECT CONTRACT? AND DOLLAR GENERAL NOW OWNS A PRIVATE WATER LINE TRANSPORTING DISTRICT WATER?
PERHAPS DOLLAR GENERAL WILL ENTER INTO THE SPECIAL BENEFIT WATER SERVICE OUTSIDE THE POU BUSINESS NOW?)
Johnson asked Kampa if the old treatment plant would have met the needs of the homes present?
He said, no. It could not be upgraded so a new one was required.
(LEW VIEW: SO COUNTY PURCHASED LAND OUTSIDE THE SUBDIVISION POU AND CONSTRUCTED A WASTE WATER PLANT THAT REQUIRES EXPENSIVE GROUNDWATER SUBSTITUTION TO STAY LEGAL WITH THE WATER LICENSE CONDITIONS?)
Discussions about Kampa’s prior experience with the old system. ??? He believes they are the same lift stations from the old sewer system.
Ross continued reading various financial facts from some article about the cost of running the system.
Johnson commented our district had enough problems with water running down the street without taking on sewer water running down the street as well.
(LEW VIEW: EXCELLENT POINT DANNY!
ANYONE ELSE APPRECIATE THE SIMILARITIES?
Land developers outside WL11395 POU for Merced River water don’t want to pay for their own groundwater wells for development? …… get MR WECs of the subdivision to pay for it through the LDPCSD!
Homes around the golf course that receive the special benefit of sewer service hookup don’t want to pay what it costs to run their own system? – get MR WECs of the subdivision to pay for it through the LDPCSD taking over a failing sewer system!
Wonderful example of co-operation, yeah?)
Danny Johnson stated a few years ago he was told they owned 6 to 7 million dollars for that system.
Wes Barton agreed around that time it was 6 million dollars.
Kampa commented on the testing required and strict permitting…… engineering to keep it in compliance.
Ross asked what the direction was for the GM?
Johnson said, go there and find out, move forward, talk to county, if question comes up if board interested— no we are not.
Warren wanted more information, system worth, cost of operation, how it will pay for itself….
Ross said it cannot pay for itself which is the problem.
Johnson said Kampa needed to talk to the county.
Kampa wanted the board to specifically direct him —- talked about property values in the area…….
Our community reputation……engineering evaluation, condition of assessment, operating expenses, depreciation, what is financial picture, what are we taking on? , Capital improvements…..if they provide this then the board has something to discuss.
Warren wanted to know about unfunded liability for past personnel.
Wes Barton said the contract written was based on a very small waste water plant, but they built a new plant and never asked us to participate with that treatment plant project and that the sewer facility was definitely tied to the residential development at the time, we have NO RESPONSIBILITY! The original district and what is now proposed are two different things. Wes said he would not go and discuss it at all. Great for the county but not the CSD. He said if we discuss it, it will take time, effort, money…..just like the MSR that never got done. That money went nowhere. Don’t screw around with this thing- Pete has enough to do now.
Ross said Wes had some good points.
Kampa said never in his career had he turned his back on someone who wanted to discuss a matter.
Warren said all we see are things we can’t afford, this doesn’t help to pump and treat water for our customers.
Johnson said if a county supervisor would like to come to the meeting and educate directors, bring it on. Come to the meeting and spin it to the board. That way the board does not say just NO, but come and dance in our house! Warren stated we did not represent their interests.
(LEW VIEW: WHY DID NOT ONE DIRECTOR ASK FOR OUR ATTORNEY’S PRIOR OPINION ON THIS MATTER WHICH WAS WE ARE AN EXISTING SPECIAL DISTRICT AND THE COUNTY COULD NOT FORCE US TO TAKE ON SUCH A LIABILITY! Why did Planning Director/LAFCo Executive Officer Sarah Williams report to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors some time ago that the LDPCSD could not be forced by the County of Mariposa to take possession of that failing sewer system zone it set up without notice or participation by the LDPCSD? What has changed since then? Have all those years of missing LAFCO RECORDS BEEN SANITIZED and the deceptions concealed?)
Johnson requested a motion from the board. Kampa said he is going to be asked to attend a meeting with the supervisor one way or the other.
(LEW VIEW: PROPERTY VALUE DISCUSSION WAS A RED HERRING DISTRACTION!)
Syndie stated she had several directions….Pete to talk to supervisor and ask him to attend one of our meetings…. Johnson said it was just a suggestion, but we have to tell Pete what to do.
Warren said the supervisor should come to our meeting and tell us the facts!
Hankemeier said they reject it based on what Emery said.
Warren said Kampa didn’t want to slam the door in their face.
Kampa said we could check on our legal options……..what are the other options? Go to LAFCo? What are our opportunities? Application to LAFCO to have condition removed?
Johnson said for Kampa to go and get those answers, board is researching,
Warren said we should talk with our attorney and see what he says…..Kampa to talk with our attorney and bring back to board the attorney’s suggestion.
HERE WE GO AGAIN REPEATING SOMETHING ALREADY DONE AND PAID FOR!!!!
My best to you and yours, Lew