Hello folks! Hope things are going well in your neck of the woods. I received the two January 17th meeting audio cassette tapes from the office yesterday and quite frankly am burned out with typing today. Started before 0600hrs this morning and 26 pages later still haven’t finished Mr. Thomas Porter’s presentation on why some of his properties should receive water despite the prohibition in the water license of service to areas Outside Merced Irrigation District Place of Use (OMIDPOU).
No. Don’t panic. I’m not going to hit you with it all at once even though my instinct is to post whatever I finish as soon as it’s done. As you know numerous people have advised me to dribble such information out in more palatable portions – and I agree with that approach, besides, this way I can run over the tape one more time for accuracy.
Let’s see…..California residents probably know we received some rain on Friday January 20th and Saturday the 21st. Many areas of the subdivision lost power for about an hour and a half on Saturday. Still can’t believe the force of the wind here sometimes. Heard on the news this morning we’re only 38% of the snow pack – sure hope more is on the way. Crazy weather – last weekend it was like Spring – thought there must have been a beehive around my house somewhere because the Incense Cedar tree was covered with them. Yep, the buzzing was “intense” in the “Incense”…. Sorry, seemed funny at the time. Guess all this typing is starting to take its toll.
Well, guess I should quit with the blah, blah, blah for now. Too bad though, this is easy writing compared to the transcription stuff. I think the best way to proceed is with my opinion indicated within [brackets]. OK, let’s glide into the meeting……..
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17th, 2012 REGULAR MEETING
Quorum established, all directors present (Kinsella, Ross, Skoien, Afanasiev and Richardson), along with Interim General Manager Dan Tynan. Board Secretary Charise Reeves was absent due to a training class. Pledge of allegiance was recited. President Kinsella advised that Wes Barton had dropped off a prepared statement he (Barton) wished to have read into the record, however, after reading the material Kinsella thought it best for Mr. Barton to read it himself at another time. During Public Comment neighboring property owner Don Pucilowski inquired if the district might be interested in getting rid of a derelict trailer.
MANAGER’S REPORT: IGM Tynan reported that by replacing laterals a reduction in leaks has been noted in problem areas. He advised the lead operator had hand surgery and was off for a while so only six hydrants had been flushed. 432 new meters and 644 transmitters have been installed. There has been a substantial reduction in overtime.
VP Lew Richardson questioned the Manager’s Report which indicated 1,387 billed metered customers however, that number only represented the 5/8s meter connections – [FOR THE RECORD, Director Emery Ross arrived late at 1311hrs] yet there were another 17 billed customers with larger connections (1 – 4 inch diameter and 6 inch fire hydrants) traditionally not included in that report. The Billing Officer will be contacted about the figures. Richardson also mentioned that the tank chart had omitted the diameter of the Coronado tank.
IGM Tynan while referring to a standing display board with photographs advised they had been getting alarm calls at an average of one every twenty-eight minutes but since the repairs to the SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system and antenna there are only 5-10 alarms a week. The two generators have been installed at the tank sites at Arbolada and Alamo Drive and are awaiting some wiring and fencing. The “Blow Off” project (dumping of unwanted water out of the system) is nearing completion.
Director Ross questioned how much money was represented in recently completed Capital Improvement Projects. Director Skoien questioned the particulars on the Septic Repair/Upgrade project also listed on page 15. Director Ross asked a couple of questions regarding materials purchased for the AMR meter boxes and the attorney’s bill. Director Victor Afanasiev advised he had some questions regarding the attorney’s bill and wished to have a Closed Session regarding some issues he had researched about the continuing law suits by former employees.
Director Victor Afanasiev also questioned the Outside Place of Use report (Documents how much water is pumped from the Ranchito well and used outside our permitted license area under the water contract. This must be reported to the Merced Irrigation District every month.) in regards to a drastic spike in water use for one of the accounts (90 to 206 units) and another large reduction (102 – 22 units). Dan Tynan agreed to check with the office about the particulars. Director Ross voluntarily stated: “One of those is the fire station and one of those is the elementary school”. Afanasiev stated that was the problem – there was no identifying name on the accounts.
Director Ross stated CSD couldn’t provide such information and was the reason names were replaced with account numbers. Ross stated “we got it put back to numbers because there were names and so numbers is what it’s supposed to be just like your bills, you know, supposedly confidential”. Director Afanasiev indicated the usage information was not confidential because it was simply printed on post cards.
TREASURER’S REPORT and MID water bill payment were approved.
CONSENT CALENDAR: Minutes for the November 21, 2011 Regular Meeting and December 19, 2011 Special Meeting were approved. [December 19, 2011 Regular meeting Minutes had not been completed yet] Election/campaign material for other agencies discussed and deferred.
COMMITTEE MEETING UPDATES: No reports. Director Ross expressed his belief that the MID Committee (specifically investigating District Boundary issues and Outside MIDPOU service areas) should be changed to a standing committee rather than ad hoc.
TOM PORTER – Review request for service for several parcels (15 minutes).
Tom Porter (President of the Deerwood Corporation): Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board, ah, I have several items I would like to discuss this morning, ah, I wrote you about ah, getting some laterals put in and I previously had a ah onsite ah inspection with the ah interim general manager. We looked at the sites, ah, item E and D on your list of, ah those of course are being there’s availability charge being paid on those and for some reason the ah laterals were not put in ah to, there is a fire hydrant that actually goes right to the ah sites, and would be E, and then across the street ah would probably be a good place to put a lateral there, but, I’m, since ah, the interim general manager ah, was not in position to say yes I’ll put the laterals in, and he asked me to come to the board and I’m coming to the board to ask that you do that.
Director Mark Skoien: And you’ve always paid availability?
Tom Porter: Absolutely. I didn’t, I’m sorry I did not give you the (inaudible) here’s ah, would you like a copy of this Mr. Chairman?
[I would be more interested in knowing if these properties have paid availability since the very beginning like all the other 3,100+/- lots in the Don Pedro subdivision. That’s the real question. Have these lots paid their fair share for decades, or just since the purchase by the Deerwood Corporation?]
President Bill Kinsella: What is it Mr. Porter?
Tom Porter: It’s, it’s showing the bill, our water bill where we paid the, the tax bill, where we paid the availability
President Kinsella: Oh, this isn’t, this is a different issue
Tom Porter: Different issue, yes sir.
VP Richardson: Well what property is that?
Tom Porter: Ah, this is on ah
Director Skoien: Torre
Tom Porter: D and E
VP Richardson: D and E.
Director Ross: Is that this piece of paper with the yellow?
Director Skoien: Other one
Tom Porter: Actually
VP Richardson: So it’s, so it’s this one here?
Multiple voices/cross talk (Discussion of which specific paper Mr. Porter is referring)
[NOTE: The materials Mr. Porter presented to the board the day of the meeting technically should have been provided to the office prior to the Board Meeting and contained within the Board Packet so all directors and the public would have had adequate time to review the material.]
Tom Porter: I have the tax bills on both of those showing availability paid.
IGM Tynan: They’re inside place of use
President Kinsella: Now these are the ones on Torre is that correct?
Tom Porter: Ah-hum (affirmative response)
Director Ross: They’re outside
IGM Tynan: Well these are inside
Director Ross: Outside, they’re not in the original subdivision. How, how is it they’re outside? Or inside, whatever you call it.
[I am waiting for some requested information about Kassabaum Estates. There are at least 25 properties, the majority of them over 15 acres, which are north and south of Ranchito Drive and west of Merced Falls Road. The larger parcel size is atypical of lots on the Mariposa side of the subdivision. Apparently these properties had their own CC&Rs and Governing Documents which were separate from the original Sierra Highlands Subdivision which later became the Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association Subdivision. The Deerwood Corporation purchased over half of these parcels for future development that never occurred.]
IGM Tynan: Well according to the map that I, that’s in the office
Director Ross: Yeah
IGM Tynan: It’s showing that these properties are inside place of use, according, I’m just going by the map
[Agreed, the perimeter boundary of License 11395 appears to include these properties but the real test is if they had paid availability fees like other properties within the Merced Irrigation District Place of Use, or designated as parcels to be served with ground wells.]
Director Ross: Yeah, yeah, yeah
IGM Tynan: that’s in the office. Uhm, now the availability is, you know, that’s great that you have a receipt and everything because I was told that it hasn’t paid availability
Tom Porter: Had not been?
IGM Tynan: Yeah, so, you got a receipt, that’s fantastic.
Tom Porter: Receipt, where we paid them to the county so
IGM Tynan: But a, it looks like these are inside place of use, these, I just
Tom Porter: These, the other three we have not been paying a, ah, an availability charge but we were never billed for it, so if we had been billed for it we would have paid it, but they’re, all three parcels are within the district.
[Apples and oranges. The other three properties are clearly Outside the MIDPOU and were never intended to be served Lake McClure water according to the water license.]
VP Richardson: That’s this one?
Tom Porter: Yes, all three of those parcels are within the district. In fact ah, the property ah to the east of ah, ah, VVS or VVH, and VVS, ah, 40 acres, receives water from the district, they actually have a, they’re hooked up to a meter on the west side of Merced Falls Road, ah, that’s one of our meters that serves one of our lots, in fact we were going to build on it, but they’ve hooked into that, they’ve come through a, a drainage pipe that goes under Merced Falls Road then, ah, they parallel the west line of those two twenty acre parcels and then they, ah, cut across ah say VVH, or whatever that is, VVN OK. They cross that, in fact there’s a leak there now, I took the general, interim general manager up and showed him that too, so, there is water being served to the east of us which is within the district also, the forty acres is, that’s being served.
IGM Tynan: Yeah, that leak, that leak is on their side
Tom Porter: Yeah, yeah it’s not (inaudible) So any how, I’m asking for that also to be included and ah, for you start billing us for availability charge. It’s within your district.
[Start billing for availability charge? What about the many years prior? What happened to the buy-in fee to cover the period of time availability was not charged to cover district expenses in maintaining our expansive infrastructure?]
Director Skoien: So, when you say availability charge you mean, you want to start paying availability charge or do you want a lateral in and meters on those?
Tom Porter: I’d like to have a lateral there yes, I’d like to have a lateral there on each of these pieces, yes sir.
Director Skoien: OK, well, let’s do them one at a time (laughing)
Tom Porter: OK
Director Skoien: On Torre, that doesn’t seem like a much of a problem does it?
IGM Tynan: No, ah, I, I, they’re inside place of use and if Mr. Porter has a receipt saying that he’s been paying, it’s no problem
Director Skoien: Yeah, but when it comes to the lat….you don’t know why the laterals were never put in this?
IGM Tynan: I don’t know.
[Lateral pipes not installed? Could this be a clue that the properties were never considered to be part of the service area? I don’t know and but look forward to evidence one way or the other. This issue has festered for decades.]
Director Skoien: This was all supposed to be that Unit M, wasn’t it? Back in the day, or something?
Tom Porter: I’m not sure but
VP Richardson: 4,5,6
[Kassabaum Estates was going to be Units 4-M, 5-M and 6-M in the original subdivision but were never included, much like 7-M and other units on the Tuolumne County side that were ultimately abandoned.]
Tom Porter: we all know that on that same Torre you had not ah, you had not provided us a lateral and you were charging us, billing us every month for water and the district had to repay us that money, I think it was in excess of a thousand dollars or eleven-hundred, twelve hundred dollars, so, the fact that you hadn’t put in laterals is not unusual for this district.
Director Skoien: Yeah, yeah
VP Richardson: Now, uhm, now is Kassabaum Flats considered inside the MIDPOU?
Tom Porter: Of course, every one of them has a water meter and
VP Richardson: Oh they do?
Tom Porter: Oh, every, every lot in Kassabaum, and I have a copy of all that and I can show you where every meter is.
VP Richardson: When were those installed?
Tom Porter: Huh?
VP Richardson: When were those installed?
Dan Siria (Retired CSD employee): In the beginning
Tom Porter: From the beginning
VP Richardson: In the beginning huh?
Tom Porter: it was put in.
President Kinsella: I’ve been up here
VP Richardson: huh. Meters on every single lot?
Tom Porter: I, I don’t have one that I can give to you, but I can show you, we’ve checked these ourselves, here are all the meters. And availability charges are paid on every one of those.
VP Richardson: What about this one, oh I see. What’s this? And that one?
Tom Porter: Well,
VP Richardson: And this one, and that one, and this one?
Multiple voices (discussing the different materials presented by Mr. Porter)
Tom Porter: Well this one for example… and ah, this one we found here, and this one we found here
VP Richardson: What did you find?
Tom Porter: We found meters
VP Richardson: A meter or a meter box?
Tom Porter: A meter box, in other words, we, it was stubbed out to there
Multiple voices/cross talk
President Kinsella: Now is this ..
Director Skoien: (inaudible) meter, meter box (laughing)
VP Richardson: Big difference
[Didn’t we just have this same confusion between a meter and a meter box presented in the Poe Meter Removal case where two directors stated there was a meter in the box, but those statements were proven to be incorrect?]
Director Skoien: It happens
Tom Porter: The Rose Garden was here
Multiple voices/cross talk
President Kinsella: And they did have water there and you, did you remove that, the ah lateral?
Tom Porter: Ah no, (chuckles) it, it wa, ah, wasn’t in but only because ah they did some work and they didn’t put it in ah, Dan knows that…
Director Skoien: Now every meter box you had looked in
President Kinsella: Mr. Porter can I ask somebody to make a copy of that for the board?
Tom Porter: Sure
President Kinsella: Dan would you do this?
Director Skoien: in the meter box that you looked in
Director Ross: Betsie can do it Bill
Director Skoien: could you see ah, coupling
Tom Porter: You see the stub
Director Ross: Dan Betsie (inaudible) Betsie can take it
Tom Porter: this one here predated the district, this right here came from the old Sierra Highlands Water Company, in other words totally different service but its there, you know
[But again, were availability fees paid since the beginning? I don’t know but it is a fact that needs to be discovered.]
President Kinsella: Ahm, Betsie (inaudible)
Betsie Ross: I’ll take it over (inaudible)
Director Skoien: Now Dan, this
President Kinsella: You know, the thing that kind of confuses me when I moved up here Kassabaum Flats actually had their own CCRs and they were designated for wells ..
Director Ross: Tom can we get a copy of your receipt? For Betsie to make copies? Thank you.
(Multiple voices – Mr. Porter and Betsie Ross sorting materials for copying)
Director Skoien: So this
Tom Porter: They were not designated for wells and there’s
President Kinsella: No, no that’s what I was told
Tom Porter: half of them have houses on them and served by this district.
VP Richardson: Half of them have homes?
Tom Porter: Sure, there’s some on Banderillo, there’s three houses up there, and then there’s Nancy Debuque’s house, and then the Jenkins have a house
VP Richardson: There’s 25 parcels
Tom Porter: We have two, we own two lots with it, and ah, and there’s another one ah, at least 8, 8 houses on those and
VP Richardson: Well then that’s not most
[Half of 25 is 12.5, not 8.]
Tom Porter: Well OK
VP Richardson: If there’s 25 parcels
Director Skoien: Well he said about half
Tom Porter: And then also the Clines, Pam Cline – her husband they have, in fact they’re in the process right now of breaking their parcel into three, there’ll be two more
Director Skoien: that far I didn’t even know they considered that Kassabaum Flats
VP Richardson: Yeah, ahm, well I’m concerned about is, I never knew that all lots paid availability
Tom Porter: We do, every one of our lots in Kassabaum is being paid an availability every month
VP Richardson: And when you say we you mean
Tom Porter: to, to the county and then you get the money
VP Richardson: No but when you say we you mean the Deerwood Corporation?
Tom Porter: Yes, yes
VP Richardson: OK, so then there may be other lots that do not pay availability that you’re unaware of
Tom Porter: Well I don’t know what other people who own other lots do, but ah, I know that they’re all
VP Richardson: Well, well originally you said there were meters on every single lot so you were
Tom Porter: Well there is a stub to every one
VP Richardson: Ah OK, so not meters.
Tom Porter: No, no
VP Richardson: OK, alright
Director Skoien: So Dan, this is basically I think Operations, you can
[Excuse me, how is this an Operations Committee matter? This seems more like policy for the entire board to consider and decide once all the pertinent information has been obtained. Everything I have learned about CSD policy indicates Directors should refrain from becoming involved in the day-to-day operations of the district, you know, micro-managing stuff. I believe the Operations Committee was established and necessary when there was no General Manager, but with a current Interim General Manager, what is an Operations Committee tasked to actually do? I do not believe a single meeting has been held up to this point anyway.]
IGM Tynan: Yeah, but you see my problem was, this is why I brought it to the board, the one on Torre I was told was not yet paying availability, that’s why I brought it to the board
Director Skoien: There’s two on Torre
IGM Tynan: There’s two properties on Torre that’s why I brought it to the board,
Director Skoien: OK
IGM Tynan: but if Mr. Porter has a receipt then I can give it –
Director Skoien: Yeah
IGM Tynan: to billing and
President Kinsella: He has receipts, we have to confirm it
IGM Tynan: yea
President Kinsella: and then we can
IGM Tynan: Yeah, Yeah,
President Kinsella: move on with that, is that alright with you sir?
Tom Porter: Yes,
Director Skoien: The only thing I’m wondering is if this has happened in the past and then what is done, well I guess if someone is paying availability it’s not his fault the lateral is not in so I guess that cost is, is your time and, cuz availability’s been
President Kinsella: You’ve been paying availability ever since you’ve owned the lot?
IGM Tynan: That’s, that’s why I brought it to the board
Tom Porter: Absolutely
Director Skoien: I say just put them in
President Kinsella: Yeah, all we have to do is just confirm that ah, with our records, and if our records don’t jive then we talk to Mr. Porter
IGM Tynan: Yeah, part of the problem is ah, you know, Syndie is really good at her job but hasn’t been, she’s on vacation so I haven’t been able to
VP Richardson: That’s 14 availability fees
Tom Porter: Yeah, that’s ah, you guys aren’t cheap
Director Skoien: OK, so now the other ones?
[Once again, I believe the issue is not whether availability fees were paid when Mr. Porter purchased the property because he obviously needed water for the planned development that never materialized, the important question is: HOW LONG HAVE AVAILABILIITY FEES BEEN PAID BY THESE PROPERTIES? I do not know, but hopefully the information will be forthcoming and this issue can be decided once and for all.]
My best to you and yours, Lew