Zone 7 Meeting - June 15, 2022
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
June 15, 2022
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: SANDY FIGUERS
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
MICHELLE SMITH MCDONALD
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, FINANCE
CAROL MAHONEY, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS MANAGER
LIZZIE FOSS, FINANCIAL ANALYST
ATHENA WATSON, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER
KEVIN PADWAY, ASSISTANT PLANNER
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
COUNSEL: REBECCA SMITH, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Closed Session
The Board went into Closed Session at 6:31 p.m. Directors Figuers arrived at 6:42 p.m. The Board came out of Closed Session at 6:53 p.m.
Item 2 -
President Ramirez Holmes called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
President Ramirez Holmes stated that during Closed Session the Board completed negotiations between the employees' bargaining units and Zone 7. The Board approved resolutions granting salary increases for Alameda County Management Employees Association represented
classifications, the Building Trades Council of Alameda County, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 1021 of the Service Employees International Union, and unrepresented classifications. Salary increases are 6% effective June 26, 2022, 5% effective June 25, 2023, and 4% effective June 23, 2024. A resolution was also approved amending a section of Appendix A, footnotes to the salary schedule amending Section 7.6, Professional and Human Resources Certificate fee, amending Section 2.5, Food allowance, deleting Section 2.14, Heavy Equipment Operator, amending Section 2.3, Food allowance, amending Section 7.4, Professional Engineer License fee, and amending Section 7.7, Professional in Human Resources Certificate fee.
Item 3 -
Item 4 -
4. Roll Call of Directors - all Directors were present.
Item 5 -
Eddie Alvarez, Business Representative for the Alameda County Building Construction Trade Council thanked the Board for approving their contract.
President Ramirez Holmes stated that the Board appreciates all Zone 7 staff, and she appreciated Mr. Alvarez's feedback as well.
Item 6 -
President Ramirez Holmes pulled Item 6b to be discussed after Item 12. Director Palmer moved to approve Items 6a, 6c, 6d, 6e, 6f, 6g, 6h, 6i, and 6j. Director Green seconded the motion. The motion was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 7 -
Director Smith McDonald made a motion to approve the Regular Board Meeting minutes of May 15, 2022, and Director Palmer seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 8 -
President Ramirez Holmes read the Commendation Resolution honoring Director Michelle Smith McDonald whose term ends June 30, 2022. Members of the Board congratulated Director Smith McDonald and thanked her for her service. President Ramirez Holmes moved to approve the Resolution and Director Green seconded the motion. The Resolution was unanimously approved 7-0.
Item 9 -
Lizzie Foss, Financial Analyst, presented the proposed two-year budget to the Board covering the agency's budget process and the Board's recommendations from the June 1st Budget Workshop. After the budget is adopted, staff will send the approved budget to the County to be adopted by June 30th.
Director Green asked if 20% conservation was reached, and how much below the minimum requirement for economic uncertainties Zone 7 would be. Ms. Foss replied if 20% conservation was achieved and the rates were lowered from 6 to 4%, about $1.4 million of the $3 million in the reserve would be used for economic uncertainties. Zone 7 would be below the minimum requirement by about $1.6 million. Director Green asked if there would still be funding in the reserves and Ms. Foss confirmed yes.
Director Gambs asked if staff are proposing to raise the fixed charge increase and Ms. Foss replied that at the Budget Workshop she mentioned that the percentage increase did include the fixed charge increase, adding that the fixed component would be increased even when rates were lowered. Director Gambs asked if staff have discussed this with the retailers and President Ramirez Holmes confirmed staff has and that there is a schedule of rates that was set in the 2018 water rates study.
Director Palmer moved to approve the proposed budget and Director Sanwong seconded the motion. The proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2022-23 and 2023-24 was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 10 -
Athena Watson, Associate Engineer, presented the Award of Construction Phase Contracts for the Mocho Groundwater Demineralization Plant, Concentrate Conditioning System. Ms. Watson stated that the scope of the project is the construction of new sulfuric acid storage and feed system and associated work, and it also includes the replacement of the concentrate pumps and variable frequency drives (VFD). The benefits of the project are to mitigate the buildup of scale as well as improve redundancy with new pumps and VFDs. Ms. Watson stated that there was a bid opening on May 24th and three bids were received. The lowest responsive and responsible bidder was Mountain Cascade Inc., with a bid of $4,457,045.
Director Sanwong asked what the timeline for the project is and Ms. Watson replied a little over a year. Director Sanwong asked if the Board could be updated on the project's status during that time and President Ramirez Holmes assured Director Sanwong that there will be. Valerie Pryor, General Manager, added that staff provides quarterly reports on all Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects.
Director Gambs moved to approve the project and Director Palmer seconded the motion. The Resolution was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 11 -
Kevin Padway, Assistant Planner, presented the Special Conservation Rebate for the Positano Homeowners Association (HOA) located in Dublin. Mr. Padway stated that the project consists of upgrading 26 conventional irrigation controllers to smart controllers giving the capability to remotely program the units. The 26 irrigation controllers are responsible for irrigating over 25 acres of landscaping, including grasses, shrubs, and ground covers. The project is being undertaken by the HOA and the rebate would be directly issued to the HOA.
President Ramirez Holmes asked how this project came about and Mr. Padway replied that it started at least dating back to October of 2021 and Zone 7 and the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) were approached by the HOA to help with the project.
Director Smith McDonald asked if this is the beginning of a new program for Zone 7 or a one-time project.
Ms. Pryor stated that staff is on the lookout for these types of special projects and generally work with the retailers or other institutional organizations such as school districts to identify projects that would have a larger amount of water savings. She added it is more efficient working with one organization rather than with multiple homeowners.
Director Smith McDonald shared her concerns about other HOAs hearing about this program and wanted to know if staff would be prepared for that.
Ms. Pryor stated that Zone 7 rebates are up to 50% of the cost of controllers but in this case, Zone 7 is rebating 25% of the cost of the controller, adding that this is consistent with its other projects. Ms. Pryor feels that if every HOA in the Tri-Valley wanted to do a project like this with significant cost savings, she thinks it could be something to consider.
Carol Mahoney, Government Relations and Integrated Water Resources Manager, added that DSRSD does not have a separate rebate program for irrigation controllers. It is done through Zone 7 so the Agency offers the rebates. She added that staff would consider these requests on a case-by-case basis.
Director Gambs asked if there are any plans to post something about entertaining similar proposals. Rebecca Smith, General Counsel, responded that this is a one-time special circumstance, and the Board could decide as a matter of policy how to handle this going forward, but they are not required to offer the same deal to the next development that came along.
Ms. Pryor added that staff have informed the retailers that they would be interested in hearing about projects like this if they would have significate water savings.
President Ramirez Holmes asked if they are on recycled water. Mr. Padway replied that they are on potable water because this is coming through the same service meter as their home. She then asked about the unit cost of a controller and Mr. Padway responded approximately $8,000 each. President Ramirez Holmes asked why the rebate would go to the HOA and Mr. Padway replied because they are paying for the upgrades.
Director Green asked for a comparison of providing the rebate to the HOA versus to a single-family home. Mr. Padway responded that the rebate comes out to about $37 per home and if each home had its own irrigation controller, they could potentially get up to $75 to upgrade each of those individual irrigation controllers.
Linda Kelly, Pleasanton resident, provided public comment.
President Ramirez Holmes asked what the total budget for rebates is and Mr. Padway replied for FY 2023-24 it is roughly $200,000 and this program would be about 20% of next year's budget. President Ramirez Holmes stated that she has concerns in terms of the budget and for projects like this that may come up in the future.
Director Palmer moved to approve the item and Director Figuers seconded the motion. The item passed 7-0 by a roll call vote.
The Board took a 5-minute break.
Item 12 -
Ms. Pryor stated that the Board approved some water transfers at the last meeting and the Agency should be able to get about 2,700 acre feet of transfer water this year which is about a third of what it was able to get last year. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has asked Zone 7 to plan for a potential fourth dry year next year, and a 0% allocation as well. Ms. Pryor stated that conservation will be key, and in May, water demands were 13% lower than in 2020. She also reminded everyone about the need to conserve more water during the summer and fall months and that staff is actively working with the retailers on messaging. President Ramirez Holmes asked what the plan is if conservation goals are not met. Ms. Pryor responded that the retailers are confident that they can get there; however, if things get worse, Zone 7 could go to water shortage contingency plan stage three and as it increases its stages, the amount of mandatory conservation for the retailers would go up, which would mean mandatory conservation, reducing the days people can water their landscaping.
Item 6b -
6. B. Consent Calendar Review and Update Board Policies
President Ramirez Holmes stated that the intent of the policy update was an administrative cleanup to become more transparent and to put the policies in one place and on the website. Ms. Pryor stated that this was an item in the Strategic Plan, initiative number 13, which was to review and update the Board policies. Some of these items may be more appropriate as practices rather than Board adopted policies so staff worked with the Ad Hoc Committee. Ms. Pryor added that any Board resolution that says, "the Board adopts this as a policy," got flagged as a policy. Items that adopted contracts or plans or practices that were not a policy were rescinded. The Ad Hoc Committee is recommending that the Board adopt the list of policies in the staff report and rescind the ones that are no longer needed or should have been officially rescinded. Ms. Pryor reminded the Board that these are broad policies. There are practices, plans, a mission statement, a vision statement, and values that are included in the Strategic Plan, so these policies are compatible with those but do not replace them.
Director Palmer stated that this is a living document. If a Board member feels something should be brought to the Board, or if a policy needs to be modified, rescinded, or introduced, that can be done. Ms. Pryor added that there are currently two new policies that are being developed, an audit policy and a fraud policy, and policy binders will be provided for the Board, management, and supervisors. She added that the policies will also be added to the website.
Director Gambs stated that he appreciated the effort and transparency and looks forward to receiving the binder.
Director Palmer moved to approve Item 6b and Director Green seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 7-0.
Item 13 -
Item 14 -
Director Palmer attended an Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Women in Water Workgroup on May 26th, and a tour of Shasta Dam and Shasta Lake on June 2nd.
President Ramirez Holmes attended the Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, along with Directors Figuers, Green, and Sanwong. She also stated that she continues to attend the Los Vaqueros Joint Powers Authority (JPA) meetings where they are setting up policies and procedures.
Director Green attended a Delta Conveyance briefing earlier in the day and mentioned that the EPA has just put out health advisories, not regulations, for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. She said the numbers are lower than what she expected, and feels it is worth paying attention to.
Item 15 -
Item 16 -
Ms. Pryor stated that there were a number of typical monthly reports and a lot of ground was covered during the Board meeting in most areas of the agency.
Item 17 -
President Ramirez Holmes adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m.