Zone 7 Meeting - January 18, 2023
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
January 18, 2023
The following were present:
DIRECTORS PRESENT: DAWN BENSON
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
DIRECTORS ABSENT: SANDY FIGUERS
STAFF PRESENT: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
HEATH MCMAHON, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER - ENGINEERING
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER - FINANCE
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY, COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
ELKE RANK, ASSOCIATE PLANNER
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
GENERAL COUNSEL: REBECCA SMITH, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Call Zone 7 Water Agency Meeting to Order
President Palmer called the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors to order at 7:05 p.m.
Item 2 - Closed Session
Closed Session was canceled.
Item 3 -
Closed Session was canceled so there was nothing to report.
Item 4 -
President Palmer led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Item 5 -
Director Figuers was absent.
Item 6 -
There was no public comment.
Item 7 -
Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve Items 7a, 7b, 7c, and 7d. Director Benson seconded the motion. The items were approved by a roll call vote of 5-0 with Director Figuers absent.
Item 8 -
Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve the Regular Board Meeting Minutes of December 21, 2022, and Director Green seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a roll call vote of 5-0 with Director Figuers absent.
Item 9 -
Alexandra Bradley, Communications Specialist, presented the biannual Communications Update that included an update on the strategic plan progress, an overview of general agency outreach, drought and conservation messaging, and a measurement of outreach effectiveness.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked if any more social media platforms would be included in the outreach plan, and in particular Twitter. Ms. Bradley responded that they are looking into adding Instagram, but Twitter is not in the plan.
Director Green asked if there are any anticipated changes with communicating to the public in terms of the recent storms. Ms. Bradley responded that she participated in a Drought Committee with other agencies, and she thought they collaborated rather well. She added that once everything is wrapped up, the Committee will look at where they performed well, and where they might have had lapses in communication, or where they can improve.
Item 10 -
Elke Rank, Water Resources Planner, gave a presentation on Zone 7's response to the recent storms stating that staff coordinated with cities, the Department of Water Resources and Emergency Operations Centers.
Ms. Rank stated that many departments in the Agency came together to make a difficult situation as smooth as possible. Staff dealt with debris removal and downed trees, provided sand and sandbags to the public, and coordinated with retailers and other government entities to communicate information to the public.
Director Gambs thanked staff for all their hard work. He added that in the development of the Flood Management Plan, the channel maintenance part of that program is very important and the documentation on these current storms and damage would be a great asset to the consultants when assessing what needs to be accomplished.
Director Ramirez Holmes also thanked staff for their hard work, especially during the holidays. She stated that she received and had very little access to information that she could share with her constituents and on social media. She also said she didn't receive any information on the Lake Del Valle releases, only what she saw from the media. Director Ramirez Holmes encouraged staff to utilize the Board to spread information and asked staff to evaluate the process for disseminating information.
President Palmer agreed with Director Ramirez Holmes and added that she was able to get some information from her water industry contacts to place on her personal website, but would like to get more from Zone 7.
Both Directors Benson and Green agreed with Director Ramirez Holmes and President Palmer.
Director Green asked about aquifer recharge and Valerie Pryor, General Manager, responded that staff believes the basin storage increased by approximately 3000 acre-feet.
Public comment was received by Sandy Christman, a Pleasanton resident, and Kelly Abreu, a Fremont resident.
The Board took a 5-minute break.
Item 11 -
Heath McMahon, Assistant General Manager - Engineering, gave a presentation on the Chain of Lakes PFAS treatment project and financing options. Mr. McMahon discussed the Chain of Lakes wells and applicable PFAS regulations, well water quality analysis, the treatment facility, and funding for the project. Mr. McMahon presented two funding options to the Board. The first financing option presented was a bond financing, which Mr. McMahon mentioned was the fastest method to get the Chain of Lakes (COL) Wells back into service. The second option presented was waiting to see if staff can secure a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan for the project. This option would keep the COL wells out of service through late 2025 or 2026.
Director Ramirez Holmes stated that the Finance Committee did not approve forwarding to the financing option and reimbursement resolution to the full board. She added that the Finance Committee and the Board chose SRF as the best option in May 2021, and she wanted to know what took place since then.
Osborn Solitei, Treasurer/Assistant General Manager - Finance, stated that staff submitted the general application for the SRF loan in December 2021, which was after the Board granted approval to do so. Mr. Solitei added that staff had to wait until 100% of the design was complete to forward to send the technical, financial, and environmental applications to SRF. The 100% design was just completed in December 2022.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked why the options weren't brought to the Finance Committee and Mr. Solitei responded that it was first brought to the Finance Committee with a reimbursement resolution as an option. President Palmer added that at the December Board meeting, it was requested under 'future agenda items' that an item be brought to the Board in January for what plans are their do deal with the COL wells. At that time Director Ramirez Holmes stated that she wanted it to go back to the Finance Committee before the full Board. President Palmer stated that the Board can look at recommendations from the Finance Committee, but they are just recommendations and that she made the decision to bring this item to the full Board so that staff can get going on the project.
Director Gambs stated that action needs to be taken now to be able to meet demands of our customers and because the COL wells are close to a quarter of the well supply.
Director Green asked if bonds could be refinanced if rates go down and Mr. Solitei responded yes. She asked how many wells were out of commission and Mr. McMahon replied that four are down due to PFHxS and one is down due to mechanical failure.
Public comment was received by Jill Buck, a resident of Pleasanton.
President Palmer read two emails from the public. One from Susan Wacek and the other from Christina Williams.
Director Ramirez Holmes stated that she wanted it to be clear that the Board isn't voting on a bond, but rather a reimbursement resolution.. She asked what the implications are on the water rates. Ms. Pryor responded that the water rates did envision some amount of debt service for this project; close to the SRF rate, a little less than what bond financing might be. She added that budgets and water rates are just estimates and staff have applied for grants.
Director Green made a motion to accept staff's recommendation and Director Gambs seconded the motion. The item passed with a roll call vote of 3-2 with Directors Benson and Ramirez Holmes dissenting.
Item 12 -
No comments were received from the Board.
Item 13 -
President Palmer attended a meeting with the ACWA Housing Identification Worker Group to discuss meter sizes and what happens with multi-dwelling units . She also attended a meeting with ESRAG (Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group).
Director Ramirez Holmes reported that the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority voted to reappoint her as Chair last week. She added that on December 20th, they received WIIN ACT funding of $18 million which brings the total of federal funding for the project to a $100 million. The Los Vaqueros JPA will start meeting in person in February and on the second Wednesday of every month at Zone 7. She will also attend the ACWA State Legislative Committee meeting on January 20th.
Item 14 -
Director Ramirez Holmes mentioned that she spoke with Valerie Pryor about placing a little free library at one of Zone 7's locations. Ms. Pryor responded that it is in the works to have one placed at the Parkside location. Director Ramirez Holmes asked for a report back to the Board with a timeline on the project.
Director Green announced that the Tri-Valley Air Quality Community Alliance is doing their annual survey and can be accessed on www.tvaqca.org.
Item 15 -
Valerie Pryor mentioned that Zone 7 was awarded the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation, having met a number of transparency requirements. Ms. Pryor added that although there has been a lot of precipitation and some increases in storage, we are not out of the drought just yet.
Director Gambs mentioned that there is a vacancy on the Board of Directors with applications due January 25th.
Item 16 -
President Palmer adjourned the meeting at 9:25 p.m.