Chester Public Utility District board members convened Oct. 15 to discuss several agenda items pertaining to district business, including the need to call Plumas Bank of Chester to find out whether the district could reinvest its existing 12-month CD when it matures, to an 18-month term that would still earn the same interest rate.
General Manager’s report
Chester District General Manager Frank Motzkus stated that the district has received the first grant payment in the amount of approximately $15,000 from the State Water Resources Control Board toward the planning phase of the wastewater collection system project.
The second request for another $8,000 in funds has also been processed, and once approved additional money is expected to arrive soon.
Finance Committee meeting
Motzkus said he met with the Finance Committee on Oct. 8 and CalPERS representative Karen Lookingbill gave a presentation regarding the California Employer’s Retiree Benefit Trust fund.
He said the trust would allow the district to “prefund” retiree benefits.
PG&E loan program
Motzkus said he signed up for the PG&E loan program to replace the existing fluorescent lighting with LEDs.
The change-out will save the district a significant amount of money each year and over the long term, according to EcoGreen Solutions, the company partnered with PG&E to make the modifications.
EcoGreen Solutions technicians changed several of the lighting fixtures as a demonstration on Oct. 9. If the new lights were found acceptable to board members, the company would replace all the lighting in the administration building, wastewater treatment plant buildings and firehouse.
The entire job should take no more than a couple of days to complete once the remaining work begins, he said.
Health benefit carrier update
Motzkus told the board that he has compared the health insurance benefits package now in place to other plans, and was happy to inform the members that the district’s current coverage is comparable to that of other plans.
Better coverage was available with some plans offering lower deductibles, but he said that it would cost the district in the neighborhood of $18,000 more per year.
Liability insurance rates
Motzkus has been working with Christian Mello of George Peterson Insurance Agency in an effort to reduce the district’s cost for liability and auto insurance for the fire department.
He remarked that recent communications has been on a positive note, with Mello saying a policy from Voluntary Firefighters Insurance System (VFIS) could be less expensive.
Motzkus said he has scheduled another meeting with him later in the month and would keep the board members updated when he received a new insurance estimate.
Water Shutoff Policy
Motzkus is working on a new “Water Shutoff Policy” which is required by the State of California. The new policy must be in place by April 1, 2020 and posted on the district’s website.
Waste Management contract
Diana Ramirez from Waste Management will be meeting with Motzkus on Dec. 25 to start discussions regarding the solid waste contract set to expire Dec. 31.
Fire Chief’s report
Interim Fire Chief Brian Layne said that fire engine 7222 is out of service with a ruptured main water tank and might end up being sold for parts, as repairs likely would be too expensive.
Fire engine 7251 is back in service for local response after some maintenance work was completed.
Now that an agreement on ambulance boundaries between Peninsula Fire, Indian Valley Fire Rescue, Plumas District Hospital and CFD has been finalized, the board voted on a resolution accepting the accord.
Interim Fire Chief Layne said he has been in contact with the ambulance billing company to ensure the billings for service is at industry standard rates, as well as making sure the department is getting the proper reimbursements owed to it.
He provided a handout to the directors showing the cost comparison to other rural ambulance districts, with billing rates being fairly close to each other.
In a continuing effort to receive full reimbursements for work performed during previous fire seasons, Interim Fire Chief Layne reiterated that he is still communicating with Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office for his help in collecting monies still owed to the CFD by the USFS and other fire agencies.
Layne said that despite the delay in full reimbursements to the CFD for fighting wildfires, the department had recently received $1,009,221.21 in invoices from state fire agencies, which covers fire services for the years 2017 and 2018.
Approximately one million dollars in payments is still outstanding, he said.
Chester Fire Department has purchased a number of field radios with monies from the Volunteer Firefighters Assistance grant. The radios have been programmed and are now in service.
The board was informed that there is still no word on FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the purchase of a new Chester Fire Department FD type III fire engine.
Rents and leases
The district received $500 this month in rent from its property at 198 Main St., another $1,500 from CalFire for personnel temporarily housed at the Chester Fire Station, along with $13,400 in State Water Resources Control Board grant monies, plus $9,969 in Ground Emergency Medical Transport money, and another $1,331.93 in Life Assist funds and from other sources.
Responses and ambulance billings for September:
There were 41 total calls for service in September. These included no fire responses, 10 calls for EMS in Chester and five outside town, two traffic collisions, three public assistance calls, three false alarms and one hazardous situation. Service also included seven inter-facility flight transfers, and three to airports for emergency treatments outside Chester. Seven team deployments were reported.
The district billed out $64,926.14 for ambulance services in September and received $36,365.80 in payments.
The next CPUD Board of Directors meeting will take place Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 3 p.m., in the CPUD/CFD conference room, 251 Chester Airport Road in Chester. The public is invited to attend. The office number is 258-2171.