The Chester Public Utility District Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Feb. 18.
The first order of business was to announce a closed-door session by the board to include General Manager Frank Motzkus, to review his contract with the district and to deliberate on its expected renewal.
After reconvening, chairperson Steve Trotter made a motion to form an ad-hoc committee consisting of himself and director Joe Waterman to further evaluate Motzkus’ contract in a special meeting at a later date.
A brief conversation by board members raised some minor concerns over a few line items in the Financials Report, including a question about deposits collected from a lien to make payments owed to the district through a debtor’s tax assessment obligations, and an agreement by members to place the Waste Management franchise fees collected by the district in a separate account.
It was also decided to include the Ground Emergency Medical Transportation Supplemental Reimbursement Program funds, which provide subsidies that help partially defray the cost of ambulance services that Medi-Cal doesn’t pay, as a separate line item in the board packet on a month-by-month basis.
A motion was made to approve the Financials Report, with all board members present voting in the affirmative.
General Manager’s report
District General Manager Frank Motzkus reported that he has received a sixth grant payment from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in the amount of $3,122, and included a copy of the receipt of the approved reimbursement in the directors’ packets for their consideration.
A seventh request has been submitted for slightly over $5,000 and awaits approval by the Water Board.
The grant money is earmarked toward the costs associated with the project-planning phase to overhaul the wastewater collection system.
Grant payments are applied toward work undertaken by the Kahlen Group, an engineering firm that provides all paperwork and engineering plans for a newly proposed wastewater collection system.
The board could receive up to a maximum of $500,000 awarded for the planning phase, which would include inspecting several miles of sewer lines in Chester to determine how many of the lines need repair, and up to $8 million in grant money for capital improvements to the CPUD’s wastewater collection system.
He further stated that the company is creating a hydraulic model of the entire wastewater system that would have practical use for future upgrading.
Also mentioned at the meeting, after inputting all the graphical information on the city’s wastewater system specifications, Spacial Wave, a company that digitizes information, has plans for a hands-on training session for sanitation personnel in the use of new software that will be installed in hand-held computer tablets.
This would enable workers the ability to visualize where all the manhole covers are located, depth information and the network of underground pipes — those that are known — and their diameters while out in the field, along with other detailed information.
It was noted there are some old sewer pipes under the streets that no longer have records showing their exact placement.
Eventually the district wants to find the funds to hire a company to make a complete survey through the use of video equipment that will snake through the entire length and breadth of the sewer system, and later replace all deteriorated and leaking pipes with a more modern and durable system.
Commercial Pump & Mechanical of Chico is in the process of repairing well pump #2, said Motzkus. He said that there was a special meeting Feb. 11, which authorized the amount of $38,124.29 toward repairs.
Then the next day, Feb. 12, after further inspection an additional $6,549.76 was quoted by CPM to repair the rotor assembly and replace the clutch bearing on the pump.
Motzkus said the company highly recommended that these components be replaced due to their condition, which he authorized them to perform.
A video made of the well casing showing its deteriorated condition is available for board members to review, he added.
Motzkus said that the auditor from Dennis Cooper & Associates was at CPUD headquarters from Jan. 27 to 29 to complete collecting the data needed to perform the FY 2018/19 audit.
It will take a few weeks to finish the audit and put together the results, he noted.
Motzkus said he was told that a preliminary check of the nearly completed audit appeared good and there were no major problems expected by the auditing team.
Waste Management franchise fees
The Waste Management ad-hoc committee composed of directors Joe Waterman and Steve Graffweg met Feb. 4 to discuss at length the Waste Management franchise fee agreement.
On Feb. 13, the ad-hoc committee met with Diana Ramirez of Waste Management and shared with her the responses from the CPUD’s attorney regarding questions raised by her company along with document modifications; then went through the draft Franchise Agreement contract and provided feedback on what was likely to be a fee hike charged to Waste Management.
A final draft version of the contract should be ready for the board to review by the March board meeting Motzkus said.
Minor issues in water system
Lead supervisor Allen Homme and his crew have been working on addressing some minor issues with the water system raised by the State Water Resources Control Board after an inspection was performed Nov. 18.
Motzkus made a copy of the inspection report available to the board for their perusal.
Fire Chief’s report
CFD Fire Chief Brian Layne said CalFire would continue to store one of its fire engines at Chester FD and to pay rent for the duration of the winter until construction of the new firehouse is done in Westwood.
Despite receiving approximately $800,000 from USFS in recent payments for services rendered by fire personnel during the 2019 fire season, a conference call was made between Layne and the USDA Deputy Chief of the Pacific Southwest and Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office regarding past due monies still owed to the CFD.
Layne said multiple documents were requested and sent to the parties to work on to help get the reimbursements still owned to the CFD of around $310,000 that is apparently being delayed by USFS.
A sum of $176,184.81 in fire money was received for two tribal incidents late last month he added.
“We’re still waiting to hear back from Plumas County Building and Planning to ensure there are no code conflicts with 2019 California Fire Code Title 24 Part 9,” Layne informed board members. Fire codes must be updated continuously as part of any new state fire or building code laws that have been enacted.
OES meeting planned
Layne said he and other fire personnel would attend the Office of Emergency Services Region III spring meeting May 27 in Chico.
The district has received $500 in rent from a property it owns in downtown Chester; another $500 from rent to house a CalFire fire engine; $9,885 from the VFA grant; $1,050 from the Waste Management franchise fee; and $257,517.32 total for 2019-2020 parcel tax apportionment money from the county.
Responses and ambulance billings for January:
The fire department had a total of 35 calls, including one fire call; 14 calls for EMS in Chester; one patient transfer to their home; four calls for Inter-Facility Flight Transfers for emergency treatments; two IFT long distance calls; one traffic collision; seven public assist calls; one false alarm; and four hazardous situations.
The district billed out $48,867.95 for ambulance service and received $19,287.95 so far.
The next CPUD regular board meeting is scheduled in the CPUD/CFD conference room at 3 p.m. on March 17, located at 251 Chester Airport Road in Chester, adjacent to Rogers Field Airport. The public is invited to attend. For information, call the district office, 258-2171.