CPUD raising water rates

Topics ranged from financial information to fire preparedness during the Chester Public Utility District meeting held June 18, but other topics such as officer elections and an insurance presentation were delayed due to a director’s absence.

General Manager’s report

Chester District General Manager Frank Motzkus informed the board that he still plans to work with the personnel committee soon to discuss how to fill the Emergency Services Director/Fire Chief position, currently held temporarily by Brian Layne.

SWRCB grant

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The State Water Resources Control Board has finally provided an agreement regarding the collection system grant application for the sewer system evaluation project, which could ultimately be worth millions in grant funding, Motzkus said.

“Greg Kohen and I are reviewing the document making sure all the ‘i’s are dotted and the ‘t’s crossed,” he said, adding that a special meeting is planned for the near future to pass a required resolution on the grant by board members.

Ethics training

The Plumas County Special Districts Association (PCSDA) has scheduled a harassment/ethics training class for late August.

The PCSDA provides an opportunity for special districts to share their concerns and experiences with a consolidated voice when the need arises to express special district functions and concerns.

Fire Chiefs report

The 2019 salary survey is in process, noted Interim Fire Chief Brian Layne, with results due by July 1.

Ham radio alliance

Layne said that the Ham Radio installations in the Almanor Basin went well and is fully functional.

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The informal alliance or cooperative consists of a number of amateur radio operators agreeing to place equipment at fire district facilities to provide communications backup in the event that there is a loss to the fire district’s usual communications capabilities.

Public information outreach

“I am participating in town walks with the Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce for public information-education purposes,” stated Layne.

Wildland fire exercise

Layne said that the five-hour wildland fire exercise went as planned on the Peninsula on May 29, with a very good showing by fire personnel.

The training opportunity was planned at the behest of Peninsula Fire to the OES, and included fire personnel from Chester Fire, Hamilton Branch, Almanor West, USFS and CalFire.

In addition, Litchfield and Madeline Fire Departments went door-to-door to hand out information to residents, and also assisted the California Highway Patrol, Plumas County Sheriff‘s Office and Plumas Search and Rescue during the exercise.

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Reimbursements

The Chester Fire Department had received $482,536.03 for fire services from state agencies and CalFire, and another $189.931.04 in tax revenues for the district.

Layne added that he is in constant communications with CAL OES regarding monies still outstanding that are owed to the fire department from last fire season.

Service calls and ambulance billing for May

There were a total of 34 service calls to the CFD in the month of May, including one fire call; no false alarms; 11 emergency medical responses in Chester, and three emergency calls outside Chester; 13 inter-facility flight transfers for emergency treatments; three traffic collisions reported; one hazardous situation; one airplane crash in Tehama County; and one call for public assistance.

The district billed out $75,223.90 for ambulance services and had received just $17,606.38 thus far for the month.

The next CPUD regular board meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, in the CPUD/fire station’s conference room at 251 Chester Airport Road. The public is welcome to attend. Phone: 258-2171.

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Water service rate increase
Recommended water rate increase. Courtesy of CPUD

The CPUD had sent out letters dated May 6 to notify the public of a Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase of 3 percent for water — the result of the annual adjustment in rates passed by majority vote by district board members, effective as early as July 1.

The adopted fiscal year 2018-2019 Operations and Maintenance budget showed a significant deficit and there was no money being set aside to repair or replace water equipment, according to a review by the utilities district.

A meeting was scheduled for June 18 for public comment on the proposed monthly rate increase, but was subsequently postponed until the next regular meeting July 16 when all the board members would be present.

In a written statement, it was noted that, “Chester Public Utility District has the responsibility to provide water, sewer, fire, emergency response and ambulance services. … The cost of providing water to Chester residents has increased since water service rates were last adjusted in 2017.

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“This increase will allow CPUD to provide the high level of service you have come to expect, and establishes a reserve fund for replacing water lines and equipment in the future.”

Contact General Manager Frank Motzkus at 258-2171 for questions on the water rate increase or email him at: [email protected]