By Gregg Scott
The May 24 meeting opened in the usual manner and the first business item on the agenda after public comment was the interview and potential appointment of new board members. There were letters of interest submitted to the board by Arthur Tharpe, Arnold Bustamante and Kimberly Green. Each candidate was asked the same six questions with first answers for each question being rotated. After 20 or so minutes of questioning by the board, Kimberly Green and Arthur Tharpe were nominated to be accepted as the new board members. The nominations were approved unanimously. After being given the oath of office, the two new board members were seated with the existing board.
General Manager Adam Cox gave a financial report that reflects the status as of April 30. The different departments show the following status: Streetlights are in the red by $23,000; Water department is in the black by $72,000; Sewer is in the black by $161,000: Fire Department is in the black by $240,000 and the Ambulance is in the red by $254,000. The district is projecting a net loss by end of fiscal year. Cox recommended some adjustments to the budget which the board subsequently adopted and were approved. Cox will have a proposed 2022/2023 fiscal year budget at June 28 board meeting.
During his GM Report, Cox revisited the special “CPUD 101” meeting on May 12. He noted that it was attended by about 20 to 30 members of the public and he hopes to hold additional meetings to further explain the workings of CPUD.
The district has formed a Technology Committee to look into items that will help with smoother office operations such as updating the website, performing a needs analysis for computer replacements and improving board meeting room technology. Other improvements would also include the utility billing system, meter reading, and developing an internal electronic use policy
Captain Chris Dean read a written report by Acting Fire Chief Joe Waterman. The report stated that $15,000 had been received from PG&E with a final payout of $35,000 to come in July. The ISO evaluation team was in town earlier this month. Their rating system has changed, but Chester Fire maintained their current rating. Board member Royce Raker asked about the Main Street building, to which Cox replied it was up and running. It seems the ISO score has lost a couple of points due to the existence of the two buildings.
Cox reported that the law firm of Baron and Budd had been recommended by CPUD counsel to represent the district in any PG&E litigation. Baron and Budd is already representing City of Susanville, City of Chico, and other counties affected by the Dixie Fire. They would be seeking direct and/or indirect damages for the district, such as overtime and water used by other fire departments. The board approved entering into an agreement with Baron and Budd.
Water Rate CPI Increase
A public hearing was held pursuant to Resolution #407 proposing a 3 percent increase in water rates effective July 1 of this year. There was no public comment or questions on this item. The increase was approved by the board.
Streetlight Service Charge
The board approved setting a public hearing on creating a tax fee to pay for the streetlight charges. The hearing is scheduled for June 28.
GM Cox recommended that a study be conducted on ‘Other Post Employment Benefits’ (OPEB) and further recommended that the firm of Bartel & Associates be chosen to complete the study. The purpose of the study would be to analyze the cost/benefits of current and future retirement health benefits and make recommendations to the board if changes are needed. The board voted to approve an agreement with Bartel & Associates.