08-24-10 Meeting Minutes


DATE: August 24, 2010
PLACE:  Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, California
MEETING TYPE:  BRECA Steering Committee Meeting


Paul Bowers
Lori Christensen
Gay Jones
Jim Morgan
Rick Sloan

  1.  Welcome from Chair Gay Jones
  2. Guest Speaker Evan Jacobs (California American Water Company)
    Evan Jacobs, with the California American Water Company (Cal Am) gave an overview of the current Cal Am situation.  He stated that Cal Am is owned by American Water, which is the largest private water utility in the U.S.  Because it is a private utility, ratemaking power is held by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  There are 10 areas around Sacramento that are served by Cal Am.  The BRECA area is called the Suburban area, and is next to the Rosemont area.  Water rates have increased by a factor of three (3) since 2002.  This is due mainly to capital improvements, such as the new water tank in Rosemont.  Cal Am’s water source is mainly ground water.  They are shifting to using more surface water.  Surface water will be used during the winter when there is a lot of water in the rivers, and ground water will be used during the summer when the rivers are lower.  This is called conjunctive use.  A law was passed in 2005 that requires conversion to metered rates by 2025.  The cost of meter retrofit is about $58 million total.  Spending on this is about $8 million per year.  He stated that Cal Am water rates are not the highest nor the lowest in the region.There were a number of questions and comments.  Many had to do with specific service problems.  Several people stated that the past and proposed future rate increases are exorbitant.  Mr. Jacobs stated that people should contact the CPUC about their concerns.  One question was whether we are penalized for using less water, as many costs are fixed.  Mr. Jacobs stated that about 80% of Cal Am costs are fixed costs, so if water use drops, then rates per unit used could go up to compensate.  Another question was whether the capital projects could be delayed to reduce rate increases.  Mr. Jacobs stated that this can be done, but necessity is in the eye of the beholder.  For example, the CPUC encourages early installation of water meters.  One comment was that the more Cal Am invests, the more profit they can make.  Another question was whether we could convert to a public water system.  Mr. Jacobs stated that it had been done, but there is still the water bill plus buyout and startup costs.
  1. Minutes for July 2010
    Paul Bowers made a motion to accept the draft minutes.  Lori Christensen seconded the motion.  The motion was approved unanimously.
  1. Reports
    1. CORPAC
      Paul Bowers reported that the Cordova Area Planning and Advisory Council (CORPAC) had no meeting last month.
    2. Treasurer’s Report
      There was no Treasurer’s Report.
    3. Grassroots Working Group on Parks Funding
      Gay Jones reported that the “Grassroots Working Group” on County Regional Parks funding had reached the goal of $37,000 to fund the Trust for Public Land study of alternative funding mechanisms.
  1. Old Business
    1. Newsletter
      Jim Morgan stated that there is a problem with lack of volunteers to distribute the BRECA Newsletter in two areas on the west side.  He suggested that Newsletters be mailed to these two areas.  If no changes were made to the Newsletter, this would add about $330 to the costs, bringing total costs (including printing) to about $900.  Paul Bowers made a motion to raise the Newsletter authorization to $900.  Lori Christensen seconded the motion.  The motion was approved unanimously.
    2. Timing of Newsletter and Picnic
      After some discussion, it was decided to have the Picnic on October 2.  The Newsletter will come out after that date.
    3. Parkway Coalition Update
      See item 3c above.
    4. Mayhew Levee Project Update
      Jim Morgan stated that BRECA had sent a letter in July to the Corps of Engineers and Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) expressing our concerns about the restoration of the Kansas Access staging area and the lack of connection of the east end of the levee to high ground. No formal response had been received.  Informal communications (e-mail and phone) indicated that SAFCA and the Corps were refusing to have a small group meeting, but will have a community meeting in September.  On the east end, the choices have become a full Corps levee or “O & M,” i.e. sandbagging.  A written response  to the BRECA letter was received from a cc to the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board (CVRWCB).There had been a meeting with Janet Baker and Mary Maret from County Parks.  Mary gave information on the Kansas Access staging area plans.  These include some grading at each end, disc harrowing to 18 inches, and planting some trees, grasses and wildflowers.  Mary stated that she is interested in doing some digging to ascertain the depth of the construction pad.

      In related news, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100 year certification is to take effect on December 16, 2010, except for some properties subject to internal drainage problems.

      There was discussion about how to handle the situation.  It was stated that the Corps and SAFCA are scared of the CVRWCB, as the latter has regulatory authority derived from Federal law.  It was also stated that the Corps and SAFCA are looking to walk away from the staging area.  The disc harrowing would improve infiltration of water for a while, but after some rain the dirt will repack, and the runoff problem would return.  There was disagreement over whether sandbagging at the east end is an adequate long term solution.  Direction was given to follow up with a site meeting with Mary Maret, to reply to the CVRWCB, and also to send a letter to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board about the problem with the east end of the levee.

  1. New Business
    1. Cordova Recreation and Park District Candidate Forum – Request from Rosemont
      Gay Jones reported that Terry Duggan, with the Rosemont Community Association, requested that BRECA co-sponsor a candidate forum for the Cordova Recreation and Park District election.  It was agreed that this is OK in general, but that the responsibilities of the co-sponsor should be clarified.
    2. American River Clean-Up Day – BRECA host Gristmill?
      It was agreed that someone from BRECA would staff the table at Gristmill for the upcoming Great American River Clean-Up on September 26.
    3. Issues from the Floor
      There were no issues from the floor.
  1. Meeting adjourned.

The next Steering Committee meeting will be held on September 28, 2010 at the Rancho Cordova Library.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.