After a lengthy discussion that covered familiar territory, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District finally voted to put out to bid the plans for the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant.
Since February when General Manager Hank White first asked for board approval to get bids on the plant, the topic has come up repeatedly, with board members Ray Griffiths and Norm Krizl consistently voting to move forward while Kathy Otermat, Bonnie McLane and Maria Capraun have just as consistently voted against.
Over the last three months, the board has mired itself in the minutia of the financing and engineering of the plant. At Tuesday’s meeting, Capraun reported that they still had not had a meeting with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). McLane, Capraun and Otermat hoped such a meeting would result in CDPH giving the district more time to comply with the state mandate or suggesting a less expensive alternative.
Capraun then put forth several motions that failed to gain support from a majority of the board. One was to go out to bid and do a value engineering process at the same time. However, Krizl objected, saying that no contractor would want to bid on a project that was being redesigned at the same time. The district should do one or the other, he advised.
Krizl, who had previously voiced his objection to value engineering, went on to say, “We’ve heard from somebody who’s been intimately involved in the engineering of this project that the value engineering doesn’t make any sense because they already gone through and cleaned up everything that they possibly could.”
With no support from other board members for that action, Capraun then motioned to undertake a value engineering process, but that suggestion drew even more objections. Interim General Manager Kelly Shively reminded the board that project bids might come back less than expected and value engineering might not be needed. Krizl also brought up that if they pursue value engineering, a Proposition 50 grant for $685,550 could be lost because of a missed deadline.
Shively had previously informed the board that CDPH told him the grant will likely be in jeopardy if the funding agreement is not executed prior to June 30. That funding agreement includes having a bid from a contractor to do the retrofit of ALT. However, McLane said she didn’t feel CDPH’s warning necessarily meant the funds would be lost.
Walter Driggs, a past president of GDPUD, then warned the board that it was doing things the staff should be doing and if they didn’t have enough staff, they should hire more.
“You guys are breaking laws,” he said. “You’re going down the wrong path. You’ve got to remember what your responsibilities are and you aren’t meeting your responsibilities — period.”
Different audience members also raised doubts about the value engineering process. Resident Ed Grout said value engineering is usually reserved for mass-produced products and didn’t think the district would save the amount of money promised by Psomas. Concurring with Grout were residents Ray Kringel and Dale Miller.
Other audience members suggested the deficit in financing the project be made up either with bonds or having the contractor finance the difference.
With little audience support for value engineering, the board voted to put the plans out to bid. Shively pointed out that the plans for the plant are not yet ready to be released. He said they were at 100 percent in January, but additional cleanup work is needed which could take up to a month. Once that is finished, they will be released to the seven contractors already pre-qualified to bid on the project. The topic of value engineering will be taken up again at the June board meeting.
In other actions taken by the board, Krizl complained about the errors and omissions in the board’s minutes, which are currently being prepared by different board members. Because they are official records, he asked that staff do them but said there was no longer anyone there to do them “because five different staff members have been chased from the district.” He said the district should be hiring more help rather than spending “thousands and thousands of dollars on attorneys to review policies.” At that, McLane suggested he have a time-out to which Krizl responded, “Yes mom.” Instead McLane said she would revise the minutes and bring them back to the next meeting. Resident Jack Podsedly offered to help.
A preliminary budget for the next fiscal year was discussed. It will be brought back for approval at the June board meeting.
Also discussed was a Sensus meter reading system and a system for accepting credit card payments. Those items will be discuss further in June. New board policies were presented for approval, but since not all of them had been reviewed by interim Counsel John Knowlton, they will be brought back to the next meeting for approval. Otermat, McLane and Capraun voted to pay him to review them. Griffiths and Krizl voted against.
A decision to go ahead and hire an office manager was put off until the next meeting because of changes to the job description. Shively questioned why two board members were listed on the interview committee since the person would be reporting to him. Capraun said it would help to weed out candidates, but Krizl complained about it being another example of micromanaging by the board and said Shively should do the hiring.
The board also voted its support for the upcoming Georgetown Kid’s Fishing Derby at Lake Walton.
The next regular meeting of the board will be on June 11 at 9 a.m. at the district office.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.