Zone 7 Meeting - September 20, 2023
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
September 20, 2023
The following were present:
Directors: Dawn Benson
Angela Ramirez Holmes
Staff: Valerie Pryor, General Manager
Osborn Solitei, Treasurer/Assistant General Manager - Finance
Jarnail Chahal, Acting Assistant General Manager - Engineering/Operations
Ken Minn, Groundwater Resources Manager
Tom Rooze, Associate Geologist
Donna Fabian, Executive Assistant
General Counsel: Rebecca Smith, Downey Brand
Item 1 - Call Zone 7 Water Agency Meeting to Order
President Figuers called the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors to order at 7:05 p.m.
Item 2 - Closed Session
The Board went into Closed Session at 5:30 p.m. and came out of Closed Session at 6:28 p.m.
Item 3 -
President Figuers stated that there was nothing to report out of Closed Session.
Item 4 -
President Figuers led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Item 5 -
All Directors were present.
Item 6 -
Public comment was received from Art Hull.
Item 7 -
Director Palmer made a motion to approve the Regular Board Meeting minutes of August 16, 2023, and Director Narum seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a voice vote of 6-0 with Director Ramirez Holmes abstaining.
Item 8 -
Director Palmer made a motion to approve the Consent Calendar and Director Ramirez Holmes seconded the motion. The Consent Calendar was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 9 -
Shelisa Jackson, Human Resources Manager, provided the Board with an overview of Human Resources (HR) activities for the past year. Ms. Jackson stated that HR provides strategic planning, workforce and management consultation, recruitment and staffing, conflict resolution, training and development, employee and labor relations, and employee health and safety.
Ms. Jackson added that HR staff completed a new employee orientation and onboarding program, held new supervisor training, completed standardized operating procedures, and are performing classification reviews/studies. She stated that HR staff has a dedicated email address, provides a bi-weekly report to all staff, and started a suggestion box program. Ms. Jackson gave a summary of the types of training that have taken place and how much money staff expended under the tuition reimbursement program. She then highlighted the employee engagement activities over the past year.
Item 10 -
Valerie Pryor, General Manager, stated that Item 10 is a regional groundwater development concept in collaboration with the City of Pleasanton to address wells that are out of service due to PFAS. Ken Minn, Groundwater Resources Manager, presented the concept that covered background information; updates on the groundwater model upgrade and Well Master Plan; an assessment of the PFAS plume condition under the upcoming MCL; identifying the needs for supplemental supplies; the cost assessment of different options; and the next steps and staff recommendation.
Mr. Minn was asked to describe the characteristics of a sentinel well and how it is different. He explained that they are monitoring wells that detect contamination in the Hopyard wellfield, which are clean and highly producing wells. Staff want to ensure that plume never gets to these wells or slow its presence down for as long as possible.
Director Ramirez Holmes inquired about the conceptual location, and Mr. Minn responded in a well-developed urbanized area. One of the institutional synergies Zone 7 will gain in collaborating with Pleasanton is developing a project that will help its residents as well as the region. The street would be cut once for two entities as opposed to cutting it twice.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked to include the community involvement impact in the future report and presentation. She noted that Zone 7 will conduct thorough testing at these locations before placing wells because there are plumes nearby. Community impacts will also be closely examined.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked staff to clearly identify the potential new well locations.
Director Narum asked about how the 3,500 AF would enter the Pleasanton distribution after treatment at the Hopyard wellfield. Mr. Minn explained that there are turnouts specific to Pleasanton.
Ms. Pryor described the process after staff received direction from the Board.
Director Narum asked Mr. Minn to share how the Agency plans to manage and prevent degradation. Mr. Minn emphasized that the Agency cannot clean up the plume; however, staff can develop the pumping scheme to contain or maintain the water quality. The natural gradient of the basin is to the west, so the plume will migrate in that direction if nothing is done. A mechanical device changing the flow or direction significantly impacts its movement. The model is not absolute, but there is an opportunity to hinder the plume movement.
The Directors recommended that staff continue pursuing a regional project in collaboration with the City of Pleasanton.
Item 11 -
Tom Rooze, Associate Geologist, gave a presentation about hydrogeologic investigations and the groundwater model update. This project is needed to support ongoing sustainable groundwater management, development, and quality. Mr. Rooze gave some background on the project and then discussed groundwater models and their limitations. He stated that models are good for predicting trends, but not specific values. They are also constant and unable to show geological changes caused by the mining pits and ponds in the Livermore Valley Basin. He described the existing Livermore Valley Basin groundwater model and explained that it needs to be updated because it is based on an old delineation of the basin, which does not include the entire basin. Moreover, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) recommends that Zone 7 manage the entire basin. An updated model is also required because of new studies and data sets, a new demand calculator, updated electronic logs, and data gaps. And the old model is difficult to run that a consultant is needed. Mr. Rooze described the scope of work for the project, which includes the following tasks:
1) administration, 2) field investigations, 3) update the 3D conceptual model, 4) update the groundwater model, 5) run simulations, 6) develop a decision support tool, 7) prepare a model user guide and training, and 8) as-needed support. After a competitive bid process, EKI Environment & Water was selected. The total budget is $1.21 million, which includes a 10% contingency. The project is scheduled for two years.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed discomfort at passing a resolution for more money than budgeted. She suggested splitting the project into two parts.
Director Ramirez Holmes motioned to approve the Resolution with an amendment to change the last paragraph to read, "not to exceed $800,000 in fiscal year '23/'24 with the remainder $410,000 in fiscal year '24/'25, which includes a 10% contingency." Director Palmer seconded the motion. The Resolution as amended was approved by a roll call vote of 6-1 with President Figuers opposed.
Item 12 -
Ms. Pryor stated that this item was considered by the Administrative Committee at two different meetings, and the Committee is generally supportive of Zone 7 providing some funding for candidate statements, but no more than 50%. The Committee recommends the Board consider two questions: should Zone 7 provide funding for candidate statements or not? And if yes, in what amount?
Director Ramirez Holmes asked how the California election code section on indigent candidates works for Zone 7 if someone is indigent. Rebecca Smith, General Counsel, stated that there is a process that a candidate needs to go through in order to receive an exemption from fees that are charged. Zone 7 would need to make a finding that the candidate is, in fact, indigent, and the Agency would then cover the costs of the candidate's statement. Ms. Smith added that it needs to be considered by Zone 7 and a separate policy would need to be established.
Director Ramirez Holmes stated that she has run for Zone 7 three times and has not spent any of her own money. She said there are plenty of ways to raise money. She added that she is against funding candidate statements but is in favor of pursuing an Election Policy. Director Palmer agreed with Director Ramirez Holmes that raising funds to cover the expenses of putting together a candidate statement is not difficult. Director Green stated that she was the one who brought this item forward and she thinks this is something the Board should consider. Director Narum stated that she does not support subsidizing the candidate statements, especially since it would affect untreated water users.
The Board agreed to not fund the Candidate Statements and for the Administrative Committee to develop an Election Policy.
Item 13 -
Ms. Pryor introduced this item and stated that this is the 11th Annual California Flood Preparedness Week which is being held October 21-28. Ms. Pryor added that Zone 7 is advertising on social media ad through a digital flood preparedness campaign. Zone 7 is also hosting an in-person Flood Preparedness Open House at the Administration building on Saturday, October 21st from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. which is free and open to the public.
Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve the Resolution and Director Palmer seconded the motion. The Resolution was approved by a voice vote of 7-0.
Item 14 -
There were no comments on the Committee notes.
Item 15 -
Director Palmer reported that she attended a Managing Water and Farmland Transitions in the San Joaquin Valley webinar on September 20th and will attend the ACWA Region 5 event on Friday. Director Ramirez Holmes attended Los Vaqueros Reservoir JPA (LVJPA) meetings and will be going to Washington DC next week for the LVJPA.
Item 16 -
Director Ramirez Holmes asked that an item be placed on a future agenda that would allocate funds to support workplace culture.
Item 17 -
There were no comments on the Staff Reports.
Item 18 -
President Figuers adjourned the meeting at 10:02 p.m.