Minutes of May,1997 Meeting
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF
BIG PARK REGIONAL COORDINATING COUNCIL (BPRCC)
May 22, 1997
Village of Oak Creek Community Center
1. Call to order: 9:00 am by President Craig Stromme, followed by pledge to Flag.
2. Roll Call. The following Representatives and Alternates signed the Roll Call sheet: Bob Aberg, Carol Agers, Dick Byrnes, Bob Carlile, Lynne Crowe, Craig Dible, Carolyn Fisher, Dorothy Hores, John Humphery, Joanne Johnson, Joan McClelland, Craig Stromme, Robert Wier, Harry Williams.
3. Secretary’s Report. There were two corrections to the Minutes of the April 24, 1997, Minutes: 1) Item 5: Lynne Crowe, not Joan McClelland, moved to allow the Wastewater Treatment Committee to be closed to new members, and 2) Item 5, Carolyn Fisher, not Carol Agers, volunteered to act as an information officer. Minutes approved. Secretary Carlile presented the status to-date of acquiring Directors and Officers Insurance (D/O Insurance). He stated that there have been two bids received and several yet to come in. The low bid of the two is for $1000 per year for $1 M(million) of liability coverage. Those protected would be all Representatives and Alternates. Bob Wier asked whether the Council needed such insurance since we are not a decision making body. In the ensuing discussion, there developed a consensus that we did need it, so it was moved by Secretary Carlile to spend a maximum of $1000 to purchase D/O insurance. Seconded. Aye: 10, Nay: 1, Abstain: 1. Motion passed. Finally, Secretary Carlile stated that the application for membership of Pinon Valley Estates is continuing.
4. President’s Report. Chip Davis sent President Stromme a letter stating that there is now a curfew in Yavapai County: anyone under 16 has to be home by 10:00pm, anyone 17-18 must be home by midnight. There are exceptions: married, they have a job, emergency.
5. Treasurer’s Report. We currently have 15 members all of whom are current in their dues. Total receipts to date are $1595 and expenditures to date are $211.58, leaving a balance of $1383.42. There are two one time expenses upcoming: obtaining tax-exempt status (our best-guess cost at this time is $480); becoming incorporated (approximate cost is $400). D/O insurance will be a continuing cost of about $1000 per year. We are considering a one-time surcharge to all members of $50 - $100 to cover the above one-time expenses. This surcharge will be presented and discussed at our June meeting.
6. Big Park Community Plan (BPCP) Committee. Chair Joan McClelland reported that the five sub-committees (Land Use, Transportation, Public Facilities, Parks and Recreation, Environmental Issues) have prepared draft reports. At the last meeting of the Committee on May 12, each Sub-Committee gave a copy of its report to the other Sub-Committees and are currently awaiting comments. Mike Rozycki, Director of Planning and Zoning, has requested a copy of the draft reports. He wants to know what direction we’re taking. This is welcome, since it is time to have professional planning help. We are planning another Committee meeting on June 9, and expect to have a county planner present. We have sent all minutes of our meetings to Chip Davis. An interesting item here is that the Parks and Recreation Sub-Committee has recommended a youth center; one possibility is that the existing fire station could be used for this purpose when the Fire Dept. moves out, if a Use Permit is issued by the County. Ms. McClelland does not believe that zoning would have to be changed. We’ll aim for a rough draft of the final BPCP report by about July 1. President Stromme emphasized that we need Saturday morning meetings to get input from the public. It was agreed that there would be a Saturday morning public meeting in July. President Stromme emphasized that the BPCP is primarily informational and visionary. It currently consists of an overlay map which designates areas as, for example, commercial, high, medium, and low-density, without specifying the actual County zoning designation or being specific about such issues as landscaping or type of architecture allowed. Ms. McClelland pointed out that although that was generally true about the current revision, some Sub-Committees and including some specific requirements in their reports. Bob Aberg said that standing Committees of the Council should have a chance to review the plan, which Ms. McClelland strongly endorsed. President Stromme suggested the following timetable: conduct a public meeting in July, then bring the plan to the Council at the July meeting for discussion, then have a finalized report by the August Council meeting. Dorothy Hores suggested that after the July Council meeting, that the Homeowner’s Associations be solicited for their input.
7. Wastewater Treatment Committee (WTC). Co-Chair Bob Carlile stated that with the passage of HB2079, the Supervisors will be transferring control of the Big Park Wastewater Treatment Plant (BPWTP) to the Big Park Improvement District, to be administered by a Board of Directors appointed by the Supervisors, probably within 6 months. Consequently, the WTC has been meeting at least weekly with Jennifer Bartos of the County to gather information on the operation of BPWTP, and WTC has now completed a report (passed out to Reps and Alts) describing this operation. Co-Chair Ruth Kane summarized the report. The current plant was built in 1996 and has a capacity of 500,000 gallons per day (GPD). Currently it processes 267,000 GPD with reserve capacity expected to increase the amount processed to 480,000 GPD by late 1998. User fees to residential customers were increased by 50% recently, while commercial customers saw an increase based not only on the 50% rate increase but also on an audit of facilities on their property. There has been criticism that commercial rates are based on this audit and not on water consumption. Some commercial customers have seen their rates increase by over a factor of 10. There will be discussed at the May 27 Supervisor’s Meeting a proposal to increase the Buy-in fee (currently $2100 for residential customers). These funds go into a capital account to be used for Plant expansion. Environmental and planning issues were also discussed by Ruth Kane. In addition to the report, WTC is preparing a brochure summarizing the report which will be sent to all homeowners of the Council members. Bob Carlile moved that the Council sponsor an informational meeting in Big Park area and that County personnel be invited to attend to answers questions from persons within the community. Seconded/Passed (Note: this meeting has been scheduled to be jointly held with the June Council Meeting on June 26, 1997).
8. New Business.
A. Presentation by Carol Agers. A brochure is available concerning the Verde Valley School Road and Bell Rock Blvd. Drainage and Street Improvement Public Meeting held by Chip Davis, April 17, 1977. At this point, President Stromme recused himself for personal reasons, and Vice-President McClelland presided for the rest of the meeting. Carol Agers then read a statement which detailed a conflict that member Valley Vista Estates, of which she is the Alternate, is having with a metes and bounds subdivision, Deer Pass Estates, concerning drainage. Bob Wier moved that the Planning and Zoning Liaison Committee meet with the principals from each subdivision to see if a resolution is possible. Seconded/Passed.
B. Presentation by Phil Briggs. Phil Briggs gave an informational presentation of a new proposal by Camino del Pueblo.
9. Adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 11:20 am.
THE NEXT MEETING OF THE BIG PARK REGIONAL COORDINATING COUNCIL
WILL BE HELD JOINTLY WITH A PUBLIC MEETING OF THE WASTEWATER
TREATMENT COMMITTEE ON JUNE 26, 1997. PUBLIC MEETING: 6:30 -
8:00 PM; COUNCIL MEETING: 8:00 - 9:00 PM
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT COMMITTEE
REPORT TO BIG PARK COUNCIL
MAY 22, 1997
Since late February, we have been correcting each other and everyone else about the ownership of the Big Park Wastewater Improvement District and treatment plant. While the County Supervisors will soon convert the District from “County” to “Domestic,” the fact is that the Improvement District has always been ours. We have met the Owners, and they are us-—whether we’re on the sewer or not.
On July 20, 1997, House Bill 2079 becomes law. At any time thereafter, the County Board of Supervisors can appoint a local Board of Directors of three to seven people and turn this non-profit District and plant over to them to manage. We have requested that the County give us as much as six months’ transition period.
Our initial Big Park Wastewater Improvement District Board of Directors will be appointed to two and four year terms. These staggered terms of office will continue as directors are elected for four years to fill expired terms.
In late 1994, the old treatment plant was literally running over its maximum capacity and spilled a total of more than 200,000 gallons of raw sewage. To eliminate this serious problem, the District spent $2.5 million to provide a new 500,000 GPD facility which went on-line in July, 1996. Despite dramatic increases in operating costs, no increase in the monthly user rate was proposed until this Spring, necessitating the use of capital reserve funds derived from buy-in fees to cover the plant’s operating expenses.
As of May, 1997, the plant was treating 267,000 gallons of sewage per day, with reserved capacity expected to increase that figure to 450,000 gallons per day by mid or late 1998.
Treatment District vs. Improvement District
The Treatment District treats sewage and maintains and replaces existing sewer lines and equipment; however, the Treatment District does not construct new lines. This can be done in new developments by the developers or in existing neighborhoods by formation of an assessment district for that purpose. This requires petitions and the approval of 51% of the property owners. All the property owners in the new district must then be assessed over as many as 20 years for the cost of constructing the sewer lines. The assessment is usually payable twice a year and does not include the buy-in fee for plant capacity.
The residential buy-in fee is presently $2,100. When paid, it reserves treatment capacity for that specific property. The buy-in is not transferable - it stays with the land. Buy-in fees go into a capital reserve fund to be used for plant expansion and other capital improvements. As explained earlier, prior to this Spring, capital reserve funds were being depleted to cover the new plant’s operating expenses. They are now in a separate fund and a separate budget report.
Once on the system, the residential user (per April ‘s rate increase) pays $20.25 per month and is billed quarterly. In the City of Sedona, this same service presently costs $27 per month. The 50% increase in user fees this April was necessary to cover the substantially higher costs of operating the new plant. Monthly user fees for residences are calculated using units of usage stated in the Universal Plumbing Code.
Monthly fees for the commercial user are based on the specific business, the Universal Plumbing Code, and on-site audits by District employees. The timing of this Spring’s on-site audits was coincidental to the timing of the rate increase. It was time to increase rates which had been the same since 1988 and were inadequate to cover the plant’s operating costs; it was time to audit businesses, many of which had changed in some visible way since last year.
In looking at the treatment plant’s impact on the environment, we learned that the discharge of clean, treated effluent into the wash is controlled by an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality permit which mandates a discharge of at least 35,000 gallons per day to encourage and maintain plant growth in the primitive, riparian USFS areas through which the wash runs.
Future planning calls for re-using a portion of the treated effluent on the Village of Oak Creek golf course. Additionally, as the plant expands, noise and odor control measures may be needed. These could include tank enclosures and/or additional land.
In the past, the District has dealt primarily in year—to—year operating plans and budgets. A projection for the next 25 years is being developed which will include both capital improvement and operating expense estimates as well as anticipated user revenue and buy-in fees for each of the next 25 years. This will help ensure the solvency of the District in those years when capital improvements and equipment repair/replacement costs are high. At present, the District is in the awkward position of playing catch-up with its financial and facility planning.
The VOCA contract with the District for re-use of treated effluent on the VOC golf course is being reviewed and may be rewritten to resolve amicably problems on both sides.
The County Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, May 27, in Cottonwood will have on the agenda for discussion a proposal to increase the buy-in fee for the Big Park Wastewater Improvement District.
As promised, we have written an informational brochure on the Improvement District and treatment plant and would like the Council’s approval of the brochure itself and a motion to print enough brochures for each delegate to distribute to their property owners or fellow business association members. VOCA will absorb the cost for their property owners. We have a quote of $126 for a quantity of 5,000 copies of two pages, both sides. We would also suggest a joint County/Council sponsored meeting to address the conversion of the Improvement District from County to Domestic, which could be announced on the brochure.