If attendees are expecting today’s special meeting of the Cambria services district board to be a short one, they may want to reconsider that estimate.
The Cambria Community Services District board meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. today (Thursday, May 14), at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.
The meeting’s agenda, posted at www.cambria csd.org under Board of Directors, includes having the board members consider such issues as water use/irrigation, dead-tree removal, three contracts and the district’s draft 2015-16 budget.
Directors will consider allowing residents to use part of their residential water allocations on outdoor gardens and landscaping (especially during the summer in this fourth year of drought in a bone-dry, fire-prone forest).
Some customers and board members have said they believe that’s the right approach, a balance between strict water conservation and keeping as much landscaping as green as possible as a defensible-space buffer against fire.
However, the community has had an irrigation ace in the hole. While residential use in Cambria last year averaged 40 gallons per person per day without using drinkable water for outdoor irrigation, some residents were able to keep their gardens green.
Rancher Clyde Warren has been providing nonpotable water to residents able to come to his San Simeon Road ranch and transport the water back to their gardens. Consequently, there are many trucks, SUVs and other vehicles equipped with water holding tanks, and traffic is bustling into the rural-ranch driveway.
Warren said Tuesday, May 12, that last year he supplied the community with about 10-acre feet (or more than 3 million gallons, because an acre foot is 325,900 gallons). So far this year demand has been down, because of well-spaced mini-storms, he said, so he’s only provided between 2 and 3 acre feet. “It’ll pick up this month,” he estimated. “And we’ll go until we can’t” do it any more, which would happen if his well were to drop too low.
Staff is reluctantly recommending having the district apply for a blanket emergency permit from the county for the removal of dead trees throughout the forest. CCSD would be the lead agency for the permit that would cover all dead trees in the forest. The action also would allow CCSD to require the removal of hazardous dead trees, and if that work is not accomplished in a timely manner, to have the work done and put the charges on the property owner’s tax bill.
As part of the action, the county is waiving individual permit fees for each tree (as currently required at $126 each) and postponing the replacement-planting requirement until the drought ends.
The board will consider about $473,000 in contract amendments and additions for tasks related to the $10 million emergency water-supply project. Included would be support for the permit process, dechlorination of product water used to blend with lagoon water, an aeration system for the lagoon water supply, a blending-water pipeline to allow higher quality water (treated in the reverse osmosis process) to be blended with normal lagoon water supply, which has been micro-filtered but not treated further, and detailed responses to concerns raised about issues in the upcoming environmental impact report.
Directors will consider the nearly $9.4 million draft budget for fiscal year 2015-16, estimated at more than $600,000 in the red.
The open meeting will be followed by a closed session in which CCSD representatives Shelline Bennett and General Manager Jerry Gruber will continue negotiations with the Cambria Firefighters/International Association of Firefighters 4635.