Approved Regular Commission Meeting Minutes for May 1, 2019 


Commissioners Present
Teresa Barrett, Chair
Ernie Loveless
Susan Gorin
Pam Stafford
Rich Holmer
Lynda Hopkins

Alternate Commissioners Present
Steve Herzberg
Mark Landman
Rodney Moore

Staff Present
Mark Bramfitt Executive Officer
Carole Cooper, Assistant Executive Officer
Verne Ball, Legal Counsel
Diana R. Wilson, Clerk

Approved Regular Commission Meeting Minutes for May 1, 2019 

1. Call to Order by the Chair

Call to Order by the Chair - The meeting was called to order at 2:04 pm. The following voting members were seated at the dais: Commissioners Loveless, Gorin, Stafford, Holmer, and Barrett. 

2. Public Comment:

Teri Shore, Regional Director, North Bay, Greenbelt Alliance regarding Town of Windsor North of Arata Lane annexation. Spoke regarding agricultural mitigation policy and a CALAFCO white paper on this subject.

Commissioner Hopkins arrived at 2:06.

3. Consent Calendar

  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes: April 3, 2019

  2. Upon motion and second, approved as recommended by staff
    Ayes:       6   Loveless, Gorin, Hopkins, Stafford, Holmer, and Barrett.
    Noes:       0
    Abstain:    0

4. Public Hearings

  1. File No. 2019-02: Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHCD) Municipal Service Review Addendum and File No. 2019-01: PDHCD Bodega Bay Detachment (Martin/Garza) Environmental Determination: General Rule Exemption, Section 15061(b)(3) of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines and Categorical Exemption from CEQA pursuant to Section 15306 of the State CEQA Guidelines.
  2. Staff explained the two parts of the agenda item, requesting that the Commission consider and approve or recommend changes to the Municipal Service Review (MSR) addendum, and review the detachment proposal.

    Alternate Commissioners Herzberg and Moore recused themselves from participation in Commission deliberations. Counsel noted that both could make comments as members of the public, if desired.

    Alternate Commissioners Herzberg and Moore left their seats at 2:09 and stayed in the meeting room.

    The Executive Officer discussed the Municipal Service Review (MSR) Addendum, stating staff’s willingness to make changes or take direction from the Commission for further study.  Staff noted that it is not necessary to approve the MSR addendum to move forward with the detachment proposal.

    Referring to the Addendum, Commissioner Hopkins asked the reason that four months of minutes of meetings of the Palm Drive Health Care District board of directors had not been available to the public and asked if staff could identify violations of improper conduct regarding the board of directors or in the process of public noticing.

    Staff answered that the cause is a transition in administrative staff.  Staff indicated that there was no improper handling of noticing, but members of the public indicated they do not receive suitable responses from the board to their concerns.

    The Chair opened the public comment period regarding the MSR Addendum

    Alana Brogan– Executive Director, Palm Drive Healthcare District, requested changing the narrative about the District and explained challenges.  She pointed out errors in the MSR Addendum and requested a chance to talk with the Executive Officer about correcting/editing the MSR Addendum before approval.

    Chair Barrett asked how long the MSR Addendum had been available to the public.

    Staff responded that the MSR Addendum had been posted on the Commission’s website for at least one week.

    Susan Moulton –Member of public - said that the urgent care has risen to the occasion to meet the recent emergency needs of the area, and she does not want those services to go away.  She stated her opinion that Health Care District meetings with the Board are contentious.

    John Doolittle – Member of public - said that the minutes from the Palm Drive healthcare are critical and it is a large flaw not to have them provided. He does not like the fact there were no decisions made regarding the emergency room.

    Chair Barrett closed the public comment period and brought the discussion back to the Commission.

    Commissioner Hopkins asked about the parcel tax levy and what a clearly defined debit obligation would be at the time of detachment.

    Staff provided clarification, stated that people in the detachment are responsible for debts up until the date of the detachment and it would be up to the proponents of the detachment to negotiate with the District regarding how obligations are organized.

    Commissioner Hopkins requested that the proponents of the detachment or the District d provide additional information for clarification on how the debt will be paid down.

    Alana Brogan–Executive Director, Palm Drive Healthcare District, stated that the Board met with the detachment representatives.  Currently paying $106 a month towards paying off the debt.

    Suki Robb-Wilder -Member of public - Resident of detachment area stated she is paying $106, down from $155 previously paid.  She stated that she had a clear understanding of the portion of the debt that is secure, but is not clear about the portion of the amount due or if it will be enough to cover the bankruptcy.

    Motion and seconded to adopt the determinations of the MSR with the instructions to correct and clarify any inaccuracies.

    Ayes:    6   Loveless, Gorin, Stafford, Holmer, Hopkins and Barrett.
    Noes:    0
    Abstain: 0

    The Executive Officer discussed the details regarding the detachment part of the item.  Staff outlined the report for the detachment from Palm Drive Healthcare District, recommended that the Commission question staff, as desired, and then open the public hearing.
    No comments or questions from the Commission.

    The Chair opened the public hearing.

    Alana Brogan–Executive Director, Palm Drive Healthcare District, stated that many people do not want to detach and addressed changes made to correct issues. She stated that detachment leaders have refused to talk about alternatives to detachment. Requested the full 60 days for the protest period if the detachment is approved.

    Susan Moulton - Member of public -stated that the Palm Drive float won first place prize.  She has a petition started for people who want to remain in the District. She would like to develop a procedure to help those who want to remain attached to the District.  She feels the savings for detachment is small versus losing out on health care. She requested the full 60 day protest period.

    John Doolittle – Member of public - stated that the original District plan is not being delivered and would like to terminate the plan.

    Steve Herzberg – Member of public - voiced his support to the detachment.  He described the mailer and process that went out to advocate remaining in the District.  He pointed out that there were no residents opposed to the detachment at the Town Hall meeting.

    The Chair closed the public hearing and brought the discussion back to the Commission for discussion and action.

    Commission Stafford asked if staff received any letters in favor of remaining in the District.

    Staff responded that no letters have been received.

    Commissioner Loveless asked for details regarding the health services talks prior to detachment discussion and asked if those discussions are still ongoing.

    Alana Brogan answered that the meeting included Liz Martin, Bodega Bay Fire Chief Sean Grinnell, Patty Ginochio, and members of West County Medical Center. She indicated that there were no current discussions.

    Commissioner Loveless recommended a 60-day protest period.

    Chair Barrett asked Alana Brogan what programs the Health Care District is currently supporting and performing in its District. She asked the length of time the programs were running and how often those programs occurred.

    Alana Brogan detailed programs and expressed willingness to provide more information.

    Chair Barrett requested information regarding extending the protest hearing for the full 60 days.

    Staff explained the process and answered that if the item is approved, there could be a protest period of 56 days before a Commission meeting on July 3. There will not be a mailing but notices and protest forms will be posted in the Press Democrat and on the LAFCO website.

    Commissioner Loveless – Questioned if it is allowable to have the 60 day protest hearing. 

    Staff further clarified that the extended time is allowed by law and the protest hearing would happen at the July meeting.  Protest forms would be available in the office or via phone/email and through the website.  Protest forms need to be received prior to the conclusion of the protest hearing. Staff verified that it could accommodate the timeframe.

    Commissioner Stafford stated that she is leaning towards detachment and the 56 day timeframe is appropriate.

    Commissioner Gorin agreed with timeframe but stated that she would not be available for the July 3 meeting and that alternate Commissioner Gore may not be available to attend.  She suggested confirming that Commissioner Hopkins would be able to attend.

    Commissioner Hopkins asked about various options available to the Commission in regards to timing and the detachment.

    Staff answered that the primary item before the Commission is whether to approve the detachment or not. The Commission has the ability to condition the detachment but staff does not have suggestions for expanding the area or affected territories.  Commission could deny the application and could request that staff send protest mailings to individuals and bill to the applicants. The Commission can request a sphere amendment, which would be a different action item.

    Commissioner Hopkins stated that there are outstanding issues in other areas within the District.  She expressed concern regarding the lack of meeting minutes and the same issues coming back to the Commission.  She would like to have a further discussion regarding the sphere amendment.

    Staff pointed out the October item from the previous year is included in the report and those options all still stand.  He stated that if the Commission would like to initiate further reorganization it would be helpful to staff to have the Commissioners indicate their interest in moving forward with some of those items.

    Commissioner Hopkins stated that she would like to engage the public in the process and would like to address the problem so the item of other detachments from the District does not continue.  Would like to revisit the issue.  She indicated she is available for the July 3 meeting.

    Commissioner Holmer stated he is in favor of the detachment and indicated he is available for the July 3 meeting.

    Commissioner Loveless is available for the July 3 meeting.

    Chair Barrett stated she also supports detachment.  In response to Commissioner Hopkins’ statement regarding the detachments and that it appears to be a trend, she stated that she would like to wait to see what happens after the sale of the hospital before making any changes.  She agreed that there needs to be a larger conversation.

    Alternate Commissioner Landman asked if the differences between the 28 – 56 day protest hearing would change the tax payment. He stated he had not heard a compelling reason for the healthcare district to exist.

    Motion and seconded approved as recommended by staff. Directed staff to come back on July 3 with protest hearing.

    Ayes:    6   Loveless, Gorin, Stafford, Holmer, Hopkins and Barrett.
    Noes:    0
    Abstain: 0

    Chair Barrett welcomed back Alternate Commissioners Herzberg and Moore.
    Alternate Commissioner Herzberg departed at 3:22pm

5. Regular Calendar

  1. Sonoma LAFCO Audit: Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18

    Staff outlined the audit process and pricing.  Staff requested the Commission direct the Executive Officer to sign a letter of engagement to initiate the audit of the Commission’s operations for the previous two fiscal years.

    The Chair opened a public comment period. Seeing no one rise, the Chair closed public comment period.

    Upon motion and second, approved as recommended by staff.
    Ayes:     6   Loveless, Gorin, Stafford, Holmer, Hopkins and Barrett.
    Noes:    0
    Abstain: 0

6. Information/Report Items - Informational and/or Direction

  1. Legislative Report

    Staff outlined various legislative bills and provided results from the letters of opposition and support directed to staff in April.

    New bill regarding Fire Districts, SB 272 (Morrell), proposes to change to the Fire Protection District law regarding zones.  Staff indicated this is a bill to watch closely as it could impact the Fire District reorganizations in progress.

    Will bring more information to the June Meeting.

  2. Executive Officer’s Report (Verbal)

    Formal withdrawal from proponents of application of Santa Rosa On-Farm Conservation and Recharge Water District.

    Requests received from over half dozen Timber Cover Water District residents to perform an MSR review. The last one done in 2004-05).  Suggested going to a consultant to perform the MSR to assist with the workload. Counsel stated it is appropriate to ask for comment but not put item to a vote.

    Chair Barrett asked if anything in the request from Timber Cove Water District suggested that the services would cease.

    Staff answered that residents pay high rates and the area is at risk of running out of water.  Substantial amounts of money is missing.  The District has abandoned vegetation management plan.  The District is not seeking a sphere amendment at this time and staff believes that the District will not request an MSR.

    Commissioner Hopkins explained that the Timber Cover Water District is a small community with a limited group of rate payers. She favors bringing in a consultant to keep staff focused on fire reorganizations.

    Commissioner Gorin asked if staff has the capacity to complete all the MSRs for the fire agencies and asked how staff will prioritize.

    Staff answered that staff is feeling challenged to meet expectations and that workloads need to be spread out to consultants. Provided a rundown of items coming up.
    Non-fire related items include: Petaluma, Russian River Sanitation District.
    Fire related: the first part of West County MSR for 15 fire agencies report is 95% finished. Formal request from Sonoma Valley to complete an MSR of an additional 4 agencies and a volunteer fire company. North County Fire will be putting in its request shortly.  Timber Cove/ Cazadero/Fort Ross may be accommodated within the West County MSR.
    Staff would like guidance as to where Timber Cover Water’s RFP should fall on the priority list.

    Commissioner Gorin suggested that agencies and staff work together to create a timeline about how staff will manage the workload for all of the requests. Need to provide realistic expectations.

    Staff stated the various changes in multiple large projects that have made managing timelines challenging and the desire to meet agencies needs when new projects come forward.

    Commissioner Gorin recommended start hiring a consultant quickly to help with the workload and in expectation of the new sales tax measure next year.

    Commissioner Stafford also recommended hiring a consultant.

    Commissioner Holmer stated he does not want to see a small District pushed aside due to the concern regarding water. He also recommended hiring a consultant.

    Alternate Commissioner Moore stated the benefits of hiring a consultant to work on smaller project with the expectation they can come back for larger issue. He also noted a consultant could take pressure off the politically charged issues.

    Chair Barrett stated she feels it is a good plan to bring in a consultant.

7. General Announcements

    Commissioner Gorin stated that several affordable housing groups are looking for land to develop for housing.  She would like an informational item regarding LAFCO’s role in considering affordable housing.
    Commissioner Holmer stated that he would not be at the June 5 meeting

8. Confirm Meetings - Action

    Commission Meeting: June 5, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.

9. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 3:49 p.m.


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