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6/9/2023 Letter from the General Manager

Dear Cambria,

Hold on to your seats; this is a long one. 

As I closed out this week, I have been reflecting on the change occurring in my own life and that of our organization. As for my life changes, I watched my firstborn walk across the stage and receive her high-school diploma. My baby girl is no longer, she is now a woman and beginning a new chapter in her life, and I am struggling with that change. The change in our family dynamic reminds me of the changes occurring within the CCSD. Our organization has had a significant leadership change in my hiring, and now, with a critical manager and Fire Captain retiring from the District. Much like my personal life changes, I struggle with this change, yet change is inevitable. 

Our District Facilities & Resources Manager, Carlos Mendoza, leaves the District effective Friday the 16th. The District and I wish he would stay, but we understand his desire to pursue new opportunities and adventures. However, I would like to take a minute to honor Carlos Mendoza. Firstly, I want to express my appreciation for his contributions and dedication during his tenure with the District. His hard work, professionalism, and commitment have significantly impacted our team and the projects we have undertaken. His skills and expertise have been invaluable, and I am grateful for his positive influence on our organization. I genuinely hope that his new endeavors bring fulfillment and success. Please be assured that we will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition during his notice period. We will work together to transfer his responsibilities and knowledge to a suitable successor. He has built valuable relationships within the District, and his insights and experiences will always be appreciated. 

On behalf of the CCSD, I would like to express my gratitude for Carlos and his hard work and dedication. We all wish him the best in his future endeavors, and I do not doubt that he will achieve great things in his future endeavors. Carlos, thank you again for your contributions and for being a part of the CCSD family.

Effective 6/2/23, Fire Captain Johnathan Gibson has retired from the CCSD. Captain Gibson began his fire service career in 1998 as a paid call firefighter with the Templeton Fire Department. In 2004, Captain Gibson was hired by the Cambria Community Services District Fire Department as a Reserve Firefighter. During his years of service, Captain Gibson was quickly promoted to Fire Engineer in 2005, Fire Lieutenant in 2006, and his final rank of Fire Captain in 2012. 

Captain Gibson has represented the Cambria CSD Fire Department near and far by responding to thousands of emergency response incidents for over 19 years. While many of these emergency incidents occurred within Cambria, several hundred included automatic and mutual aid responses to local San Luis Obispo County neighboring communities. Furthermore, Captain Gibson represented the Cambria CSD Fire Department by serving in several wildland campaign fires throughout the State of California throughout his career. Additionally, Captain Gibson served as a San Luis Obispo County Hazmat Incident Response Team member and the Interim Fire Marshal for the Cambria CSD Fire Department. He was involved in many public outreach and educational programs, such as Fire Prevention Week, Fire Safe Town Hall meetings, and the local chapter of CERT.  

His remarkable skills, knowledge, and expertise have inspired your colleagues and earned the respect and admiration of all those fortunate enough to have worked alongside you. His guidance, mentorship, and ability to remain calm and composed in adversity have set a shining example for others. Beyond his professional achievements, I want to acknowledge the compassion and empathy he has consistently shown toward those in need. His genuine care and concern for the well-being of others have touched many lives and provided comfort during challenging times.

Through his exemplary service and remarkable character, he has become a true role model and inspiration to us all. His devotion to duty, integrity, and selfless service embodies the finest qualities of a Fire Captain. John Gibson’s contributions will leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those you have served. He will join his wife, six-year-old son, and three twin girls in retirement. Captain Gibson is grateful for the opportunity to have served alongside the brave men and women of the Cambria Fire Department while protecting the community of Cambria.

Project Updates

Water & Wastewater

The San Simeon water and effluent line has received three bids under the RFP process. These bids will go to the Resources & Infrastructure Committee for review. The initial bids are for the design and permitting process. To clarify, the Permit Compliance process consists of the following:

  • California Coastal Commission: Mandatory requirement of a Coastal Development Permit (CDP).
  • County of San Luis Obispo: Land Use Permit and coordinating Coastal Development Permit.
  • CA State Parks: Permanent/Temporary Construction Easement.
  • Caltrans: Encroachment Permit.
  • Native American Tribal Discussion: Consultation with associated Native American Tribes.
  • CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife. Stream-bed Alteration Agreement. 
  • Regional Water Quality Control Board: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES Discharge Permit). 

Geotechnical Investigation

  • Land Survey. The surveyed area encompasses 107 acres. This will provide a pathway for the trenchless alternative to installation. This crucial piece will influence the CEQA categorical exemption, where a CDP would not be required. This is also necessary for securing an easement with the State Parks Department.

A four-month process of obtaining permits for exploratory excavation is necessary to begin the project. Once obtained and completed, a more focused identification of the “alignment strategy” will be presented. The permitting process will take over a year and require early and frequent engagement with the other Agencies/Stakeholders. While this project may take over two years to complete, this is one of the first steps in breaking ground. 

Wastewater System Upgrades

We have begun upgrades as it applies to design and equipment. The District has spent roughly 1.8 million of the $12.1 million allocated for the wastewater upgrades. Remember, several of these expenses are design costs with some equipment acquisition. Some of those expenditures include:

  • Modified Ludzak - Ettinger Upgrade - The modified Ludzack-Ettinger process is designed to use nitrate produced in the aeration zone as a source of oxygen for facultative bacteria in the event of the breakdown of raw wastewater in the anoxic pan.
  • Blower Consolidation / Replacement - Blowers are typically used to provide aeration in activated sludge plants and to promote aerobic digestion. They keep solids suspended in channels and in aerated grit chambers, which is necessary for a proper treatment ecosystem.
  • Generator Replacement - Replace the existing generator, secure and install a new engine-driven generator set that has been, factory-built, production-tested, and site tested together with all accessories necessary for a complete installation and functioning system as specified in the technical specifications
  • SCADA Upgrade - Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a system that aims to monitor and control field devices at your remote sites. SCADA systems are critical as it helps maintain efficiency by collecting and processing real-time data. SCADA is a centralized system that monitors and controls the entire area of the wastewater system. Flowmeters are data loggers installed strategically to send data to remote terminal units, then send their collected data to the treatment plant operators. The operators can see problems like leaks, overflows, or chemical imbalances with this data. Access to up-to-date information on these potential problems gives water operations a chance to fix these issues in advance, reducing downtime for machinery. 

Board Actions and Upcoming Agenda Items

  • The Board of Directors adopted a Resolution approving the 2023 Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Program (FHFRP) contract award to Mike Rice. The weed abatement deadline is 7/14/2023.  
  • The Board of Directors adopted a Resolution approving a 4.2% CPI adjustment to the existing Fire Suppression Benefit Assessment rates, effective July 1, 2023, in compliance with the Resolution adopted in 2003. 
  • Staff is recommending the Board discuss and consider the adoption of Resolution 38-2023 approving the CCSD Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024, adoption of Resolution 39-2023 establishing the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 appropriations limit, and provide direction to staff as deemed appropriate.
  • Staff will recommend that the Board choose a facilitator for the upcoming Strategic Plan meeting and consider changing the meeting dates due to a director’s scheduling conflict.
  • Staff recommends that the Board of Directors consider the 2023-2024 Annual Water Shortage Assessment Report and approve submission to the Department of Water Resources. This Assessment presents findings from the 2023 Annual Water Supply and Demand Assessment (AWSDA) on our website here. It describes the key data inputs, evaluation criteria, and methodology for addressing the CCSD’s water system reliability for the coming year and the steps needed to declare any water shortage levels and response actions formally. Beginning in 2022, California Water Code Section 10632.1 requires urban water suppliers to conduct an AWSDA and submit an annual water shortage assessment report to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) on or before July 1 of each year. The AWSDA serves to help identify potential water supply shortages and implement water shortage response actions to mitigate possible supply gaps. The CCSD’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) includes six stages of water shortage, each with its own set of response actions. The stages aim to reduce customer demands from 0-10 percent to greater than 50 percent.

I invite you to meet me for our second “Meet the GM” on July 12, 2023, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Cambria Veterans' Memorial Hall. Our last meeting was terrific. Over fifty residents stopped by and engaged me on several topics. Please, keep it coming. I will not always have the answer or perhaps the answer you want to hear. Yet, the dialogue is essential. We will provide coffee, snacks, and the ability to engage in dialogue about everything Cambria. 

As always, I welcome your feedback and ideas. If you have any concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me or any of our management team.

Thank you again for your support, and I look forward to serving you. 

Matthew McElhenie

June 8, 2023 Board Meeting Documents

Resolution 33-2023 Confirming the 2022 Fire Hazard Fuel Reduction Program Itemized Cost ReportResolution 34-2023 Approving a Fire Suppression Benefit Assessment Consumer Price Index (CPI) Adjustment at the Rate of 4.2% for Fiscal Year 2023/2024Resolution 35-2023 Confirming the Itemized Report to Collect Delinquent Solid Waste Collection & Disposal ChargesResolution 36-2023 Amending the CCSD Board & Standing Committee Bylaws
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