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9/29/2023 Letter from the General Manager

Dear Cambrians, 

I hope this letter finds you all in good health and high spirits. I am writing today to acknowledge our community members concerns about our challenges. Our community is a beacon of unity, support, and collaboration, yet it is navigating rough seas. The harmony that once defined us is disrupted, and it is time we come together to right the ship.

The issues the District is confronting are manageable, but require the staff’s collective commitment, communication, and cooperation to overcome. We must remember the strength within our diversity, the unity in our shared goals, and the potential of what we can achieve together. It is crucial to reestablish open, honest, and respectful communication, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued. Let us be generous with our empathy, listen to each other’s concerns, and work collaboratively towards sustainable solutions.

The staff has come together to openly discuss the challenges and formulate a strategy to address them. We must delineate roles and responsibilities, ensuring each member contributes their skills and expertise to our shared cause. The revival of our community spirit, where each staff member feels valued, respected, and heard, is paramount in this endeavor.

Remember that the essence of community is solidarity and support, particularly in times of adversity. The amalgamation of our diverse skills, perspectives, and experiences will steer this ship back to calm waters. We can rebuild the harmony, cooperation, and collective well-being that makes our community thrive.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and working alongside each of you to restore balance and unity in our beloved community. Let's ride the ship together and set sail towards a brighter, more inclusive, harmonious community.

Water and Wastewater

InStream Flow Study (IFS) & Adaptive Management Plan (AMP)

CCSD utility staff and Biologist Kevin Merk assembled for an informal meeting to discuss upcoming AMP and IFS work. Biologist Merk will be assuming the environmental and biological reporting for the district, replacing long-time district biologist Cleveland.

Merk led the environmental and biological reporting for Morro Bay’s project and developed beneficial contacts with the EPA while obtaining their permits for operation. We hope to use his experience and relationship with the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).

WIFIA Grant communication for the EPA to acquire funding for the district’s environmental endeavors. We look forward to creative discussions concerning topics such as habitat restoration of the Title 27 pond and WRF mitigation.

Meter Replacement Program

The initial pilot program has been slowed due to receipt of materials. Transmitting antennas and mounting hardware have been received, but the meter registers have been slow to ship due to production delays. We anticipate delivery of materials by mid-October. Meter registers will be immediately installed upon receipt.

Stuart Street Tank Replacement 

Staff is working closely with our consultants to finalize geotechnical analysis and communication with the Coastal Commission to establish if a Mitigated Negative Declaration is in order or if a Categorical Exemption would be acceptable due to previous filings when initially installed.

Staff contacted the EPA Project Representative to see if they could shed some light on a future funding date. EPA staff assured that it was “in process” but could not provide a date for funding.

Coastal Development Permit

The staff has awarded CDP consulting to SWCA. SWCA is a consulting firm that, since 1981, has performed comprehensive environmental planning, regulatory compliance, and natural and cultural management services both locally and globally. SWCA will help the District update our WRF project description and work with our regulators to ensure its completeness. 

San Simeon Well Field Transmission Lines

The staff has been working closely with the district’s consultant, Cannon, on data acquisition and past permitting that has been previously performed. Environmental analysis will be initiated this fall.

Water Distribution

Water Department staff have had their hands full the past few weeks.

A record-breaking number of distribution system leaks surfaced in late September. Most are small and can be repaired immediately. Other larger leaks require traffic control and road closures, which require coordination with County Roads.

Wastewater staff have been working on wet weather preparedness and ensuring resiliency during storm events. Staff is ensuring booster station pumps have been serviced, new belt replacements, emergency power backup generator servicing, and repair. Collections staff has also been working on inspecting and clearing out lines before and after booster stations.

Emergency Vegetation Removal at Van Gordon Creek

On September 14, 2023, the Board of Directors approved a Public Works Contract with Paradise Tree Service for emergency vegetation removal at Van Gordon Creek for flood control purposes, authorized the General Manager to execute the contract, and adopted Resolution 49-2023 for a budget adjustment of $59,000.

The District, in partnership with our contactor Paradise Tree Service, spent three days trimming, clearing, and removing debris and vegetation from the downstream side of the culvert all the way to the confluence of the San Simeon Creek.

We had scheduled and planned for five full days of removal, but they accomplished it all in three. So, if and when El Nino arrives this wet season, we should be well prepared.

Jim Fredle's Retirement

I would like to congratulate Jim Fredle on his well-deserved retirement. After five years of dedicated service to the CCSD, his retirement marks the end of an era filled with remarkable achievements, unwavering commitment, and invaluable contributions. His exceptional work ethic and dedication have been an inspiration to us all.

As he relishes the adventures of his well-earned retirement, remember that his impact continues to resonate within the walls of Cambria Community Services District and beyond. I hope this new phase unfolds with moments of happiness, good health, and the fulfillment of dreams and goals that continue to inspire him.

Once again, congratulations on Jim’s retirement; his significant contributions will never be forgotten.

Administration Department

The CCSD administration office will be closed on Monday, October 9, 2023, in observance of Columbus Day. For all Water and Wastewater emergency services, please get in touch with the CCSD's 24-hour main line at (805) 927-6223. The office will reopen on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. 

The Cambria Community Services District Administration Office is open Monday - Thursday and every other Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment only. The Administration Office is closed for lunch daily from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, please contact the Administration Office at 805-927-6223.

District staff created a page on the website for current contracts, agreements, and grants. The link is

Facilities & Resources Department

To submit general inquiries, or to report any issues on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, public restrooms, Cambria Dog Park, or to schedule a meeting with Mr. Aguirre, please submit your inquiries or concerns here:  

Relocation of EV charging station

The contract with Thoma Electric is almost complete; we should have an update shortly. 

Weed Abatement

While I know we are behind, we have made great progress in a short amount of time. Since Monday, September 25th and the close of business today, the District, with the help of our contractors (Mike Rice and Paradise Trees), we have weed-abated 60 lots!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding weed abatement for improved parcels, please get in touch with CAL FIRE at 805-927-4262. CAL FIRE is inspecting all improved parcels Monday through Thursday. For all other questions regarding weed abatement for vacant parcels, please get in touch with the Cambria Fire Department at 805-927-6240.

Fire Department

Our fire department has also worked hard with the weed abatement process. Several firefighters have worked on their days off to help the District catch up on our weed abatement plan, kudos to them. 

September 21, 2023, Board Meeting Update 

For a more detailed Board meeting transcript, go to and choose which item you would like to listen to on the timeline dropdown. 

Records Retention Policy & Schedule Update

The Board of Directors approved an Agreement for Consultant Services with Gladwell Governmental Services, Inc. (GGS) for the Records Retention Policy & Schedule update and authorized the General Manager to execute the agreement. In 2000, the Board of Directors approved Resolution 6-2000, establishing the first Records Retention Schedule for managing, retaining, and disposing of certain records. Since 2000, three changes have been made. In 2011, the Board of Directors approved Resolution 7-2011, establishing the first Records Retention Policy. In 2013, the Board of Directors approved Resolution 44-2013, establishing the new Records Retention Schedules. Finally, in 2014, the Board of Directors approved Resolution 12-2014, amending the Records Retention Schedules and superseding Resolution 44-2013. Best practices require a periodic review of the Retention Schedule to include new technology and mandated records; remove obsolete records, merge records' series, incorporate additional or renamed divisions; and update retention schedules in compliance with County, State, and federal laws. This has not been done since 2014. The Administration Department contacted three vendors to submit proposals for updating the records retention policy and schedule. Due to the continual steady growth in the volume of records the Cambria Community Services District handles within its limited space and stored with Vital Records Control, District staff selected GGS, an expert in local government records, to update its records retention policy and schedule.

Declaring Vehicles & Equipment Surplus

The Board of Directors adopted Resolution 52-2023 declaring vehicles and equipment surplus property and authorizing sale by the General Manager. The CCSD Wastewater Department has one (1) vehicle, one (1) step van, one (1) generator, and one (1) John Deere tractor that have reached the end of their useful life and are no longer used. Government Code Section 61060(d) gives community service districts the broad authority to dispose of personal property.

Regional Crash Response and Extrication Improvement Grant

The Board of Directors accepted the Regional Crash Response and Extrication Improvement Grant awarded to the Cambria CSD Fire Department by the State of California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant award is for $42,044.00 for the purchase of a new set of battery-powered jaws-of-life extrication equipment to outfit our second fire engine. There is a $199.39 cost to the Fire Department due to a change in pricing from when the equipment quote was submitted to OTS in January to when we were awarded the grant. The Fire Department has sufficient funds to cover the cost increase within its budget. With this award, the Cambria CSD Fire Department will be able to outfit both frontline fire engines with identical sets of battery-powered extrication equipment. This ensures that no matter which fire engine arrives on the scene of an emergency, the fire department has identical capabilities to affect the extrication of an entrapped victim. 

Pool Facility on East Ranch 

The Board of Directors received a presentation from Cambrians for Aquatics for a pool facility on the East Ranch.

Use of the Veterans Memorial Building Facilities with American Legion Post No. 432

The Board of Directors approved Amendment No. 5 to the Agreement for the Use of the Veterans Memorial Building Facilities with American Legion Post No. 432, and authorized the General Manager to execute the Amendment. In accordance with the Agreement, the proposed Amendment is for three a three-year term and will increase the annual payment from $1 per year to $500 for the first year, $1,000.00 for the second year, and $2,000 for the third and final year. The CCSD has had agreements with the American Legion for the use of the Veterans Memorial Building since 1984, the current Agreement having been entered into in 2003 and most recently amended in 2023 (Amendment No. 4). Amendment No. 5 extends the expiration date of the agreement to September 28, 2026.

Santa Rosa 4 (SR4) Well Site

The Board of Directors authorized District Counsel to obtain an appraisal of the Santa Rosa 4 (SR4) Well Site easement and related access easements and to use the appraisal to engage in negotiations with Coast Union School District (CUSD) for the voluntary purchase and sale of the SR4 Well Site easement and related access easements.  However, today, the CUSD sent a counterproposal that the Board will be considering shortly at a date to be determined. 

Facilities & Resources Department Maintenance Technician 

The Board of Directors approved hiring a third Maintenance Technician for the Facilities & Resources Department. The fully burdened cost for an entry-level Maintenance Technician is approximately $56,321. The budget impact is offset by eliminating outsourcing to other vendors for janitorial services and various projects. There are currently two Maintenance Technician positions in the Facilities & Resources Department, held by Alberto Novas and Martin Garcia. Hiring a third Maintenance Technician will assist with the additional demands in the Facilities & Resources Department.

September 21, 2023, Board Meeting Documents

Resolution 52-2023 Declaring Vehicles & Equipment SurplusAgreement for Consultant Services with Gladwell Governmental Services, Inc. Amendment No. 5 to Agreement for Use of the Veteran's Memorial Building Facilities with American Legion Post No. 432State of California - Office of Traffic Safety Grant Agreement (pending signatures)

Upcoming October Board Meeting Items (subject to change):

  • Discussion and consideration of Strategic Plan update
  • Discussion and consideration of General Manager's performance evaluation process and modifying the form used for review of the General Manager’s performance
  • Fill the vacant seat on the PROS Committee
  • Discussion and consideration to direct staff to advertise for an open position on the Finance Committee
  • Receive a presentation from the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) for Recycle Right
  • Update the assignment of banking powers
  • Receive report from Ad Hoc Committee on future use and funding for the Veterans' Hall

On Thursday, October 5, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., I will work out of the Cambria Veterans' Memorial Hall. I would love to meet interested community members and hear your thoughts. 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; I am at your service. 

Matthew McElhenie

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