Lake Shastina CSD discusses water supply

Dana Flint
Keith Franc introduces the Santa Rosa Fire map to Lake Shastina Community Services District General Manager Mike Wilson and Fire Chief Steve Pappas during the CSD board meeting last Wednesday. The map shows where the fire was each hour as winds of up to 60 miles per hour sent it southwest. Wilson said people had hours to evacuate, yet still stayed and perished. “Hey, when we say evacuate, we mean evacuate,” he said. Wilson said Lake Shastina is a “fire waiting to happen,” and that the community was lucky that firefighting airplanes and equipment were in Etna when the Boles Fire “hit” Weed in 2014. LSCSD is planning to hold a fire preparedness Town Hall Meeting this spring.

Topics discussed during the Feb. 21 Lake Shastina Community Services District meeting included the water supply, a town hall meeting to be held at the Fire Station on April 18, and an upcoming 50th birthday celebration.

In his water department monthly report, public works supervisor Robert Moser reported that four meters had been upgraded to pulse meters for the new SCADA system. Wells 3 and 4 had pipe installed. He reported the work is mostly completed on new pipes for tanks 1 and 2 and said, “This is one of the first steps to getting the SCADA installed.”

Former director Tom Wetter asked if work was being done to access new water sites.

“We’re not looking at other well sites because we don’t have funding,” General Manager Mike Wilson said. The district has applied for a FEMA grant to help with the cost of finding water, but that grant is on hold because Lake Shastina is not on record as a “disadvantaged community.”

Director Rick Thompson suggested the district could find funding elsewhere.

Wilson said the water department is waiting for the results of a survey to determine whether the current community it serves is in fact “disadvantaged.”

The community has had an influx of people affected by the Boles Fire in Weed, he said.

“I’m really serious about this,” said Wetter. “I’ve never seen anything about this with our water. All our wells are over there competing with the strawberry plants. We have to get a well on the Eddy side (of the valley).”

“And that’s why we have to take this survey seriously,” Wilson said.

The Rural Community Assistance Corporation will help with the survey, which will be sent out on Community Services District letterhead to each home in the district.

If most people send the first mailing in, no additional mailings will be necessary, Wilson said.

The RCAC survey is acceptable to funding agencies represented in the California Financing Coordination Committee, Rural Development Specialist Kimberley Strong wrote in a letter.

Director Carol Cupp said the district would like people whose primary residences are in Lake Shastina to complete the surveys.

The board of directors is meeting with Supervisor Michael Kobseff to get other ideas for water, Cupp said.

“My understanding is that the county has taken over ground water. If you have to go to a new site, you have to do a ground water study,” which would cost $30,000 per well, she said.

With Well 10, “we’ve already done that study,” Cupp said. Well 10 is the current prospect for new water for Lake Shastina.

Wilson said the water department is waiting for the survey results to determine whether Lake Shastina is a low income community.

“We were waiting for the grant,” Wilson said, but the FEMA grant is on hold until the district can send survey results to add to the grant proposal. This particular grant is primarily for lower income communities.”

The Fire Department responded to 27 calls in January, Fire Chief Steve Pappas reported. Of those, 20 were requests for medical aid, and one was a fire alarm. Of the medical aid requests, 12 calls were to assist people with flu-like symptoms, he said. But the fire crew has remained healthy.

The LSCSD will hold a Town Hall Meeting at the fire station on April 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.

It will be a good time for the community to find out what is happening in the District, Wilson said.

In other party activity, Tom Wetter said he believes Lake Shastina’s 50th birthday is this year or next.

Someone asked, “Are you going to organize the party, Tom?”

“No, I keep volunteering for crap. Stop me!,” he said with a laugh. People laughed with him, and no further action was taken at that time, but a party is in the works, Wilson said.

In Police Department news, Wilson reported that they had fielded about 126 calls in January. (The Department is still running on a computer system that makes a definite number unavailable.)

Wilson reported that the Greater Lake Shastina Fire Safe Council met Feb. 20, and said he would like to table the request that the LSCSD pursue funding for that organization. However, Wilson did explain later that the mission of the Fire Safe Council is to promote public safety and work to lessen the “destruction of property from wildfires through the education, fire fuel reduction, and identification and mitigation of wildfire hazards.”

Wilson said some of these topics will be discussed at a later town hall meeting, probably in May.

Resident Keith Franc printed a map of the October, 2017, Santa Rosa fire and said, “I think it’s very important that the community has a chance to see this.”

The map showed how fast the fire had moved by the hour, places where people had lost their lives, and the homes lost. It is posted at the Administration building.

The quick-moving fire showed that most people who had died were in the most densely populated areas.

“Hey, when we say evacuate, we mean evacuate,” he said.

Moving to committee reports, director Norman MacIntosh reported that Paula Mitchell has been appointed chair of the Budget Committee, which will soon schedule a meeting to start planning the 2018-2019 budget, Debbie Nelle said. The auditors will report their findings at the March 21 LSCSD meeting, she said.

After discussing the budget, the board voted 4-0, with Paula Mitchell absent, to approve the budget adjustments. The board also voted 4-0 to add the word ethical to the LSCSD mission statement.

The fire ordinance is being reviewed by legal counsel Margaret Long, who was listening remotely Wednesday. She said she thought she would have it back by the end of last week.

Director Cupp proposed that the Grant Oversight committee “be eliminated,” since each department covers its own grants. Cupp said the Police Department advisory committee was working on staffing issues and animal control issues.