SCV Water Agency Board Meeting, December 20, 2022

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00:00:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency Board meeting on December 20, 2022, the board members welcomed everyone to the last meeting of the year and proceeded with their announcements. The board discussed the availability of remote participation for members of the public and advised that public comment would be taken for items listed on the agenda. Several members of the public submitted comment cards for item number three, and David Ludenos used his time to thank Lynne Plambeck for her dedicated service to the community and the environment.

00:05:00 In this section of the meeting, two members of the public complement Lynne Plambeck for her integrity, honor, and dedication to the Santa Clarita community during her time on the Water Board. They express sadness that she will no longer be a voice on the board to speak truth to power and to stand up to corruption. One member points out the hit mailers sent against Lynn during the past election, which were largely funded by developers and lawyers, and emphasizes the positive impact Lynn has made in preserving historic oak trees and working on chloride permits. However, the public comment ends on a disappointing note as the speaker scheduled to make a comment online does not respond.

00:10:00 In this section, a member of the public addresses the board about the lack of use of recycled water by the agency and the recent use of drinking water for construction purposes instead. The speaker calls it criminal to dump recycled water into the river and suggests that the agency should use recycled water if it is available as mandated by the state. The speaker also questions why they have to cut back at home, and yet, the water is being used for construction. In the next item, the board approves resolutions recognizing directors Ford and Planck for their service and dedication to the agency.

00:15:00 In this section, various directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency express gratitude for Director Jeff Ford’s service and dedication. They commend his technical expertise and knowledge of SEQUA. Ford’s colleagues recognize his contributions as chair of the Watershed and Water Resources committee and highlight his kindness and welcoming attitude towards new board members. Despite their sadness to see him leave, they all wish him the best in his future endeavors.

00:20:00 In this section of the SCV Water Agency Board Meeting, board members express appreciation for each other and discuss public comment cards regarding upcoming resolutions. Director Kelly praises Director Ford for his soft-spoken yet knowledgeable contributions, while Director Kali adds his own appreciation. The board then addresses public comments on Resolution 5.1 and requests that comments regarding directors be held until 5.2. One public commenter, Mr. Dunn, shares his positive experiences with Lynn Plembeck’s performance in the Newhall County Water District.

00:25:00 In this section of the video, a member of the public named Marcia Hanscom speaks during a comment period to recognize Lynne Plambeck’s service for her 30 years of work on behalf of the public, opposing rate hikes and water agency funding of projects that should be funded by private interests. Hanscom says Planbeck has spoken for the Santa Clara River and its inhabitants and promoted diversity for water agencies. Hanscom emphasizes the importance of protecting animals and the food web, stating how clean water is crucial for all species, including humans. The board will recognize both directors, but Hanscom expresses her gratitude for Planbeck’s service and how she will be missed.

00:30:00 In this section, the SCV Water Agency Board discusses and approves two resolutions, one honoring Director Board and another recognizing the service of Director Planback. The first resolution is approved unanimously, while Director Ford abstains from the second. Public commenters express their appreciation for Director Planback’s advocacy for water, the environment, and the community, and her willingness to ask difficult questions. Director Armitage also praises her efforts to promote conservation, equitable access to water, and responsible use of public funds. All members agree on Director Planback’s dedication and contributions to the board.

00:35:00 In this section of the video, the board members express their appreciation for Director Plant Beck’s service to the board and community over the years. They commend her for her efforts in ensuring the safety and sustainability of the water, and for giving everyone a chance to voice their opinion at board meetings. they also congratulate her on her service and wish her well. The board then moves on to public comment, which will be streamlined during item 5.2, where they will recognize and present resolutions for two directors who have served on the board.

00:40:00 In this section, the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board of directors recognizes Jeff Ford for his outstanding service and dedication to the agency for over three years as a board member. They appreciate his support for the board employees and customers of the agency during his tenure. The board presents him with a water drop in recognition of his service. Jeff thanks the staff and board for their hard work and competence during the tough times, and he says he enjoyed his time as a board member. In addition, Len Plantback is also honored and commended for her years of service as a director on the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board.

00:45:00 In this section, the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board recognizes and commands Lynne Plambeck for her 27 years of service as a director of the Newhall County Water District and the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency. Plambeck is a member of the Aqua Groundwater Committee and Aqua Water Quality Committee and currently serves as an alternate director on the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board. She supported the agency’s mission statement of providing responsible water stewardship, ensuring the Santa Clarita Valley has reliable supplies of high-quality water at a reasonable cost. Plambeck spoke about the prevalence of out-of-area packs and large corporations that essentially bought a seat on the water board with hit meals, exaggerations, distortions, and lies. She called out the corrupted nature of recent elections and pondered the public’s lack of trust in elected officials.

00:50:00 In this section of the meeting, a member of the public urges the board to stop assuming that they have plenty of water and instead start planning for a future with reduced water supply. The speaker calls on the board to work with city and county planning to protect local water resources such as groundwater supplies and recharge areas to ensure the long-term viability of the Santa Clara River. Another member of the public takes the time to honor director Lynn Clanback, who is retiring from the board after serving for decades. Assemblywoman Polisar Chavo also thanks Clanback for her years of service and dedication to the community.

00:55:00 In this section, several individuals spoke in honor of Lynne Plambeck, who is leaving the SCV Water Agency Board. Susie Kaufman expressed her admiration for Planbeck, calling her a hero and praising her hard work and dedication to the community. Kaufman also criticized the lack of applause from the men’s sector of the board, and encouraged everyone to follow in Planbeck’s footsteps. Another speaker, Stacy Fortner, honored Planbeck’s selflessness, dedication, and focus on the greater good, while expressing both sadness and hope for Planbeck’s future.

01:00:00 In this section of the board meeting, there was recognition and gratitude expressed for Lynne Plambeck’s tireless work in promoting biodiversity and protecting natural resources and the environment. After nearly 25 years on the board, Plambeck had been a lone voice for the protection of natural resources and had always voted for the greater good of the community. There were also public comments acknowledging her hard work and dedication to promoting clean water supplies and fair pricing for all residents. Additionally, there was a call for a peaceful transfer of power and treating each other with respect.

01:05:00 In this section of the SCV Water Agency Board Meeting, a member of the public expressed concern regarding the treatment of outgoing board members during voting. The member encouraged the board to consider their actions and treat each other with kindness and respect. The member also spoke in praise of the outgoing board members’ service and contributions to the community. Another member of the public spoke in support of the outgoing board members, commending their vocal presence and willingness to ask questions during board meetings. The meeting concluded with a brief recess to celebrate the service of the outgoing board members.

01:10:00 In this section of the SCV Water Agency Board Meeting, the board approves the consent calendar, which includes a reduction of $32 in funding for a local Hazard Mitigation Plan due to fine-tuning of the application. Director Armitage thanks staff for submitting a Grant application in-house, and comments on the importance of the Hazard Mitigation Plan and the inclusion of public comments in the document. The board also approves receiving and filing the SCD Water June 30 2022 annual comprehensive financial report, with a revised version being made available.

01:15:00 In this section, the controller of the SCV Water Agency presents the audit report to the board, highlighting the importance of audits and internal controls in preventing fraud. The revised staff report and annual comprehensive report (ACFR) are also discussed, with the ACFR containing three main sections: introductory, financial, and statistical. The ACFR includes a transmittal letter, a service map, organizational structure, and the Auditor’s independent report which gave the agency a clean opinion. The management discussion and analysis section provides summary information and shows tables in a more English format, including the statement of net position (balance sheet) and the statement of revenues, expenditures, and changes in fund balances (income statement).

01:20:00 In this section of the SCV Water Agency Board Meeting, a board member explains the agency’s financial statements in detail. They discuss the different names given to accounting terms in government versus private sector, such as calling a profit and loss statement a “statement of revenues expenses and changes in net position.” They then break down the agency’s capital assets, debt, and accumulated depreciation and amortization, noting that a variance in depreciation was fixed by the Oracle system. The member also highlights the importance of internal controls and mentions the statistical section which provides further details of the agency’s finances.

01:25:00 In this section of the video, the speaker discusses a corrected restatement for the annual comprehensive financial report for the SCV Water Agency. The restatement was made to correct an error in the depreciation amount for the Earl Schmidt plant. Despite the restatement, the agency’s net position has been increasing over the past three years, which is an indication of its improving financial health. The government agency’s net investment in capital assets, represented by the big blue bar, has been increasing due to the construction of new plants and contributions from developers.

01:30:00 In this section of the board meeting, the financial state of the SCV Water Agency is presented. The agency has over $1.2 billion in assets including land, vehicles, buildings, and computers. Although they have some equity, it is mostly restricted and used for specific projects, growth, and taxes. The agency has put almost $49 million towards capital assets and debt payments, resulting in their unrestricted net position decreasing over the last three years. The board also discussed their long-term debt, which includes multiple active issues and unusual capital appreciation bonds that cannot be refinanced. The agency’s revenue comes primarily from water sales, property taxes, and reimbursements for perks.

01:35:00 financial report presented by Amy in this section of the meeting. The report showed a net increase in revenue for the fiscal year, resulting in a positive change in the agency’s net position. The board received and filed the report, with Director Cooper making the motion and Director Bronstein seconding it. Director Kelly expressed appreciation for Amy’s presentation and the agency’s dedicated staff. The board moved on to discuss the general manager’s agreement and salary determination, following Stone’s excellent performance evaluation. A revised salary survey was sent out, and the discussion on this item continued.

01:40:00 In this section, the board discusses a proposed salary increase for General Manager Stone, as his performance evaluation was excellent and they consider their agency comparable to other large agencies. They ultimately vote in favor of the salary increase, bringing Stone’s annual salary to $27,000, representing a 6.1 percent increase. Stone thanks the board for their action and provides updates on his organizational and personal goals for 2022 and highlights plans for a strategic plan. He also discusses initiatives related to drought response, conservation, water resources, and groundwater treatment.

01:45:00 In this section, the board discusses staffing and HR related issues, financial efforts, operational issues, technical engineering services, watershed related initiatives, and more. The board emphasizes the need for better GM and board communications and responsiveness, including one-on-one meetings, GM reports at board meetings, and backup notes. They also discuss the importance of good communication with department heads and key technical staff, and the need for the board to be informed of any requests or questions. Additionally, they highlight the need to grow staff skills and presentation abilities to better serve the organization.

01:50:00 In this section, the SCV Water Agency discusses improvements to their presentation process, including the use of guiding documents and possible training sessions. They also plan to launch the Water Academy as a new avenue for public feedback, and to assess the employee experience to improve their organization. The GM also takes a moment to thank outgoing board members for their diligence and contributions to the agency.

01:55:00 In this section, the board members discuss recent staff retirements and their holiday party, which was described as the “funnest public sector Christmas party” and a representation of the agency’s emerging culture and spirit. Director Bronze Team shares her positive experience of attending the party incognito and hearing good things about the agency from fellow attendees. The board acknowledges the hard work of the Employee Activity Committee in organizing the event and the great job that agency management is doing in attracting and retaining excellent staff.

02:00:00 In this section, the board members of the SCV Water Agency discussed their recent holiday party and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate with their coworkers. They also briefly discussed upcoming committee meetings and events, including the Urban Water Conference and sexual harassment prevention training. The board president also announced that dinner will be served prior to board meetings starting in February, with public access to the dining room during this time. Additionally, the president reported on an upcoming Joint Powers Authority meeting and recognized Jerry Gladbach’s receipt of a Lifetime Services and Water Leadership certificate. No public comments were made.

02:05:00 In this section of the meeting, the board discussed ab1234 reports, with Director Armitage reporting on the executive committee of the special district association of North LA County’s virtual meeting in December, where updates were discussed relating to the California special district association, and planning for the first general membership meeting of the new year. Director Peterson also reported on a recent meeting with the general manager and his efforts to learn more about how the meetings are supposed to go. Other ab1234 reports included one about attending the VIA luncheon at COC University Center and the city council organizational meeting at City Hall. No public comment was made.

02:10:00 In this section, the SCV Water Agency Board Meeting discusses a closed session item to discuss the conference with real property negotiators, with no reportable action being taken. They also review the difference between a future agenda item and an informational item, and remind members of the upper Santa Clara Valley jpa and Devil’s Den not to leave. Director Bronstein wishes those who celebrate a happy Hanukkah, and the board is adjourned until 2020.

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