Temecula-Elsinore-Anza-Murrieta Resource Conservation District
Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, March 9, 2017 4:00 PM
41923 Second Street, Fourth Floor
Temecula, CA 92590
I. PRELIMINARY FUNCTIONS
Call to Order, 4:00 p.m., meeting recorded by Rose Corona
Roll Call/Establish a Quorum:
Directors Present: Rose Corona (President); David Kuhlman (Vice President); Director Newcomb - arrived late; Carol Lee Brady (Secretary Treasurer) – arrived late
Director Appointed by Board of Supervisors, Oath of Office Pending: Judy Guglielmana
Associate Directors Present: Dave McElroy; Rick Neugebauer
Associate Directors Absent: Randy Feeney
District Counsel Absent: Tawny Lieu, Greg Priamos
Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCS): Bob Hewitt
Guest Speaker: Judy Mitchell, Mission Resource Conservation District (Mission RCD)
President Corona performed the swearing in of Judy Guglielmana, who had been appointed by Supervisor Kevin Jeffries the week prior; and a quorum was established upon completion of her Oath of Office.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
President Corona asked for a motion to approve the agenda. Director Kuhlman made the motion and Director Guglielmana seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 3-0.
II. CONSENT CALENDAR & CORRESPONDENCE & III. GENERAL INFORMATION
President Corona moved to approve the consent calendar, correspondence and general information including financials. Director Kuhlman seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 3-0.
IV. ACTION ITEMS/ DISCUSSION CALENDAR
Item 1: Oath of Office for re-appointed Directors – Carol Lee Brady and Dave Kuhlman and Oath of Office for new board member Judy Guglielmana
President Corona summarized her inquiry to Riverside County about clarification on who is authorized to perform Oath of Office. She reported that in a recent phone call to the County, she was advised that she, as President of the TEAM RCD Board, was indeed authorized. Directors Brady and Kuhlman were both re-appointed and so President Corona proceeded to swear in Director Kuhlman. Director Brady had not yet arrived at the meeting.
Item 2: Discussion and potential approval to accept the resignation of Randy Feeney as Office Manager and Dave McElroy as Associate Director
President Corona noted that Associate Director Feeney was not present, but would be stepping down as office manager but retaining his IT duties. She asked for a motion to accept the resignations of Mr. Feeney as Office Manager and Mr. McElroy as Associate Director, and Director Kulhman made the motion; Director Guglielmana seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 3-0.
Item 3: Discussion and potential approval of Services Agreement with Dave McElroy as an independent contractor to provide administrative and office management services
At this point Director Newcomb arrived, and President Corona welcomed him. She then continued, providing a brief history about Mr. McElroy’s past background working with resource conservation districts (RCDs) in Ohio, and noted that he had done a great job for TEAM RCD in water audits and the Crop Swap program. She asked Mr. McElroy if he would like to say a few words, and he expressed his pleasure and excitement at working in this new capacity.
President Corona asked if anyone had questions and there were none. She called for a motion to approve the services agreement with David McElroy as an independent contractor to provide administrative and office management services. Director Guglielmana made the motion; Director Newcomb seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 4: Discussion and potential approval of Memorandum of Understanding with Mission Resource Conservation District and TEAM RCD collaboration on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Western Pond Turtle Survey of 2017 and the Nature Conservancy
Discussion and potential approval of Contract for Services with The Nature Conservancy relating to SRPER Western Pond Turtle Survey;
Discussion and potential approval of Memorandum of Understanding with Mission Resource Conservation District for subcontractor services relating to SRPER Western Pond Turtle Survey; and
Authorize the President to sign the agreements with any minor changes.
President Corona turned the floor over to Judy Mitchell, Mission Resource Conservation District (Mission RCD).
Ms. Mitchell began by saying that she was happy to be back working with TEAM RCD, and that there had been a long history of cooperative programs on the watershed. She continued, saying that it’s appropriate for the two districts to get back to cooperating together. She expressed that she thinks this is the beginning, and that Mission RCD has a staff member with expertise in the area of Western Pond Turtle, and that the entire staff is happy to see TEAM RCD involved with the Nature Conservancy.
Director Kuhlman asked when the relationship between the two associations began to break down, and Ms. Mitchell responded by saying she thought that it started with a misunderstanding of the rules about 8-10 years ago. She said that it was through cooperation between districts that they become individually stronger. One example she provided was working in cooperation with TEAM RCD to get the senate representative to sponsor a bill and begin the process of getting RCDs state funding.
Ms. Mitchell mentioned that she had seen the revised MOU and President Corona indicated that she had passed along updates to District Counsel, and they provided an update included in the handouts. She said that the Nature Conservancy had some red lines but they didn’t appear to be major; and Counsel indicated that it’s up to the TEAM RCD Board to decide if they want to move forward.
There was brief discussion clarifying the overview of how the contract and process would work, and that the overall goal of the program is to monitor survival of the pond turtle during the drought.
President Corona asked for a motion to potentially approve Item 4’s section a) the contract for services with the Nature Conservancy relating to SRPER Western Pond Turtle survey. Director Kulhman moved, Director Guglielmana seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
President Corona requested a motion to potentially approve Item 4’s section b) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mission Resource Conservation District for subcontractor services relating to SRPER Western Pond Survey. Director Kuhlman made the motion; Director Newcomb seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
President Corona asked for a motion to authorize the President to sign the agreements with any minor changes. Director Newcomb moved; Director Kuhlman seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 5: Discussion, update and on Memorandum of Understanding with Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA) and partnership with TEAM RCD
President Corona revisited the discussion from the January 2017 Regular Board Meeting, in which the board agreed that this particular MOU was very specific, and that Counsel did not feel that it was a benefit to the RCD. She summarized by saying that rather than signing a blanket MOU with RCA it would be in TEAM RCD’s best interest (as advised by District Counsel) to wait and review opportunities one at a time as they arise.
Associate Director Neugebauer added that it would give TEAM RCD flexibility. Director Newcomb suggested developing an MOU that provides some blanket authorization with some boundaries so that TEAM RCD could then execute action under the MOU without having to potentially wait 30 days until the next Board meeting. Director Corona agreed, and added that type of MOU is not what had been provided to TEAM RCD; and Director Newcomb asked if it was something that the District could work toward. President Corona indicated that they (RCA) have indicated that it would probably be better to start over again and develop something more broad.
Item 6: Natural Resources Conservation Services Report
President Corona turned the floor over to Mr. Bob Hewitt. Mr. McElroy asked him how many of the projects NRCS is involved with, as a district conservationist, that are in TEAM RCD’s district. Mr. Hewitt replied that there are 16 total, and 9 in the TEAM RCD district.
He continued with further background, saying that there is a new one with several old ones also in the district, with contracts back to 2012 that are still active and he is working to complete those as well. There was general discussion regarding erosion and mitigation on properties. President Corona mentioned the recent rains and noted that members of TEAM RCD need to keep Mr. Hewitt in the loop; and also to notify Mr. McElroy or herself if they hear of anything that might need attention with NRCS’ help.
Mr. Hewitt then reported on the Meadowview HOA project, saying that their engineers had developed their final version of the draft and that Flood Control liked it. He said that Flood Control was open-minded about the softscape nature of the design, which he was pleased to see since they usually do lots of hardscape; and is this positive change in their approach will help in the future.
President Corona advised the Board that there is funding available through the California state resource conservation districts (CARCD) based on different levels and tiers The first tier of money that RCDs can apply for is $15,000 for districts struggling to meet the tier one accreditation, and this tier is called “bootstrap”. The second tier is $40,000 that can help with specific projects in a district. This funding could provide for staffing or management.
Associate Director Neugebauer added that this would be something that TEAM RCD could request to help with the accreditation, and President Corona noted that much of the requirement is close to being met; and beyond the bootstrap level the larger grant money would also be helpful in the future.
Mr. Hewitt continued his report, saying that NRCS had a meeting the day before with all the permittees including California Fish & Wildlife and to a smaller extent U.S. Fish and Wildlife. He said that it seems to be going well.
There was some technical discussion regarding project details, and then Mr. Hewitt added that they had met with all the 38 tribes in Southern California because NRCS is trying to place an emphasis on working with them more. Mr. McElroy asked about their goals, and Mr. Hewitt responded that they want to bring back native vegetation. There are invasives that they would like to replace with the type that they historically have used for food and fiber.
Director Kuhlman asked if reservations have to comply with state rules because it’s reservation land; and Mr. Hewitt responded that they have to comply with the national rules.
President Corona thanked Mr. Hewitt for his report and moved to the next item.
Item 7: Discussion and potential approval for Request For Proposal to complete yearly compilation by CPA firms
Director Brady had not yet arrived, and President Corona summarized the item, beginning with a brief background regarding the approval by the Board of Supervisors for approval of a yearly compilation rather than an annual audit, which would have cost approximately $6,500/year.
With the approval from the Board of Supervisors, notification to President Corona by District Counsel of the passage of Resolution No 2016-234 (pursuant to Government Code section 26909 (b) (3)), and upon prior vote/approval of the TEAM RCD Board, Director Brady issued an informal RFP to three qualified CPA firms. These invitations were in addition to Nigro and Nigro, who had already previously provided an estimate of $1500.00. A copy of Director Brady’s summary (addressed to President Corona, dated 3/1/17, along with associated backup documentation) was provided in the board packet. Firms that Director Brady contacted were Copeland, Benner & Associates; Nottingham & Associates; Rogers, Anderson, Malody & Scott, LLP. Two written proposals were received – one from Nigro & Nigro and one from Rogers, Anderson, Malody & Scott, LLP who included four tiers of proposed pricing dependent upon the level of detail desired by TEAM RCD.
Comparing the price proposed by Nigro and Nigro (with note disclosures) to that proposed by Rogers, Anderson, Malody & Scott (with with note disclosures), Nigro and Nigro was lower. President Corona noted that since Nigro and Nigro is also already familiar with TEAM RCD. Based on their lower price, moved to accept Nigro and Nigro to perform the compilations. Director Newcomb seconded the motion. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 8: Discussion on the potential approval of a date for Open House special meeting day for all Board members, Associate Directors and public to view all Conservation Easements and properties that are the purview of TEAM RCD in addition to review of all financial obligations
President Corona explained the scope of this item and that it would take time to go around to view all of TEAM RCD’s conservation easements. She said that Associate Director Neugebauer was going to help with arrangements, but asked the Board to provide some dates to him that the directors would be available for the tour. There was some discussion regarding whether a visual aid presentation could suffice, and there was agreement that an in-person visit to sites would be most beneficial. Dates were reviewed as well as options for transportation; however there was no firm selection of date. President Corona recommended returning to the topic at a later date and moving to the next item.
Item 9: Discussion and potential approval of funds to pay for yearly Fish and Wildlife permits fees with potential amount up to $1473.00 for the annual 1600 permit fees for years 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016
President Corona informed the board that she had recently discovered that there was an annual fee associated with the 1600 permit which had not been previously disclosed to her from the former administration. She had contacted Mr. Brandt of Fish & Wildlife to verify whether or not TEAM RCD had paid the fee, since she was not able to find documentation in archived files from the previous board Presidents. She estimated that the top end of the fee structure was $300/year, and Director Kulhman asked if the sum total would be $1,400 over the potential years the fee would have applied. President Corona said that about $1,473 would be the top end, over four years, in her estimation. She asked for a motion to potentially approve funds to pay for the Fish & Wildlife permit fees for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 at the top limit of $1,473.
Director Kuhlman moved; Director Guglielmana seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
V. OLD BUSINESS
Item 1: Discussion and update on Biological Monitoring progress and reports on Adeline Farms and Greer Ranch
President Corona turned the floor over to Associate Director Neugebauer, who reported that there would be a meeting the following day with the HOA and with one of the Councilmen John Ingram who also is their Board Chair. President Corona noted that he also serves on the City Council of Murrieta.
Mr. Neugebauer continued, saying that they would discuss some of the findings of the report and how they will implement some of the repairs or work needing to be performed. One of the things to be addressed is the presence of beavers on the property, which has been an ongoing issue for about 150 years.
An additional issue is the dialogue that continues regarding Adeline Farms with flood control and the maintenance of TEAM RCD’s easement there that hasn’t yet been resolved. There is also the question of Greer Ranch and the conservation easement (CE). If others are actually responsible for some of the area it could reduce the cost of TEAM RCD’s financial burden to monitor the report. This issue is still pending resolution.
President Corona moved to the next item.
Item 2: Water Audit and CropSwap Updates
President Corona invited Mr. McElroy to provide an update to the Board, and he briefly explained the program for the benefit of Director Guglielmana. He reported that 10 people have applied, and haven’t yet done a post-check on any. There was discussion regarding the types of crops involved, the potential cost benefit of the program to farmers, and some detail of the terms and conditions for those participating.
Item 3: Discussion and potential approval of Southern California Area RCD expenses for hosting the Fish and Wildlife portion of the Area Meeting and discussion and potential approval of payment for all members
President Corona briefly summarized the combined meeting to be held on March 25, 2017. Fish & Wildlife’s Mr. Jeff Brandt will attend the area meeting hosted by Antelope Valley RCD, will make a presentation and then be available to respond to questions and suggestions made by representatives from the various RCDs present.
President Corona continued, saying that she had also invited representatives from Rancho California Water District, Riverside County Flood Control, ad Riverside County Farm Bureau to listen in. She noted that this could generate discussion and possible partnering opportunities for TEAM RCD.
Continental breakfast costs would be split with Santa Ana Watershed Association and lunch would be less than $20/person, and she asked for a motion to approve funds for the TEAM RCD directors and associate directors who would be attending. Director Guglielmana said that she will be on vacation and not attending. President Corona recalculated base on the number of attendees including Jeff Brandt and estimated a total not to exceed $500. She requested a motion to approve those funds.
Director Guglielmana moved to approve, and Director Newcomb seconded. Call for vote. Motion approved 4-0.
Item 4: Discussion and potential approval of Southern California Area RCD Items for RCD review for submission to area meeting agenda to be signed by President and forwarded as consideration of board vote and opinion to be included in Area Agenda if only minor changes apply
President Corona said that there had been ongoing discussions in the area RCD meetings, that needed addressing and approval from each RCD Board. The secretary of the area had asked that each board discuss the following items and come up with a vote and consensus as to what their opinion would and might be regarding those issues and forward them to the Area meeting for discussion. President Corona has created recommendations based on those questions for the board to consider with the appropriate information. This would include the following:
Possible approval to close the Southern California Inland Area checking account and decide how to disperse the funds. The account is rarely used, and with existing requirements it is difficult and cumbersome to get the required signatures. President Corona recommended closing the account, since area RCDs fund their own expenditures, which makes having the account irrelevant. It was originally created for the speak-off fundraiser and contains the proceeds from the last area meeting hosted by TEAM RCD. President Corona suggested that it might be more appropriate for each RCD to fund their own participation for the speak-off if they choose to do so. For disbursement of the funds, she noted that they should be divided equally to each RCD to fund educational endeavors of the community, including educational trips for RCD board members with local approval.
Associate Director Neugebauer suggested donating the funds in whole to the Santa Rosa Plateau Education Foundation. Mr. McElroy noted that the money was raised by all the RCDs in the area and Santa Rosa Plateau is only a small section. There was further discussion, and President Corona summarized by saying she thought it made sense to split the money evenly and let each individual RCD apply it according to their educational needs within their district. The board agreed, and she moved to the next issue of possible approval to discontinue area dues and auction items for area meetings, based on the above discussion. There was general agreement on that item as well.
Discussion and Possible Approval to Discontinue Area Dues and Auction Items for Area Meetings- President Corona recommended that if Item 1 recommendation was approved by the Board, that there would be no reason to continue Dues or Auction Items for Area Meetings.The Board was in full agreement.
The third discussion item provided by President Corona tied to the previous two items – “possible approval of using area funding for potential youth awards on behalf of the area.” The board agreed that this topic was covered in prior discussion.
Possible approval of limiting the area meeting to once a year.” It was recommended that TEAM RCD consider supporting the idea of having only one annual meeting held within the last two weeks of January. President Corona explained that this way, the holiday season would be over and it would give the area a full 11 months to adopt and implement new ideas, projects and collaborations with each other. It also saves money for travel or luncheons and allows a shorter time period for updates from the state meeting, which usually is held in November.
It was also suggested that during the State meeting time frame, Southern California area RCDs obtain a hospitality suite, which would allow board area members to meet as if it were a Fall meeting (with the agenda for the State meeting in mind) to discuss issues for the yearly area meeting. The board agreed that this sounded acceptable.
Possibility to discontinue area meeting reports. The suggestion noted that an annual report rather than a report at every area meeting could be done; and she suggested posting it on the website. The board agreed that his also was acceptable.
Discussion of possible approval of designation of the So. Cal. Inland Member Agency Voting Delegates.” According to the bylaws of the area meeting an associate director cannot vote. The recommendation was that the TEAM RCD board could decide on a vote and give a proxy to another RCD. The Board agreed, and she asked for a motion for the approval of Southern California RCD items, for RCD review and for submission to area agenda
Director Kulhman made the motion and Director Guglielmana seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 5: Reminder-Form 700’s and Ethics Training due by March 31, 2017
President Corona summarized the topic and moved to New Business.
VI. NEW BUSINESS
Item 1: Discussion and potential approval of participation in April 22, 2017 Earth Day Celebration- 9:00-3:30 pm in Stampede Parking lot in Temecula
President Corona reported that she had been forwarded an email written by a former board member who is in charge of Earth Day. The event will be held on April 22 in the parking lot of the Stampede, a venue located in Old Town Temecula. It costs $20 to participate, and President Corona asked if TEAM RCD could sell plants to raise money. She suggested contacting a local nursery for donations.
Associate Director Neugebauer asked which organization was sponsoring the event, and President Corona responded that it was the Sierra Club.
Director Kulhman suggested recruiting high school volunteers for community service hours. Director Newcomb suggested putting Director Brady (not yet present at the meeting) in charge. President Corona noted that a Board member should be there but that Judy (Mitchell) from Mission RCD had said that she would be willing to help “man the table” as well because TEAM RCD and Mission share the watershed.
Mr. McElroy noted that Moon Nursery is making some donations and that he would contact them. There was also discussion regarding possible literature from Crop Swap; and Director Newcomb noted that he could get a tri-fold flier from the State organization.
Associate Director Neugebauer volunteered to reach out to high schools and different conservation groups for volunteers, and there was also discussion regarding donation of an Easy-up, tables and chairs.
Director Kuhlman moved that the Board allocate $20 for the Earth Day event, and President Corona seconded. There was no further discussion. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 2: Discussion and potential approval of template letter to Developers with outstanding refunds owed to them and authorization for President to sign if only minor changes apply
President Corona noted that the letter that she had drafted and sent to District Counsel was in the board packet. It notifies the Developers that through an extensive audit it was discovered that monies are owed to them; and that given that so much time has passed they may have already closed their books on this. Therefore, there were two options presented in her letter: the funds could be refunded to the developers; or they could request that the funds be donated back to TEAM RCD.
There was some discussion regarding verification of the amounts to be refunded, and President Corona reminded the board that the details were in the board packet, with a list itemizing the projects and dollar amounts. Discussion continued regarding the validity of the amounts, process for refunds if requested, and probability that there might be some balances donated back to the District. She requested a motion to approve sending the letter to the various Developers, and Director Newcomb moved for approval. Director Guglielmana seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 3: Discussion of Department of Conservation funding and use of such by potential approval to work toward fulfilling the Good Governance RCD Accreditation Standards
This topic had been discussed in part in previous Action Item 6, and President Corona asked for a motion to allow Mr. McElroy to work with her to prepare a grant submittal (due date of 3/28/17) requesting funds. Director Newcomb made the motion; Director Kulhman seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Item 4: Discussion and overview of projects presented by VCS Environmental for Long Term Management of Conservation Easements
President Corona turned the floor over to Associate Director Neugebauer, who reported that he had reached out to the Julie Beeman, principal at VCS and requested a face-to-face meeting rather than a phone conversation. He noted that it would be better to discuss the topics in person since there were agreements and documents that needed to be reviewed. There are two projects – one owned by the City of Murrieta and jointly by others. He said that the meeting should provide further clarification on the issues.
Item 5: Discussion and potential approval of cell phone policy for Board meetings
President Corona introduced the topic of a cell phone policy that keeps phones off during board meetings. There was discussion regarding what would and would not be included (vibration, texting etc.) She said that in her opinion it is reasonable to ask attendees to leave their phones off. Director Newcomb noted that there were times that it was necessary to be available for contact with others outside of the meeting; and Associate Director Neugebauer said that he thought that the block of time should be allocated to solely District business.
President Corona asked for a motion to accept a cell phone usage policy prohibiting texting or emailing, or calling except for District Counsel remote meeting participation.
Director Newcomb moved, and President Corona seconded. Call for vote. Motion resulted in a tie vote, 2-2. Newcomb and Kuhlman voting against. Gugliemana and Corona voting for the motion.
Director Kulhman suggested returning to the item for a vote of the full board if President Corona desired, and she agreed.
Item 6: Discussion on potential restoration projects with Riverside Flood Control
President Corona had already covered this item during the report by Mr. Hewitt, and reminded the Board to remain vigilant in case there was anything needing NRCS’ of flood help or attention.
VII. ORAL/WRITTEN REPORTS
1. District Counsel Gregory P. Priamos/Tawny Lieu – not present
2. TEAMRCD Director Reports Open
Rose Corona – no further reports.
At this point in the meeting, Director Brady arrived and the Board welcomed her.
Dave Kuhlman – nothing to report.
Carol Lee Brady – Director Brady said that unless there were any questions regarding the RFP she had nothing further to report. President Corona said that item had passed; but that Director had nominated her for Earth Day chair, which could be explained later.
Vicki Long - (resigned as a Director; replaced by Judy Guglielmana, who had nothing to report.)
Michael Newcomb – Director Newcomb reported that he is continuing to look at ways for TEAM RCD to raise funds through donations. In his work with Galway Downs there are opportunities through community events. President Corona stated that District Counsel had asked to have Director Newcomb contact them prior to further discussion regarding any projects of this nature.
3. Associate Director Reports Open
Rick Neugebauer – Associate Director Neugebauer combined this report with item 4, SAWA report, and noted that there was another crew added to do mitigation work. There are about $7 million in assets that will be spent in the next 10-15 years. He said that taking on mitigation area and doing more outside work increase cash flow and provides work for the biologist and mitigation crews.
Dave McElroy – no report
Randy Feeney – not present
4. SAWA/Fire Safe Reports Rick Neugebauer, Representative – covered during Associate Director reports
President Corona then returned to the item regarding re-appointment of Director Brady, and proceeded to swear her in with the Oath of Office.
VIII. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Item 1: Update and discussion regarding ad hoc committee for additional content for website and potential approval for process in presentation of content to the Board for approval and approval of content by Counsel
Item 2: Discussion and possible approval of creating policy for e-mail use
Item 3: Discussion and possible approval of creation of ad-hoc committee to create more specific board procedures and policies
Item 4: Discussion and potential approval to begin scanning and digitizing files
President Corona called for a motion to adjourn and Director Newcomb made the motion. Director Kuhlman seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 5-0.
Carol Lee Brady -Secretary/Treasurer Date