BARSTOW HEIGHTS COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
President Jacobs called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM and Director Schendel led the group in the flag salute. Directors Jacobs, Schendel, Stapp, Wilkey, and Hayhurst were all present. There were no additional guests in attendance.
President Jacobs requested a motion on the Consent Items. Director Stapp motioned to accept the Minutes of the February 24th, 2014 Meeting, along with the Financial Reports for February of 2014 as presented. Director Wilkey seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
The Correspondence file was offered for review. Director Hayhurst inquired about the copy of the Annual Tax Allocation Summary received from the Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector that was reviewed during the last meeting, but was included in the Agenda packets for this meeting. The Secretary reported that she included a copy of the Summary along with a list of all of the Tax Allocations dating from FY1996-97 through FY 2013-14 to help answer the question Director Hayhurst had asked at the last meeting; how much the annual allocations had increased/decreased over the past few years. Director Hayhurst also had further questions about the RDA Pass-Through amount noted on this year’s summary, since she had been aware that the RDA had recently been dissolved by the State of California. She asked if the Director’s would mind if she called the County to ask them about it and they agreed that would be a good idea. President Jacobs noted that the last column of the list (Tax Roll Value) was left blank and let the Secretary know that we used to receive a letter that would inform us what the Tax Roll Value is each year. The Secretary confirmed that she hasn’t received anything like that and that she wasn’t sure how to find out what our tax toll values were to be able complete the Tax Allocations list. Director Hayhurst stated that she would ask about that too since she will be contacting them anyway and would let the Secretary know where to find that information once she finds out.
H Street Park was addressed. The Safety Check List from the City was reviewed. President Jacobs reported that the damage to the fence noted at last month’s meeting (rusted and separated couplings along the top edge of the fence railing on the West side of the park) had already been dealt with and repaired. The Board was very pleased with how quickly the City took action on it, and happy to see that the Safety Inspection report included more details about the variety of tasks the City has completed recently including fertilizing and spraying weed killer at both Parks. There was no new progress to be reported on the Ground Squirrel situation. Their population seems to be growing again, so Director Stapp agreed that he would need to get more of the smoke cartridges to President Jacobs to use to work on exterminating them again.
The new Covered Picnic Areas (Bid 13-03) were addressed as the Board reviewed an information sheet e-mailed to them that included specifics about one of the pre-fabricated canopy options and the additional costs involved. The canopy model presented was selected by Wade Harris who researched a variety of websites to find the one that he believes will suit our needs best. When President Jacobs asked Mr. Harris about the price increase prior to the meeting, Mr. Harris confirmed that it is due to an increase of about $5000 to have the large/heavy materials shipped (fuel and trucking costs). Director Hayhurst expressed her desire to go forward with ordering the pre-manufactured canopies that Mr. Harris recommends because the added cost of shipping would still be less than the additional engineering and labor costs that would be required if we opted to have one of the County’s approved contractors build them. Director Stapp had questions about whether the Board would still be interested in adding the decorative brick-work around each of the supporting posts as per the original design (based on the canopies at Venner Park). After some discussion, they all agreed that the additions to the supporting posts really wouldn’t be necessary, as it would only add to the cost and create a larger surface that would provide more potential for vandalism. Director Hayhurst motioned to approve the ordering of the two pre-fabricated structures recommended by Harris Construction, as well as give Harris Construction an advance of up to $15,000 towards the purchase of the structures as soon as it is needed to proceed with the project.
Director Schendel seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Director Jacobs added his opinion that Harris Construction may not yet be able to proceed fully with the ordering of the canopies until all of the plans are approved by the County, but agreed with the Board that this decision, even made early, will ensure that Mr. Harris won’t be stuck waiting any additional time for Board approval. The Secretary was directed to call Mr. Harris right away the next morning to let him know.
The next item up for discussion was the dedicatory Plaque to express appreciation to former resident Dorothy Davis for her generous donations ($140,000 total) that are being used to fund the new canopies at H Street Park. President Jacobs encouraged the Board to think about and begin writing up some wording or a list of ideas pertaining to what the Plaque should say.
Venner Park was addressed. The Safety Check List from the City was reviewed. The Board was very pleased that the cracked sidewalk that was reported to the City after the last Board Meeting had been fixed so quickly. Director Wilkey reported that on the day that the concrete was poured, he discovered that two vandals had already drawn their initials into the wet cement. He was able to scrub/remove them with a little bit of water and a brush while those he suspected to be the vandals were still there at the park. President Jacobs remembered also that he wanted to tell Director Wilkey that he talked with one of the grounds-keepers there one day and mentioned to them that the bubblers keep popping off of the sprinkler heads. The grounds-keeper said they would take care of it, and Director Wilkey confirmed that he noticed that the problem seems to have been resolved. Going back to the concrete repair, the Secretary had already received a copy of the invoice from Mark Gerardi that shows our portion of the costs for the repairs will be $1714.00. The Secretary was asked to call Mark again to find out if we will still be billed by the City of Barstow, since the invoice lists Barstow Heights CSD as the customer, when the bill should actually be addressed to the City of Barstow. Director Wilkey asked for clarification on that; as to why the Board didn’t put that job out for bid, but let the City hire for it. Director Schendel answered that it is because the job was considered a repair/maintenance, which is the City’s responsibility to take care of however they need to, whether that means hiring a separate contractor or doing the work themselves. Director Wilkey asked if he could see the contract we have with City of Barstow, and the Secretary agreed that she would make a copy for his reference. President Jacobs read a portion of the contract to help clarify exactly what responsibilities pertain to each party.
The Auditor’s Contract was addressed. President Jacobs turned the meeting over to Director Hayhurst to explain what she learned during her search for a new Auditor. Director Hayhurst was told that because our District is small and the Audit is not very substantial compared to other agencies, that it would likely be hard for us to get a variety of competing bids for such a small contract. After talking with a few friends at the City of Barstow and at the Mojave Water Agency, she was referred to Paul Kaymark, CPA at Charles Z. Fedak & Company. After contacting them she was given a Proposal that is $1250 less per year than we had been paying our previous Auditor. The new Auditor would require that we use Quickbooks for our accounting and would definitely come on site to present the Audit Report to the Board and answer any questions we have. She felt that it would be a wise move to get more service from them, including assistance to modernize our accounting procedures with Quickbooks, for less money. Furthermore, she learned that because this is a “professional services agreement” we do not have to have it go out for Bid. Director Stapp asked why the Contract presented asks for a commitment of three years if signed and if that is really to our benefit. Director Hayhurst explained that because the initial setting up of an Annual Audit does require more work to get going, it is beneficial for the Secretary and for the CPA to have that consistency for a few years rather than having to re-start the more-lengthy set-up process with a new Auditor each year. She added that the $5000 of unclaimed refunds in our Checking Account that was left-over from the Road Improvements should have been ours years ago (after three years of being held) and that the new Auditor can assure we stay current on and not over-look those kinds of things. President Jacobs motioned to hire Charles Z. Fedak & Company to be the Auditor for Barstow Heights CSD for the next three years, as is specified in the Proposal Letter/Contract. Director Stapp seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
The Policy and Procedures Manual was addressed. The Code of Ethics was reviewed first. Director Wilkey thought it would be nice to add in language that would require each Board Member to have Ethics Training AB1234 every two years, as is required by the law. The Secretary was directed to add that to our Code of Ethics Policy. Director Hayhurst asked if we could delete all of the wording that seems condescending in tone. She felt that it should reflect more positive attributes, and assume that Directors know how to act professionally, rather than be focused on the negative behaviors Board Members should avoid. Director Schendel shared his opinion that the only things we might want to add on would be any specific things above what the Ethics Training standards set forth. Director Hayhurst wrote down the additional wording suggested by the Board and gave the Secretary her amended copy of the Code of Ethics with the paragraphs marked that should be removed. The General Manager Guidelines and Secretarial Duties were addressed next. President Jacobs clarified that the Secretarial Duties and Office Procedures should be a separate reference for the Secretary to use, rather than be a part of the Policy Manual that the public can read. The document presented provides too much detail, and thus, more general guidelines and a much shorter statement of responsibilities is needed to include in the Policy and Procedures Manual. The Secretary will continue to work on revising the documents. The Board suggested that the Secretary seek out copies of Manuals from other Districts to refer to for ideas about what could/should be included. The General Manager Guidelines also need to include a sentence that declares that the General Manager will also assume all of the Secretarial and Board Clerk duties.
The General Manager reported she has worked eleven additional hours since the last Board Meeting. She also reported that she included a “vacation request” letter in the correspondence file for the Board to review. President Jacobs read the letter that requests the week of Tuesday, June 24th through Thursday, June 26th as her one week of paid vacation this year. The request also asks that the Board Meeting in June be moved forward to the third week of the month, which would be Monday, June 16th, 2014. Director Schendel motioned to accept the General Managers’ vacation request. Director Wilkey seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
The General Manager reported that she continues to keep the Blog updated with the most recent Meeting Agendas and Minutes. She has also posted and shared the Photo of all the Director’s that was taken at the previous Meeting on 2/24/14.
President Jacobs requested the Directors’ reports. Director Stapp reported that he had learned that a resident has had trouble with tagging (vandalism) on a retaining wall on their property. He wondered if any Directors knew of anyone else who may have had that problem and if there are any suggestions about what could be done. Director Schendel suggested notifying the Sheriff to request additional surveillance. The resident could also contact the Secretary with more details if she would like to have it reported on the blog or share more about the issue on Facebook (to ask if anyone else has information/suggestions they can share and to request that neighbors help to keep a closer eye out for one another).
President Jacobs asked the Secretary if there were any additional bills to be paid. She indicated there were none. Director Schendel motioned to pay the bills as presented. Director Wilkey seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
There was no New Business to address and no Executive Session was requested. The next Regular Meeting was scheduled for Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 6:00 PM. The meeting adjourned at 7:22 PM.
Jen RubioSecretary/General Manager