MCSD Board Approves Lobbying Agenda
By Jack Durham
A giant water tank, new sewer line, library expansion and a gobs of solar panels are among the projects that Dennis Mayo will lobby for this week in Washington, D.C.
The McKinleyville Community Services District Director is scheduled to leave early this week for five days of lobbying in the nation’s capitol, where he’ll attend the Association of California Water Agencies’ Annual Conference. Mayo has also scheduled numerous meetings with elected officials.
In preparation for his trip, the MCSD Board of Directors discussed its lobbying agenda at the Feb. 18 meeting. Projects that Mayo will lobby for include:
• An upgrade to the Ramey Water Pump Station, located at North Bank Road and Azalea Avenue. The district has determined that the water pumps need to be upgraded at a cost of about $975,000.
McKinleyville’s entire water supply passes through this single facility, which pumps water to reservoirs near Cochran Road and above Beau Pre Golf Course.
• An emergency water connection between the MCSD and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD). The district receives its entire water supply through a single pipe that crosses under the Mad River. Should that pipe break, it could take days, weeks and maybe even months to repair the line depending on water levels in the river.
The water connection would consist of a temporary line that could be hoisted over the river in an emergency and provide a small amount of water for emergency purposes. The project has an estimated cost of $150,000.
• An emergency water connection over the proposed U.S. Highway 101 Mad River Bridge now under construction. The bridge would include a water pipe inside.
The district would purchase additional pipe to extend across agricultural fields and connect to the HBMWD supply line. The project has an estimated cost of $600,000.
• A six-million-gallon water tank up the hill on Murray Road. The tank would provide water to serve new development and provide additional storage. The projected is estimated to cost $2.2 million.
• A new sewer line under U.S. Highway 101 near Thiel Avenue and Railroad Drive. The line would increase capacity and serve future upstream development. The cost is estimated at $400,000.
• A solar project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Hiller Park. The solar array would generate electricity for decades and decrease MCSD electrical bills. It’s estimated to cost $1.7 million.
• McKinleyville Library Expansion, with an estimated cost of $100,000 (See related article, page 1.)
Along with these McKinleyville projects, Mayo may lobby for money to improve various HBMWD pipelines, including those serving Fieldbrook and the Samoa Peninsula.
Although the HBMWD is a separate agency, it’s financially tied to the MCSD as its wholesale water supplier. If money can be found to reduce the cost of HBMWD projects, those savings would be passed on to McKinleyville ratepayers.
A short presentation of the lobbying agenda was made by Mayo at last week’s meeting.
While most of the agenda remained intact, the board suggested that some language be removed, including a statement that the MCSD was challenged by “excessive regulatory constraints” and “high labor cost from prevailing wage.” That language, directors said, would be counter-productive to the district’s efforts to secure funding.
Director John Corbett also made it clear that in lobbying on the district’s behalf, Mayo has a “duty to the board.” “You can’t be representing yourself or others,” Corbett said.
Mayo is scheduled to give a report to the board about his trip when he returns.