July 12, 2020
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Tech. upgrade for Cotati sewers/water

By: Lanny Lowery
May 10, 2019

Having attended and conducted many study sessions about literature, history and algebra, I always find most any study session fascinating.  The Cotati City Council and head school master Damien O’Bid (who doubles as the city manager), offered a tutorial about sewers and water on Tue., May 7.  This budget study session focused on Community, Infrastructure and Economic Development.

Following up on “the guidance provided by the city council and the community during the strategic planning session held March 27, 2019, staff has compiled the attached draft budget of the Enterprise Funds which includes the Water, Water Capital, Sewer and Sewer Capital Funds,” reported O’Bid.  He focused on the 2019-20 City objectives.

For the community, investments would be made in technology upgrades, including the financial software system.  Improvements to the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) allow more careful monitoring.  And the city is committed to “continuing to dedicate funding for both public education programs and water conservation rebates.”  The budget includes an update to the rate plan for water connection related to accessory dwelling units.

O’Bid discussed infrastructure, expenditures and the 2011 capital improvement program.   For the current fiscal year, the city is “estimating total capital improvement expenses of $4.68m with $4.4m dedicated to the Laguna Bypass P-1 Sewer Pipeline project connection.”  A significant component of the 2011 program, the plan was “to correct deficiencies within our sewer collection system as well as adding redundancy to the single sewer crossing of U.S. 101.”

Three projects were listed for the 2019-20 fiscal year.  The proposed improvement of the Cypress Water Tank and main replacement will cost approximately $205k; new chlorination equipment, $89k; and manhole refurbishment, $100k.  Additionally, the vehicle replacement and maintenance for vehicles used in the above projects is budgeted at $25k.

Economic Development involves the collection of connection fees as well as conservation fees.  O’Bid told the council, “To remain conservative for fiscal year 2019-20, we have only included the anticipated fees on the Kessing Ranch/100 Valparaiso development.”

In summary, O’Bid maintained, “the budgets are in line with historical trends but with a more conservative look at revenues related to the timing for development.”  He stated that the city “will continue to meet and exceed the required operating reserve of 33 percent” He emphasized the need to watch carefully the sewer and water operating funds.  Lecture completed, no action taken.  

The Cotati City Council next meets Tue., May 14 for a regular session.  On Mon., May 13, the Cotati Planning Commission has a special meeting at city hall at 7 p.m. regarding the hotel about to be built.  First water and sewers, now hotels, and to think, these study sessions come at no cost.