Perfect storm resulted in massive gridlock, trash collection, and portable toilet overuse
January 5, 2021
By Vicky Rinek
Faced with thousands of snowplayers, Wrightwood Community Services District (WCSD) had to come up with a plan to deal with trash and restroom facilities. General Manager Lori Golden explained to the Board that she and her staff have been doing their best to combat the situation. The expense is a financial burden, but also a strain on the infrastructure. Over the last Holidays, Wrightwood snowfall resulted in an overabundance of visitors that the town could not handle. The population of Wrightwood is only 5,150; however, when the Mountains are covered in snow, the lowlands see it as an invitation to come up and play, thereby increasing the population to nearly 20,000. The Village does not have the resources to handle crowds this size. The public restrooms were locked because of overuse of the system that the septic tanks could not handle. The WCSD attempted to prepare for the overload by ordering 16 portables. Lori Golden, GM, requested more units; however, Septic Control could not provide additional units as there were none available. The cost to WCSD is $125 per unit. For 16 units, the cost adds up to $1,200, for a 28-day rental fee, with cleaning out of each unit once a week. Lori indicated that the units would be full during heavy use over the weekend and could not be used until the Septic Control came out and drained the units at an extra cost of $35 for each unit. During heavy use, the costs for three-time clean-out would cost WCSD $1,120 each week. For a month, the cost could exceed $3,000 (including the rental and extra cleaning service for 28 days). When adding two additional rental periods, the cost could add up to $10,000 (including overtime). Grizzle Cafe has two Septic Controls units on their lot to help accommodate their customers and reduce their indoor restrooms. “The portable toilets were overused, and they had to lock the doors because they were too full.” Said Leo Hordyk, “This is the same problem every year and getting worse. Customers come running into the store and lines outside too.” Leo has his employees come out and check the units morning, noon, and night to clean and restock toilet paper. With all these visitors comes loads of trash. WCSD has put out extra trashcans, three-four trashcans around the buildings, next to the trash bins, and two-three around the parks. There is someone in the office every day of the week. The trashcans fill up every day, and the staff clean out the trash; no soon is it done, it is full again in a couple of hours. CR&R has provided extra trashcans around the Village and come up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to dump and haul away the trash. This is a serious problem during snow days when the Village is packed with visitors. The trash is then piled up and around the cans, making more of a mess for the employees the next day. Lori indicated that she does not have the authority to give overtime pay to the employees during those days when she needs them most. Lori has come out on her own time and collected trash. The problem is when they clock out; there is no one available to clear out the cans in the later hour period. Leo Hordyk asked Lori to come to the Board in advance and request overtime; however, Lori indicated she wouldn’t know when she would need that extra time until it snows and the crowds from the lowlands come up to play and bring their trash with them. CR&R manager, Brent Spears, said he would provide more residential cans around the downtown area and along the highway. Lori can call if they need more trashcans. Chuck Franklin, WCSD Board member, would love to get together and set up a meeting and hear what the public has to say; maybe they would come up with a solution that doesn’t break the bank. The Board established a Special Winter Tourism Standing Committee for three separate dates and times to accommodate the public. The Special Winter Tourism Standing Committee will be reported on next week.
Wrightwood CSD Board member takes his final bow By Vicky Rinek
Wes Zuber, a four-year board member, will be turning over his seat to a new board member, Sadie Albers. The new board member will take the seat on December 4. The Wrightwood Community Service District, established in 2017, is the local government agency dedicated to operating and maintaining the public-owned properties, parks and recreation, streetlights, and solid waste. The first Board consisted of Stephanie Carroll, Natalie Lopiccolo, Leo Hordyk, Wes Zuber, and Michelle Schneider. The first sum of money received from the county was only $14,000. The Board was expecting $22,000 from Special District. Those first months were confusing, but the Board pulled it together with Zuber as the President. He brought his organizational skill from UIA to the CSD and helped build a solid foundation for the new CSD. The Board members did not take any compensation for their seats. They all volunteered to oversee the CSD and make sure this new government agency would benefit the community. During the past four years, Zuber kept a close watch on the public funds, ensuring the agency was transparent and followed the county guidelines and state rules in a responsible manner. He did precisely that, even if it meant criticism from outsiders. Zuber was a perfect fit for the new agency. He made sure the CSD operation would be managed appropriately and kept a tight hold on publicly-owned property maintenance and spending. He even provided UIA services to CSD free of charge to make necessary repairs and improvements. The CSD only paid for parts, and Zuber had his crew provide the labor without charging the CSD. While the buildings under the control of the San Bernardino County were severely neglected, under Zuber’s watch the buildings have had a transformation. Today you will see the CSD property maintained, new roofs, new stair entrance, security systems, painting, plumbing, gardening, and the payoff of the loans held by SBCo on the skate park. Wes provided an internet connection free of charge, and he said the service would continue for another year free of charge. At the last Board meeting, held December 2, 2020, Michelle Schneider remarked that Wes gave so much of his time to the organization and help guide the Board under his direction. Leo Hordyk recalled the day when he and Wes Zuber filed the first documents to establish the WCSD with the San Bernardino Registrar of Voter office. “That’s how we first got started on the Board. Thank you, Wes, you’re a good friend and partner.” Board member Chuck Franklin jokingly mentioned that his term is only two years and Wes could come back. Natalie Lopiccolo commented on Wes’ contribution to the CSD, “I want to tell you how much I truly appreciate all your service and how much I admire you and respect you. You built the WCSD from the ground up.” Michelle seconded that. Lori Golden, the General manager, commented, “ Wes, you have so much knowledge, and you worked with me from the start, and I really appreciate it.” Under Zuber’s watch during these past four years, he leaves the WCSD in good condition. He held the last WCSD meeting on December 2, 2020, precisely as he did on the first meeting, with a firm hand on the wheel directing the Board in the right direction.
The Wrightwood Community Services District held a special meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2020
By Vicky Rinek
A special meeting was a reschedule on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, to replace the general meeting set for November 3. The meeting was held via teleconference through Zoom. The agenda included: • October 2020 Financials • Fiscal Year-End June 30, 2020 Audit and Financials • Christmas Tree Donation • Brown Act Amendments AB992: • CSD Contractors Policy and Criteria • Per Capita Grant Standing • Snow Removal Ad Hoc • CSD Board election • Lion’s Club Rental and Variance • AA Proposed Rental • Farmers’ Market Proposed Rental • CSD Building Opening The Board accepted public comments. Pam Wright discussed issues regarding the proposal of an Eastside Park. Her expertise in working with other cities led the discussion of possible requirements that the Board might face in preparing to develop the park. Pam also highlighted the challenges in developing a new park and suggested that the Board consider existing park improvements. Randy Marbach and Bruce LaClaire, from the Wrightwood Property Association, commented on the park, adding that the development could exceed the budget, and the maintenance of a new park could be a financial burden to WCSD. No further public comments were made. There were no agency representatives present, and no fire or sheriff reports were given. The General Manager, Lori Golden, made a brief report on completing the painting and invited the Board to examine the building. The Board commented on the work and stated that the buildings look great. Lori stated that Measure W passed by a large margin. Steve Kennedy, attorney, explained the Appropriation limits. When the WCSD was created in 2017, LAFCO granted a temporary appropriation limit. The appropriation limits establish the funds collected from the property taxes to be used by the WCSD to operate the Public properties, solid waste, streetlights, and other future operations. This temporary appropriation limit expires in three years (2021) and would require a measure to be voted on by the community. A 50% +1 would be required. With Measure W approved by voters, the WCSD would have a permanent appropriation limit and adjust the figures annually without any further voting. In preparing for the snow season, Lori has ordered porta-potties. She had scheduled some tree trimming that was too large for her crew to complete. They did some trimming on smaller trees but were unable to complete the trimming on larger trees. The cost for the trimming would be $90 per tree. Lori indicated the WCSD received notice from the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control that the Wrightwood Brewing Company has applied to expand their license and have a jukebox for entertainment. The Board asked for further information before commenting on the expanded license. Leo Hordyk agreed to research the issue and bring it back to the Board in December. The meeting moved onto the audit of the financials ending June 30, 2020. The accounting firm Eadie & Payne performed the audit. Representatives Naguyer Hong and Brando Ferrell presented the report, discussing in detail their audit and their findings. They concluded that the WCSD’s financial records were accurate without any serious concerns. Minor adjustments about reclassifications of expenses were the only reports made to the financials. Ferrell indicated that the GM, Lori Golden, did all that was required to keep the accounting records for the WCSD. The WCSD Board was presented with various requests for the use of the community building. The Timberline Lions Club requested a waiver with their application for the use of the kitchen to prepare Thanksgiving meals for distribution. The Board agreed and approved the waiver of fees for this request. The second request came from the men’s AA meetings. Their meeting would require permission to hold meetings with 45 men attending the event. WCSD Board was concerned with the number attending, as there is a seat limit of only 15 people in the community building at any one time. The Board asked Lori Golden to contact the AA group and ask if they could reduce the number of participants to 15 per meeting. Lori will get in touch with the men’s AA group and see if they could work out the participation limits. Lori will let the Board know if they can accommodate this request. The Board realized that this group is an essential group and believes it is an important organization but must follow the State requirements. Approval was denied until the men’s AA group can make plans for smaller gatherings. The third request for the use of the Community Building was from the Wrightwood Farmers Market. Their request was held back until further research can be made by Lori Golden. Under normal circumstances, the Farmers Market would move into the building during the snow season. But under Covid 19 the rules have changed. The Farmers Market organizers presented detailed outlines on public safety; however, the Board could not make a decision on approving the use of the building. The request was denied. The Board agreed to keep the Community Building closed, while accepting special request for small gatherings (within the State requirements), of 15 attendees at a time. The Board moved onto the discussion of the Eastside park. Natalie told the Board that her research continues, and the plans are being reviewed by San Bernardino County. This report would not be available until late November. They would have a better understanding of what would be required to move forward with the park, including County permits needed. Natalie appreciated the public comments made by Pam Wright at the beginning of the meeting. She would take her suggestion under consideration with those from the County and present them to the Board at the December meeting. Franklin did not want to continue with the Eastside Park and would instead focus on rehabilitating the existing park improvements. The Board agreed to further review the Eastside park at the next meeting of December 1, 2020. The Board asked the attorney, Steve Kennedy, about the election procedures to swear in the new Board members. Kennedy indicated that the new Board members take their position on December 4, 2020. The new Board members could be sworn in on this date, officiated by a County official. A special meeting is not needed for the swearing-in ceremony. Kennedy also indicated that the swearing-in is usually held in person, and he needs to research if it can be done via Zoom. The final vote count has not been certified as of this date. The Board moved the meeting to a closed session. The next Board meeting of Wrightwood Community Services District will be held on December 1, 2020.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961