EQSD board votes to end consolidation process
By a 3-2 vote, the East Quincy Services District (EQSD) voted Tuesday, May 10, to officially end the consolidation process with the Quincy Community Services District (QCSD).
The decision by EQSD, which will be presented to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) in resolution form, effectively ends the 16-year consolidation effort by Quincy’s two service districts.
After talks broke down in recent weeks, the EQSD board had proposed extending the July 1 consolidation deadline by at least a year during its May 2 meeting.
The board changed its mind at the May 10 meeting.
“I was the biggest proponent and supporter of the (consolidation) process,” said EQSD board chairman Howard Hughes, who cast the deciding vote. “But I will tell you right now … you’ve got to be able to trust teammates.”
Hughes said that lack of trust stemmed from the QCSD voting in March to endorse its general manager, Larry Sullivan, as a candidate to lead the new combined American Valley Community Services Authority (AVCSA).
The vote was perceived by the EQSD board as a lack of respect for its general manager Mary Henrici.
LAFCo Executive Officer John Benoit said he hasn’t seen the EQSD resolution to end the consolidation.
He said EQSD must submit an application to LAFCo.
Under LAFCo rules, there will be a public hearing. Benoit said the process could take three to four months.
QCSD General Manager Larry Sullivan said his district has no intention of fighting the EQSD decision.
“There’s really nothing we need to do,” Sullivan said. “My direction is to go forward as if we are not consolidating. We don’t want to spend any more time and money on it.”
The consolidation process has reportedly cost well over $100,000.
EQSD board members Greg Margason and William Peay voted against ending the consolidation process.
“I would still like to look at what’s best for the whole valley in the long run,” Margason said.
“A good sewer facility,” Hughes quickly responded.
Building a new waste treatment facility has become a priority for EQSD in recent weeks.
The district has received two bids for building its own package treatment plant.
EQSD currently pays QCSD $330,433 annually to use its aging facility, which could require millions of dollars in upgrades or replacement in the next several years.
EQSD reported in April that it had a $5.7 million bid from FOP Development Group for a package treatment plant.
During the May 10 meeting, Henrici — who will be stepping down as general manager at the end of the month to take another job outside the county — detailed a second bid for $1.4 million from WesTech. That cost doesn’t include planning, construction and maintenance.
Henrici said the activated sludge treatment plant would be small, just 1,200 square feet in size. She said it would adequately handle all of EQSD customers.
“If it’s this cheap, I would buy two of them,” Hughes said, drawing laughter from the board members.
However, the EQSD board has said that it is purposely looking at package plants that could be expanded to service the other half of Quincy in the future, if needed.
EQSD engineer Dan Bastian said the easy part is deciding what to build. The harder part would be making it work.
“These are off-the-shelf pieces of equipment,” Bastian said. “Some of the real questions are: What do we do with the sludge? How do we dry it? Where does it go? Do we have a big enough area of ground? Do we need right-of-way? What’s our environmental document going to be like?
“This is the easy part.”
The board acknowledged that the process could take at least a couple of years.