With a recommendation on a preferred desalination project due in less than a month, the Peninsula mayors' water authority will begin its final evaluations of three competing proposals at Thursday's meeting.
The authority, which meets at Monterey City Hall at 7 p.m., will consider project evaluation matrix submissions from its own technical advisory committee and its consultant, Separation Processes Inc. Evaluations are designed to compare virtually every aspect of three projects — California American Water's north Marina desal plant, and Moss Landing desal proposals from DeepWater Desal and the Regional Desalination Project. They are expected to break down capital and operating costs, interest rates, financing, access to low-interest state loans, permitting and schedules, technical feasibility, legal issues, and ownership and management.
In addition to considering the project evaluations, the authority is expected to approve a contract for executive director services with the city of Monterey, whose city manager, Fred Meurer, has chosen former city administrator Bill Reichmuth for the job. Reichmuth, a former deputy city manager and public works director, briefly served on the authority's technical advisory committee last year before taking an extended leave of absence and returning to the committee several weeks ago. He will be paid up to $72,588 in salary, benefits and expenses through the end of the fiscal year for the part-time position, which is
His contract calls for paying him $105.20 an hour in salary and benefits, and covering administrative, travel and meeting expenses up to 15 percent of his salary. The authority is required to reimburse the city for his pay.
The authority is set to consider a revised draft public governance proposal at the meeting.
The project evaluations are intended to help the authority make a final decision on which desal project to back in formal testimony to the state Public Utilities Commission on Feb. 22. The authority is expected to make a final recommendation by the end of the month, likely requiring a special meeting next week.
The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District was supposed to fill out a project matrix, but general manager Dave Stoldt said district officials won't have time to submit an evaluation.
But Stoldt said he will participate as the district's representative in the authority technical advisory committee's consideration of the evaluation matrix earlier in the day. The committee meets 1:30 p.m. at Monterey City Hall, and is scheduled to consider a report on the Monterey Regional Waster Pollution Control Agency's stalled groundwater replenishment project.
Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett, the authority's vice-president, said he will encourage the authority to deliver a strong statement to the PUC on which desal project it supports, and what it expects from its preferred project. Burnett said he believes the authority will "have more leverage" with the PUC if it offers clear backing for one of the projects, though he said the authority could call for the PUC to require a back-up plan.