Monday, March 30, 2020

Its Do or Die Time at the Marinwood CSD. A letter.

Marinwood CSD Staff and Board Members

Next Tuesday is the Fire Commission meeting but we have not received notice of cancellation. Of course today was the opening of the Pool season which we were notified on Late Saturday.

While the cancellations are understandable given the fact that Marin County will now be closed until May 1st, it would be preferable to have adequate notice of change of plans.

I believe now more than ever that Marinwood CSD needs to formulate a 2020 Action Plan that will reduce our exposure to negative economic fallout from the COVID 19 crisis.  

Clearly, we are going to take a huge financial hit of potentially over $2 million dollars according to the budget presented at the March 10th Marinwood CSD meeting.  That is 1/3 of our total budget. Ouch.

Even if life gets back to "normal" in May, the financial effects of the shut down will last for many months and the psychological impact to the community cannot be understated.  I believe many parents will be reluctant to enroll kids in summer camps and pool programs until the risk from Covid19 is known.  It could be several years before residual fear abates.

I can only guess what the future holds and  listen to experts. There is no question that we are living in extraordinary times.  This is a time to set plans in place that will minimize our financial hit.

Here are items that should be under consideration for 2020 and decisions made in the coming weeks:

1.) Close the 2020 Pool season.  Do not hire additional staff. Instead consider using this year to resurface the pool.  I believe pool demand will be low and the fixed cost of operation may put us deeper in the hole.  As a daily swimmer, I find this a difficult decision but understandable given the circumstance

2.) Consider mothballing the Camp Season and replacing with "Covid 19" safe activities.  I don't exactly know what this will be.  I would contact the Miller Creek Superintendent to see if they are planning a Summer session that will impact camp attendance. These are unusual times and parents will still want their kids in school and/or need day care.  If school is in session, obviously few children will be attending camp.

Inexpensive carports can be upgraded.
3.) Postpone the Maintenance Facility project.  It is undeniably a very expensive proposition and likely to have strong opposition and possible legal challenges.  I know that Bill Hansell will be disappointed but if the CSD were to push it forward now, it risks bankruptcy and dissolution of the Marinwood CSD district. It is an unconscionable risk at present. I suggest that Bill rework the design for a community hall or other project but not expect anything for the near future.  A simple carport and shipping container storage can address the immediate needs for less than $10k . This will buy the district time for a permanent solution in the future.
Shipping containers  for tool storage can be disguised 

4.) EXPAND social media and community outreach.  Concentrate small improvements to our parks that do not require vast resources such as restoring park benches, installing handrails, bulletin boards, etc.

5.) With this restructuring, staffing roles need to be redefined.  Fewer seasonal employees are needed this year and full time staff may need to be downsized. Budget priorities should be reconsidered.

6.) The Brown Act is still in effect except for the physical presence requirement.  You still need public meetings and should communicate regularly with the public. Zoom, go to meeting. livestreaming all are possible.  Please utilize email, bulletin boards, signage etc to reach out to people.

As you know the CSD Board will have an election this year.  Much of what you do in the next few months will be scrutinized by the public. This is a time to embrace opportunity for growth.

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