To sue or not to sue, that is the question for the Ross Valley Sanitary District, it seems.
The Ross Valley Sanitary District is approaching Corte Madera's sanitary agency with one hand open and one hand closed in a fist, according to a report from the Central Marin Sanitation Agency.
The Ross Valley Sanitary District, which includes Larkspur, is scheduled to meet tonight at the Twin Cities Police Department in Larkspur. The board will meet in closed session to confer with legal counsel regarding its current lawsuits against the Central Marin Sanitation Agency and Sanitary District No. 2, which represents Corte Madera.
CMSA's members include the Ross Valley Sanitary District, the Corte Madera sanitary agency, the San Rafael Sanitation District and the City of Larkspur.
John Dupar of Sanitary District No. 2, reported to the Corte Madera Town Council on Tuesday night that the Ross Valley Sanitary District is asking for a substantial loan from CMSA at the same time it is suing CMSA and its members.
That left a bad feeling around the CMSA.
"We don't want to give them a loan until they stop suing us," Dupar said. "They have to show their house is going to be in order before they get this loan."
Wendy Martin-Miller, business manager for the Ross Valley Sanitary District, responded, "We'd hope that the movement to settle those lawsuits outside of arbitration and outside of court will go a long way to making the others feel more comfortable with the deferral request and RVSD's commitment to trying to find a way to work in an appropriate manner with other agencies. … At the same time, there are matters that need to be examined and that's what the lawsuits are about."
Martin-Miller explained the district is asking only that the CMSA make a loan available should the district need it in the near future.
"We don't need a loan immediately, but CMSA has adequate reserves to make one available," Martin-Miller said.
The Corte Madera Town Council recommended to Dupar that he vote to authorize the deferment but the Ross Valley Sanitary District should be asked to drop its lawsuit as a result.
The Ross Valley Sanitary District could be staring at empty coffers as early as October. The district has requested a deferral of its first two quarter regional charges to CMSA to prevent the financial shortfall.
"Should CMSA demand its payments, then yes, we'll be facing trouble," Martin-Miller said. "If CMSA agrees to the deferral and we pay nominal interest rates, then we're fine. And then our board has time to determine how to prevent this cash flow problem from happening in the future. … Right now, the CMSA is being reasonable."
According to Dupar, the Ross Valley Sanitary District's request "works out to about $2.5 million. And then, on top of that, they have another $1.1 million plus their debt service that's due in January. They need to raise their rates."
"They're hurting. They're in a world of hurt over there due to their mismanagement over the past few years," Dupar said of the Ross Valley Sanitary District.