10523 Willow Valley Road

Nevada City, CA 95959



15 JULY 2015




I.  BOARD CALL TO ORDER: 4:30 PM for Closed Session

II.  ROLL CALL: District Manager Melugin, Trustees Archer, Mertens, Cassella and Hurst. Absent, Trustee Bushore.

III.  CLOSED SESSION: Closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(4), the Board is meeting with District Counsel to receive legal advice concerning litigation against Auburn Cemetery District. Report of action taken will be made.

The District met with its attorney and the Board made the decision to authorize the attorney to take the necessary actions to file a lawsuit in Placer County and take such other actions with regard to this matter as may be necessary.

IV.  PUBLIC COMMENT ON MATTERS NOT ON AGENDA: This is the time for any member of the public to address the Board with any item not on the Agenda. According to CA Gov. Code 54954, the public may talk about anything within the subject matter jurisdiction of the NCD Board, but the Board generally cannot act on or discuss an item not on the Agenda. However, the Board may “briefly respond” to comments or questions from the members of the public. *Please see rules for public comment at the bottom of Agenda. Copies of the agency and items are available. Equipment can be available for the hearing impaired. Call District Office in advance to request this.


V.  CONSENT CALENDAR: All matters listed under the Consent Calendar are considered to be routine by the Board of Directors and will be enacted by one motion at the appropriate time. There will be no separate discussion of these items. If discussion is desired, that item will be removed from the Consent Calendar and will be considered separately.

A.  Approval of Minutes of June 17, 2015 Regular Meeting

B.  Approval of June 30, 2015 Monthly Financial Report

C.  Approval of June 30, 2015 Annual Financial Report

D.  Approval of June 30, 2015 Reserve Fund Report

E.  Staff report on Sales for June and July to date

F.  Approval of Auditor Controller’s report of warrants issued

G.  Manager’s Written Report

Trustee Mertens moved to approve all items on the Consent Calendar. Trustee Archer seconded the motion. Motion passed 4-0

VI**DISCUSSION OF GREEN BURIALS : with Attorney Bob Hunt, Counsel to the Public Cemetery Alliance Outside recommendations will be heard, information only.

Also in attendance: Morgan Hodkins and Katelyn Sweeney from Hopper and Weaver Mortuary, and Tim Lilyquist from Chapel of the Angels Mortuary. Don Berry and Mark Marshall were both present from Golden State Risk Management Authority.

Trustee Cassella brought all present up to date on what we know at this time about green burials. Attorney Bob Hunt, Counsel to the Public Cemetery Alliance then made his presentation.

Attorney Hunt stated that there are no state laws having to do with green burials. There are standing laws only regulating burials in general. In California there must be at least 18” of dirt above any burial. According to the Green Burial Council (GPC,) a pure green burial requires that they have their own cemetery and not be mixed with other remains that have had a standard burial. Some people will not want to be buried in a partial green burial cemetery. Green burial purists do not want anything put over the body. No plastic coverage lid or concrete lid. Full wood caskets are fine, as are cardboard boxes, but particle board caskets are not. Particle board contains formaldehyde and this is contrary to GBC.

Exposure to the remains may be is a problem. There are potential health problems the decedent may have had and the Health Department has no obligation to inform the Cemetery District of any they may know of.

The body has to remain a certain distance from the water table depending on soils and other conditions. Contamination of ground water could be an issue.

Operations Manager Melugin stated that a new well has just been dug in the area and is about 100 feet deep. Doing water table assessment and soil composition is a necessity.

Attorney Hunt suggested that we draw up a contract for the families of anyone having a green burial stating that they will not be doing a disinterment. There is too much liability with such an issue.

When asked the question about the rules concerning families handling the remains, Attorney Hunt stated that nothing has been established at this time. In Marin County, the Cemetery District does not do the burial, they dig the grave only. The mortuary or the families handle the body. By law, the family can do the actual burial. Many concerns were voiced about possible scenarios that could happen with the families handling the body for the actual burial. If the family insists on doing that, we could write into any agreement the District drafts, disclaimers that we are not responsible for any happenings to the remains, and they will hold us harmless of any litigation. Whoever is in charge of the activity will take responsibility for the actions. There is still a possibility of lawsuits. Contractually, if the mortuary is handling the body, they are responsible for all actions concerning the body.

Attorney Hunt stated that we may want to write into our agreement that we will not permit the family to come in and lower the body. That we would also require a mortuary to transport the body and do the lowering. Our main concern is about the District employees handling the body and being injured doing so. The District developing a policy to protect the employees is what is most important. We have all the protection under state law and regulations to write up a contract as we desire to protect the District and the employees. It was noted that according to the GBC, cremation is part of what they consider a green burial so no remains would have to be handled.

A discussion was then held on what is a pure green burial and what is not. Do to the District being in a country area, with animals that could dig up bodies, the District cannot do what the GPC considers a pure green burial. We would have to dig deeper graves than the GPC wishes and put a lid of some kind into each grave to keep animals out.

Trustee Cassella stated that we can adopt our own rules for green burials that are not fully what the GPC states are pure green burials.

A discussion was held on the different shrouds and the attached handles. When asked if the District could sell the shrouds, Attorney Hunt stated they fall under the same category as a casket and the District is barred from selling those.

He also stated that it would be best to get the full policy from the GBC and take into consideration their wishes but in any event, customizing it to our District. We have complete control over our cemeteries and where we would do green burials. We are not required to provide green burials.

Some ideas that were presented were: The District will dig the site and cover the site only; the District will not transport the body or handle the body in any way; families will not be allowed to lower the body into the site; possibility of not even being allowed to place the body onto the lowering device. Too great a risk of injuries by employees or families. Possibility of not having families transport the body, but having a mortuary transport.

Trustee Cassella stated the District will write up a tentative agreement putting all the pertinent items into it and send it to Attorney Hunt to review.

A discussion was then held with the agents from Golden State Risk Management Authority, Don Berry and Mark Marshall.

In regards to the pollution aspect in ground water or soil, insurance carriers would provide insurance for pollution by several pollutants. There have been very few instances of formaldehyde showing up in ground water around cemeteries. However, they have to take in all the factors involved. The District is covered at this time with a pollution buy back policy, however the company does not know about covering for green burials. Burials now being done are in contained vaults. Green burials are not contained, and there is not enough information as to how much seepage goes into the ground during decomposition, and how deep. Golden State Risk Management also agreed to review any draft policies that we may develop.

Attorney Hunt stated that for insurance purposes, we also need to maintain the area for the green burials to keep them free from fallen branches and debris.


A.  Finance Committee: The Committee will present any recommendations it has for the Board.

1.  Placing $3,500 in the 2015-2016 Final Budget for the Property Map and lot line adjustment for the Penn Valley Cemetery.

2.  Motion to approve hourly rates for District Counsel Jim Curtis.

1.  A discussion was held in regards to the Penn Valley Cemetery. Due to lack of staff a discussion was held on having the county surveyor do the Property Map and lot line adjustment at the cost of $3,500. Trustee Archer moved that we approve placing $3,500 into the 2015-2016 budget for this work. Trustee Mertens seconded the motion. Approved 4 – 0.

2.  The motion to approve the hourly rates for District counsel Jim Curtis was approved 4.0.0.

B.  Marketing Committee: The Committee will report the status of its activities. The Board will take any action necessary.

1.  View CD and Video Presentations prepared by the former District Manager and the Board Chair - District Operations Manager. Board may take actions deemed necessary.

Hold to next month. Trustees Mertens and Hurst will watch the DVD before that time.

C.  Personnel Committee: The Committee will present the status of its activities

1.  Report if available concerning CaiPERS Health insurance Plans and Rates, and District contribution to health plan on behalf of employees. Board may take actions deemed necessary.

Trustee Archer reported that he is looking into the insurance contracting health agency for CalPERS. In 2016 everyone listed as “Select” will be going up 9%. He called CalPERS and asked if there was any problem with the District going to another insurance company. There is no problem if the transfer is done within 60 days of official notification of the new fees. However, if the District leaves CalPERS for health care, the District cannot return for 5 years. The District has to notify them in writing. District Manager Melugin stated that CalPERS will be offering multi-insurance companies for employee coverage, not just Kiser and United Healthcare which only applies to Medicare eligible employees...

Trustee Cassella stated that he is authorizing Trustee Archer to find out if other insurers will have preexisting conditions covered. He wants all employees involved in the decision. He would like someone from Golden State to come up and talk with employees about their individual requirements.

Trustee Cassella asked Operations Manager Melugin to begin discussing this with the employees. CalPERS vs. Golden State vs. Covered California. Each employee must look at their own issues. The question was asked, “Can some employees leave and some stay?” Trustee Cassella asked Trustee Archer to check into that also...

Chairperson Cassella appointed Trustee Mertens to the Personal Committee, and Trustee Hurst to the Marketing Committee.

D.  Property Committee:

1.  LAFCO Proposed Annexations: The Committee will present and review/ act on any LAFCO requests. None expected.





1.  Discussion of Brown Act requirements for emails and telephone calls between


Hold until Trustee Bushore is attending.

IX.  APPROVAL OF BILLS: The Board will review the report of the Auditor-Controller of warrants issued and warrant report for Board items and approve warrants for:

a) Lisa LaBarbera, payroll and bookkeeping services

b) Patricia Haller, Secretarial Services

c) Trustee warrants

d) District Counsel Jim Curtis

e) Other warrants as necessary

Trustee Hurst moved for the approval of all bills. Trustee Archer seconded the motion. Approved 4 – 0

***BOARD DISCUSSION: The Board will identify other relevant items and agendize action items and reports for future meeting(s).

Trustee Archer asked for further discussion on the health issue.

Trustee Hurst will get together with Trustee Bushore to talk about the advertising.

Operations Manager Melugin asked permission to attend a table top event the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce is having. It is $100 to have a table. He will show the DVD that has already been made. We should also use the map display that was developed a couple of years ago. Chairperson Cassella gave permission as it is part of our advertising strategy.

Operations Manager will proceed with putting new tires on the vehicles that need them, and obtaining the metal crosses used where the grave is otherwise unmarked.


Trustee Hurst moved to adjourn the meeting. Trustee Archer seconded the motion. Meeting adjourned at 7:23 PM.

*Members of the public may comment for a maximum period of 3 minutes each concerning any issue in the regular order of the agenda. The Board may act after such comments have been heard. The Board may discuss these items (**) at any time except where a time certain has been identified in advance. The Board shall not change the order of discussion for the purpose of restricting the opportunity for discussion.