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Reporter’s Notebook: Board of Supervisors, June 25

It was a busy morning at the Board of Supervisors this week.  The Board heard a presentation from Jim Branham, Executive Officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.  This state agency serves all or part of 22 counties (including counties more properly described as in the Cascades).  Only the eastern portion of Shasta County is a part of the Conservancy’s territory.  Their mission is to develop projects that improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of the region.  Supervisor Pam Giacomini sits on the Board of the Conservancy.  You may see further information about their activities at www.sierranevada.ca.gov.   This report to the Board specifically reviewed the expenditure of Proposition 84 funds to improve California’s watershed.  Shasta County grantees have received $2.4 million over the life of this Proposition, which is virtually completed.  Grantees have included the Shasta Land Trust, Fall River Conservation District, Lassen County Fire Safe Council (for a project that included part of Eastern Shasta County) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.  The goal of the Initiative is to restore the health of forests and reduce the risk and consequence of large damaging fires; and to ensure that restoration efforts result in a positive economic contribution to local communities.  Branham noted that region-wide we need to increase the pace of forest restoration activities or we will see our forests burn up.  In response to Supervisor questions, he promised that the Conservancy was working on efforts to quantify the impact of specific forest management on water storage and amount and quality of water available downstream from the north state.

The Board received a related report from Public Works Director Pat Minturn on a project of the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District.  The District has worked for 4-5 years with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on trails, fish-viewing facilities and a recently completed pedestrian bridge across Clear Creek.  The bridge receives funds from Proposition 50, which provided funds for a variety of water projects, including river parkways.   A match from the county road budget was required.  The bridge has just received an award for the design and economy of the bridge from the American Public Works Association.  Supervisor Leonard Moty underscored the intensive inter-agency work required to put the Clear Creek project together.   This is one part of an extensive trial system in the county that is free to residents and will link Clear Creek to Whiskeytown and to Shasta Dam.

The Board formally approved the 2013-14 budget and salary and position allocation.  These were the same as the position allocation and budget tentatively approved June 4.  The intervening weeks are provided so that supervisors, county staff and citizens may raise issues with the tentative proposal.  No comments or changes were received.

As a part of the Consent Calendar (items for which no questions or concerns have been expressed before the meeting), the Board approved a long list of contract renewals.  These include services to adults and children, such as child care services that are a part of the CalWORKS welfare program, parenting programs that are a part of health and human services, mental health treatment and inpatient services, alcohol and drug treatment programs, low income rental assistance, and similar programs.  The Consent Calendar items may be pulled from Consent by any board member or any member of the public for questions or comments.  Several were on this occasion, and all were ultimately approved.

Two additional items are of some interest.  The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office presented a list of 252 accounts where taxpayers are delinquent and no further collection efforts are deemed productive.  This list consists of unpaid taxes from 2001, where delinquency notices were sent and then liens against the property placed for ten years. The list included $164,000 in lost revenue. The Treasurer’s Office would still collect if more information became available, and the county does not do business with people or businesses that are delinquent on their taxes.  Finally, the Board conducted a public hearing to approve rate adjustments for Burney Disposal Inc., and USA Waste of California Inc.  These rate adjustments had been noticed to customers of each of the waste collection businesses.  The contracts for each of these entities provide for annual rate adjustments, generally linked to increases in the Consumer Price Index.  Two customer complaints were received in writing for each of the waste businesses.  The Board approved the rate adjustments for this entirely fee-supported service.

Catherine Camp is currently retired. She served as a Consultant to the California Senate Budget Committee in 2001-02, reviewing Social Services, Employment Development, Aging, Community Services, Alcohol and Drug Programs, Rehabilitation and Child Support budgets. From 1989-2000, Catherine was Executive Director for the California Mental Health Directors Association. During that period, Catherine staffed the county mental health system’s restructuring of public mental health through Realignment of community and long term care programs from the state to the county, transfer of the management of specialty mental health Medi-Cal services to those counties that agreed to provide them, development of risk mechanisms for consortia of small counties, and advocacy and policy analysis for the operation of public mental health programs throughout the state. Her prior experience includes Executive Director to the California-Nevada Community Action Association, Principal Consultant to the Assembly Human Services Policy Committee, and Director of Community Action and Head Start programs in Shasta County.