These Board of Supervisors meetings reminded us all that we live in rural country. The August 13 public comment period included some people living in the Elk Trails subdivision in the Jones Valley Water District. The area is off Dry Creek Road north of Bella Vista. The newly-installed water system in Elk Trails has been the subject of complaints at the Board before this meeting. Some residents believe that the county took too long to develop and operate their new water system and that the flow in inadequate. Complaints this day, however, mostly focused on what residents believe is the theft of water by pot growers, including unauthorized use of hydrants and vandalizing of those hydrants.
Both meetings included lengthy discussions of a proposal by the Resource Management Building Division to charge an Iron Mountain Road property owner, Jim Wright, for $18,000 in costs for removing scrap metal, discarded equipment and hazardous material from the property. The Building Division has been working with Wright for more than 10 years to clear the material. The abatement action to clear some of it does not come close to resolving the problem. $18,000 in costs from a contractor with the county is, however, one-third of the county’s annual budget for nuisance abatement. The Building Division intends to do additional clearance in the future if the landowner does not complete the task.
The landowner operates a petroleum equipment business that builds, maintains and tears down service stations. His property was rezoned after he bought it, so that his storage of equipment and scrap metal and oil and other hazardous material has become more problematic. However, he has never had an appropriate use permit for this type of business. In addition, Mr. Wright has had health problems. The Wrights are concerned that the clean-up took some equipment they had set aside for sale or personal use. Supervisor Bill Schappell was especially concerned about the possibility that this equipment was improperly taken.
On August 13 the Board postponed action on the proposal to recover the costs of clean-up, to permit both the Building Division and the landowner to provide more information. Billing the landowner would include a property lien if the costs were not reimbursed. The Board acted on August 20 to recover the costs from Mr. Wright, voting 4-1 with Supervisor Schappell dissenting. Supervisor Les Baugh expressed concern that the county not water down its abatement process. Supervisors expressed concern that the Wrights had more than 10 years of process on the abatement to consider how to respond. The painful part of the proceedings were the fact that several of the Supervisors know and like the Wrights.
The Board on August 13 approved a new three-year memorandum of understanding with the Shasta County Professional Peace Officers Association, an employee organization representing roughly 70 peace officers in the Probation, District Attorney and other public safety departments. The Association does not represent sheriff’s deputies. The new agreement provides for raises of 2% on October 1, 2013; 3% on August 1, 2014; and 2% on August 1, 2015. Officers last received an increase in 2009. The agreement also provides for small increases in the county contribution toward health care plans. The total cost of all these increases is approximately $250,000 in annual costs. The agreement is the result of a good faith bargaining process.
The Board conducted an hour-long workshop on roads in the Lassen National Forest, with a report by Public Works Director Pat Minturn on roads designated Level 3 by the Forest Service. Lassen National Forest has completed its Travel Management Plan analysis. The issue now is the extent to which the Forest will designate roads as Level 3, or ‘highways’ accessible to passenger car traffic and logging trucks. In the event of such designation, Off Highway Vehicles would generally be prohibited. The Forest could downgrade some of these roads to Level 2, legal for Off Highway Vehicle use. It could also designate some roads for ‘combined use’, which would permit Off Highway Vehicles as well as cars and trucks. Director Minturn reviewed each road, attempting to identify those roads that have the width, sight distance and low traffic, along with attractions such as linkage to other roads or views or campgrounds, that would make them important to the Off Highway Vehicle user. Forest Supervisor Jerry Bird indicated that the Forest will prepare a formal environmental report and proposed action by October. Public comment and response is solicited. Supervisors conducted the workshop to provide information to the public about this process. Readers interested in this information can find Director Minturn’s report, including maps, by going to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors web site, www.co.shasta.ca.us. The information will be found under the Board of Supervisors and the Agenda and Minutes page. It is found under August 13, Item R7.
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.