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Board of Supes – 5/7: Emergency Declaration on Drought

The Board on this day received a report from Lori Scott, Treasurer of the County, on Investments for the quarter ending March 31. This dry-seeming report provides an interesting look at the management of revenues by public agencies. The county manages a pooled treasury for county funds, plus those of other entities, including school districts and special districts. Although the County is no longer required by law to report publicly each quarter, or to maintain a Treasury Oversight Committee, Shasta County has chosen to do both. The pooled treasury contains more than $350 million and earns and distributes about $14 million in interest. The Treasurer’s office operates within specific investment policies. Overall goals for the treasury are, in priority order, for (1) security of resources, (2) liquidity as needed for budgeted expenses and (3) yield on the investments. In the most recent Compliance Audit provided to the Treasury Oversight Committee, the audit found that the Treasury pool was diversified, investments appeared to be prudent and of the type common to investment pools of other counties. The County was in compliance, in all material respects, with the oversight requirements. The presentation to the Board (which accepted the report) was supplemented for this report by background information from Kim Pickering, Deputy Treasurer-Tax Collector. When asked how the County was doing with its resources, she answered, “better than most counties.” Copies of the quarterly report, and the county’s investment policies, are available on the Treasurer’s web site: www.co.shasta.ca.us, then go to the Treasurer department.

The Board adopted a resolution declaring a Countywide drought emergency, prepared by Pat Minturn, Public Works Director. The resolution encourages all water users to reduce their water usage by 20% unless greater efforts are required by water providers. Minturn’s presentation was as bleak as you would expect. Overall, despite some good news in March and April, we have received only half the normal amount of rain. We will have only one-third the runoff, due to the desperate state of the snow-pack. Temperature in the state is expected to be slightly above normal this year. Water provision from the federal Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources is based on established water rights. Those with rights established before the Central Valley Project built dams on the river will receive 75% of their historic amounts; municipal and industrial water users will receive 50% of historic uses; agricultural contractors will receive no distribution. Ground water availability in this county is expected to be fine. Director Minturn warns that if there is a continuation of the drought into next year we will be in serious trouble.

Mary Pfeiffer, Agricultural Commissioner, presented a revised fee schedule for inspections, tests, and registration of a variety of commercial and non-commercial weighing and measuring devices and scales, as well as fees for inspection of apiaries, certified markets, fruit, nut and vegetable producers, and other items. The Board adopted a proposed ordinance to accept the fees; the ordinance will be voted on in a couple of weeks. Some fees were raised significantly, based on a careful review of cost for the inspections. Fees for some services, although not all, are set in state law. The Board indicated that they would review the cost calculations between now and the second hearing on the ordinance, and requested that the Agricultural Commissioner review and adopt changes based on cost more often, so that increases are not so steep.

The Board took some additional actions, including:

Catherine Camp is currently retired. During her career, she worked as a policy and budget analyst for the California Assembly and California Senate, in health and human services fields. She worked as a policy analyst and advocate for California’s public mental health system. Early in her career, she worked in the Community Action and Head Start programs in Shasta County.