mountainecho.com

February 25, 2013

District and Local Reach Agreement

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:41 pm

BURNEY — Three of the board of Directors present at the Burney Water District’s monthly meeting, President Tim McCammon (pictured above with Laborers Local 185 Business Representative Gary Sharetten) and directors Roger Borkey and Fred Ryness came out of their closed session last Thursday to ratify and sign the Memorandum of understanding they had reached with the Burney Water District and Burney Classified Association and the BCEA and Laborers Local 185. The document must be signed by the labor side before any details of the memorandum will be made public. Water board directors Valerie Dickinson and Cindy Dodds were absent.
Rick Matson and Dan Gibbs, of Sol Haven Development Partners, LLC appeared before the board for the second month. The pair had told the board in January that they would have a solar farm letter of intent to present in February and the letter, from Fenway Energy Group, was in the board packet. However Matson and Gibbs asked that the letter be discarded, that Fenway Group, had changed the game plan, and was not giving the district what Sol Haven had been led to believe. Fenway Group had found another backer which would give the Water District a lot more.

Belt Tightening Keeps Fair Going

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:40 pm

McARTHUR — The most recent belt tightening done to insure the continuation of the Inter Mountain Fair was Manager Bob Macfarlane’s decision to retire, not from the job, but from payroll. That was a major reduction in expenses to the fair, but not the only one, as he explained to the Burney Rotary Club last Thursday (several Rotarians are pictured above at the Heritage Foundation Room).
When the state fell on hard times, it stopped giving the fair’s a cut of the pari-mutual funds and a county department that is expected to pay a share of all county management expenses, but one that is also self sufficient or it doesn’t survive.
The result was a major review and overhaul of its operations. They discovered they could do without full time employees, that saved them $150,000 a year, Macfarlane says .

Professional Money Man to Look at Books

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:40 pm

FALL RIVER MILLS — The Fall River Valley Community Services District’s financials showed, Wednesday night, that the district currently owes $96,050 not counting the $65,617 owed that will come out of grants and low-interest grant related loans. The billing also reflects service charges and penalties charged by their attorney (Mark Atlas) of $171, Cal Pers for $600 for their past due bills. And a bill from PG&E dating from November.
Acting District Treasurer Cecil Ray, pointed out to the board Wednesday that the state Water Board had a bill pending approval for $12,394 that, included the threat of a $1,000 fine a day, if not paid.

CSD Continues Battle with LAFCO

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:39 pm

FALL RIVER MILLS — The directors of the Fall River Valley Community Services District unanimously agreed to send a letter to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) board, questioning what they were being billed for, giving their interpretation of the law under which LAFCO operates and telling that agency’s board that they did not understand the several page breakdown of the bill already submitted to them and said it was vague.
“It is a bloated, ambiguous bill,” said Director Barbara Briggs. She went on to say that they probably did owe LAFCO some money, but not the amount LAFCO claimed.
The board members said they found the letter non-confrontational and reasonable.
 Board Chair Jerry Monath and board member Barbara Briggs did have a difference of opinion over a comment Briggs made about it might be necessary to hire an attorney to appear before LAFCO for them.

Editorial

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:38 pm

The Community Services District had a fairly uneventful meeting last week and the board started to get a handle on several items.
There was none of the back biting and theatrics which had plagued the meetings in previous months.
Instead they got down to business and stayed focused on business.
They spent a little money they didn’t have to get a financial wizard to tell them where they are financially and how they can get out of the hole they now find themselves in.
They are revisiting the sewer rates trying to find out what it will take to break even, before going back to their customers with another increase proposal.
They are starting to discuss the grants, which are really necessary and whether they can afford them if it takes borrowing money to get them.
They are having a hard time letting go of LAFCO which I suspect will cost them more grief than not in the long run. They haven’t learned that LAFCO has the size, power, and resources and have been reasonably patient.
They also fail to realize that the Fall River CSD is a small district which, because of its own greed spent over $40,000 on an attorney who didn’t win the district anything and $15,000 plus with a consultant who failed to supply LAFCO with the information needed, in the format it needed, to get the job done without using an unusual amount of time to decipher it. Sooner or later the LAFCO board which is made up of professionals and their professional staff will get tired of being lectured by laypeople from Fall River CSD who want to berate LAFCO staff and waste the Commission’s time.
On a positive note the board turned down any current consideration of wage increases because they simply didn’t have the money to pay the employees more. It also appears that with Dave Hall donating his time in the management position, that they might be able to make up some of the losses incurred under the previous manager.
All in all the board listened patiently to members of the audience as they asked questions and submitted ideas.

February 18, 2013

Editorial

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:39 pm

I ran a picture on the front page a couple of weeks ago of a cattle gate that had obviously been deliberately destroyed.
There was a dirt road behind the gate and reportedly much of the land belonged to the Bureau of Land Management.
I received a call last Friday from an individual who had the name of the one who had tipped me to the ripped gate wrong, but did feel that whoever put the gate up deserved to have it ripped down because, according to him, several people own property beyond the gate, himself included, and he felt that it was an effort to lock the other people off their own property., He also felt that it was actions such as this incident of locking off roads used by others that leads to gates being torn down.
It is like I told him, I don’t want to get in the middle of a range war.
I did go out and take a second look at the gate, which had been repaired and is locked again.
I have mixed emotions. I don’t like to see public roads locked off. I don’t like to see roads that have been around for years taken over by one interest or another and access blocked to others.
However, I have also seen the wanton destruction caused by two, three and four wheeled vehicles “mudding.”
It might be fun, even though it is hard to believe that someone would spend a lot of money to get a vehicle and then attempt to destroy it along with the road that someone else had to spend good money to build and maintain.
I do have sympathy for the hunter, rancher or other individual who have used such roads in the past and is now denied access because of the individuals who have no respect for the roads or other’s property.
I also have a lot of sympathy for PG&E, the Government, the forest landowners and rancher or other landowner who have to pay to maintain those roads only to have them torn up.
Unfortunately it is the few irresponsible individuals who make the majority of responsible individuals pay for what they, the mudders, did. They would continue to do it if they could get away with ripping out gates or destroying other things used to keep them out.
If what the caller says is true then I would suggest that the person who locked the gate get extra keys made and see to it that those keys are delivered to responsible adults who have a right to be there.
If the caller is right I suggest that he get ahold of the authorities and go through the due process of having the gate and locks removed.
This sort of atmosphere is what leads a ranch not too far from that locked gate having an armed guard who patrols the ranch with the butt of a gun in his lap and barrel out the window – a guard who bluntly orders anyone who dares come down the road, for whatever reason, out – now!

Pit River Flow to be Altered

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:36 pm

BURNEY— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced it will make “freshet flow” releases in March in portions of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County. “Freshet flows” are releases of water that resemble natural river flows. They are done to assure water flows are sufficient to maintain river channel conditions and the riparian community, and are a requirement of PG&E’s license for the Pit 3, 4 and 5 Hydroelectric Project.
This year PG&E is providing freshet flows only on the Pit 3 and Pit 4 river reaches, since a natural flow event already occurred on the Pit 5 reach in December and January. The 21-day freshet flow release is scheduled to start in the two river reaches on March 6 and continue through March 27.

District to Adopt Latest Code

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:35 pm

BURNEY — The Burney Fire District’s board of commissioners held their second hearing in the three hearing process to adopt an ordinance adopting the 2010 edition of the California Fire Code. That edition of the code is the most recent version of the fire code, adopted recently by the state. There was no one from the public in favor or opposed that spoke at the public hearing.
The third and final hearing will be held at the district’s March 12 meeting shortly after 3 p.m. Following the hearing the commissioners will consider the code’s adoption.
The board added an agenda item to form an ad hoc committee to negotiate the fire chief ’s upcoming contract with the Chief next month. Chair Bob Moore and Commissioner Donna Caldwell were appointed by the board. They will bring their recommendations back to the entire board for an open session discussion and decision at the March meeting.
 The board discussed the accrued time the Chief had on the books and agreed to pay him the time due.
Fire Chief Ray Barber reported that no one from Mayers Memorial Hospital had contacted him regarding setting up a meeting between Mayers CEO Matt Rees and the Commissioners of the fire district regarding a proposal by Mayers regarding the future of the Burney Ambulance.
He also told his board that their insurance company had instructed him to get bids from three contractors regarding repairs to the fire hall damaged in the large snow storm. He is working on it and will bring the bids back to the board for approval when received.

Old Policy Resubmitted

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 5:34 pm

BURNEY — The County Auditor-Controler’s office could not find where the Board of Supervisors has approved a resolution by the Burney Basin Mosquito Abatement District’s board establishing a biennial audit.
District Manager Mike Churney told his board he had gone back through the district’s files and found the resolution dated June 8, 1994, properly approved by the district’s board and the Auditor- Controler’s office, but couldn’t find anything showing the County supervisors had approved it. He said the Auditor’s office had tried to locate the records but the board of supervisor’s office only maintains records for five years and would have destroyed it in 1997.
Churney asked his board to approve a new resolution which could be sent through all the proper channels, making it possible for the district to continue getting audits in a manner which would continue to save the district considerable money. The board unanimously passed the resolution.
The board okayed payment of the district’s bills in the amount of $7,257.85.
The District’s schedule of expenditures showed that the district was only over budget in two categories, $227 in insurance and $78 in what they had budgeted for LAFCO. They had received nearly $4,000 less than they had anticipated in revenues from taxes, interest etc. They had anticipated receiving $73,623 for the Period July 1 through the end of January. They had only received $69,666.

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