Council introduces draft cannabis ordinance

The regularly held meeting of the Portola City Council on Oct. 25 was efficiently directed by Mayor Pat Morton, with a brief agenda covering the Intermountain Disposal refuse collection fee increase, a brief discussion regarding cannabis and some information about keeping the air clear.

In the arena of city council communications, Tom Cooley said he had been working diligently with Morton as part of the ad-hoc committee designated to work with the Portola Volunteer Fire Department to tackle the current temporary suspension of PVFD emergency medical services due to complaints received.

“We have Beckwourth and Eastern Plumas EMS response covering the city currently,” Morton stated. “We’ve just got to get some things straightened out.”

Councilmember Phil Oels noted his ongoing work toward fire safety, with seven-and-a-half hours of work added to the growing list of donated hours completed, as well as attendance at a FireSafe council meeting and a meeting of the transportation commission.

City Manager Robert Meacher then made his report to the council, beginning with comments on water and sewer rehabilitation, stating that there have been no snags thus far.

Meacher also touched on the topic of PVFD, saying, “We’ve called on Beckwourth and Eastern Plumas to assist with NorCal EMS certification.” Meacher stated that corrective action is being taken and that he hopes to see the matter resolved within the next two to three weeks, thanking Beckwourth Fire and Eastern Plumas Rural Fire departments for their willingness to assist Portola at this time.

Meacher went on to comment on that day’s Portola Reporter article that proclaimed FEMA to be out of money and disagreed, saying, “There is money, and FEMA and CalOES is honestly baffled at the comments in the story made by county public works stating that there is not.”

Meacher went on to explain the ongoing work between City staff and Cal OES and FEMA staff, with a recent two-day expedition in Portola made to assess storm damage in depth from last winter’s storms.

Feather River Rail Society has donated two engines to the city, to be placed on tracks at the Williams House and West End Park, with the City preparing pads for the donations.

A Kaboom grant for playground equipment has been submitted as a match-fund grant, and according to Meacher, the matching funds are coming from private individuals through voluntary donations in the hopes of potentially getting playground equipment by the ball yard for the younger kids in the community.

Meacher also noted that the Beckwourth Rim Trail project is on track and conversations continue with the Schomack group regarding the Highlands project.

Julie Ruiz of the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District gave a special presentation regarding ongoing efforts to clear the air of particulate matter, especially from utilizing outdated wood-burning stoves, with encouragement to all in the area to reach out for information regarding the woodstove change out program. Ruiz can be reached at 832-0102.

A public hearing was also held regarding a slight rate increase with Intermountain Disposal, with the city council approving Resolution 2334 by role call vote.

At this time, council members waived the second reading of Ordinance 345, the draft cannabis ordinance, and moved to introduce the ordinance unanimously. The ordinance would then be adopted at the Nov. 8 meeting of the council for the city to retain local jurisdiction of cannabis related activity, rather than the state.

For more information, contact City Hall at 832-6803 or visit cityofportola.com.