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   These are a few of the stories you will find in this week's printed newspaper:
  • Ebola preparedness: Could a deadly virus with its roots in West Africa find its way to Plumas County? The county’s three hospitals are preparing, just in case.
  • Candidates speak: With elections just days away, candidates for local public offices took part in forums and submitted answers to questions from the newspaper.
  • Remembering Grace: The family of an FRC student who died earlier this month said they were overwhelmed by the community’s support after the college held a vigil to remember their daughter.

LAFCo orders service district boards to mediate

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer
11/16/2011

Board members of Quincy’s two water service districts were ordered to set aside their differences and talk about consolidating.

That was the directive from the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) board of directors Monday, Nov. 14.

The East Quincy Services District (EQSD) and the Quincy Community Services District (QCSD) have until Jan. 9 to resume the 16-year consolidation effort or agree to mediation, according to the LAFCo board.

If the two boards of directors fail to resume the stalled process to form the American Valley Community Services District, the decision could be placed in the hands of the voters in the form of a protest vote.

“If the protest vote went out today, I think it would probably succeed,” LAFCo board member Robert Meacher said. “In other words, there would be a 50-percent-plus-one vote within the sphere of the two districts that would say this does not make sense. This is not a statement of community building, by ripping it in half.”

Putting the consolidation matter on the ballot could cost both services districts thousand of dollars. The LAFCo board said it would rather see the districts’ boards settle the matter themselves, or through mediation if needed.

LAFCo Director John Benoit said the two districts likely would need to consolidate eventually.

“It would be great if they (the boards) could work together and consolidate,” Benoit said. “They are going to have to combine, probably, wastewater treatment functions whether they like it or not, just because of the economics.”

Aside from personnel issues that prompted the EQSD board to end the consolidation effort, the EQSD board has argued the QCSD’s wastewater treatment plant, which both districts use, is outdated and will need millions of dollars in upgrades.

The EQSD board said its customers would be better served by building a separate treatment plant. The district is currently exploring that option.

However, the makeup of the EQSD board has changed since it voted 3-2 last summer to end consolidation.

Mike Green was elected to the board Nov. 8 to replace Steve Grant. Grant was opposed to consolidation. Green said he is strongly in favor of it.

“The best thing for our community is to proceed with the consolidation,” Green said during public comment at the LAFCo meeting. “In these days of financial crisis, we need to bring our town together to build a stronger community, not tear it apart.

“Separation of the districts’ wastewater treatment will leave the burden of each district to pay for the entire treatment and maintenance bills themselves, causing treatment costs to almost double for both districts.”

Jon Kennedy, who is an alternate on the LAFCo board, said the service district boards should put aside their differences for the good of the community.

“It’s very possible that both boards are never going to get along,” Kennedy said. “Any (board member) who can tell me they don’t want to go to mediation should step down.”

The LAFCo board said mediation was not an option. It was an order.

Benoit recommended any mediator should come from outside Plumas County.

Outgoing QCSD board chairwoman Kim Kraul said her board has always been in favor of consolidation. That board has voted unanimously in favor of it.

“We have always been in favor of combining the two districts,” Kraul said. “We wouldn’t have done it for 16 years if it was an issue. We think it’s the best thing for the community. It’s that simple.”

LAFCo recommended the EQSD board take another vote to see if mediation is even needed.

With the addition of Green, EQSD is just one vote away from favoring consolidation.

In its vote last summer, EQSD board members Howard Hughes, Ernie Eaton and Grant voted to end consolidation. Directors Greg Margason and William Peay voted in favor. However, Peay has changed his mind in recent meetings.

 

LAFCo orders service district boards to mediate

 

Dan McDonald

Staff Writer

dmcdonald@plumasnews.com

 

Board members of Quincy’s two water service districts were ordered to set aside their differences and talk about consolidating.

That was the directive from the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) board of directors Monday, Nov. 14.

The East Quincy Services District (EQSD) and the Quincy Community Services District (QCSD) have until Jan. 9 to resume the 16-year consolidation effort or agree to mediation, according to the LAFCo board.

If the two boards of directors fail to resume the stalled process to form the American Valley Community Services District, the decision could be placed in the hands of the voters in the form of a protest vote.

“If the protest vote went out today, I think it would probably succeed,” LAFCo board member Robert Meacher said. “In other words, there would be a 50-percent-plus-one vote within the sphere of the two districts that would say this does not make sense. This is not a statement of community building, by ripping it in half.”

Putting the consolidation matter on the ballot could cost both services districts thousand of dollars. The LAFCo board said it would rather see the districts’ boards settle the matter themselves, or through mediation if needed.

LAFCo Director John Benoit said the two districts likely would need to consolidate eventually.

“It would be great if they (the boards) could work together and consolidate,” Benoit said. “They are going to have to combine, probably, wastewater treatment functions whether they like it or not, just because of the economics.”

Aside from personnel issues that prompted the EQSD board to end the consolidation effort, the EQSD board has argued the QCSD’s wastewater treatment plant, which both districts use, is outdated and will need millions of dollars in upgrades.

The EQSD board said its customers would be better served by building a separate treatment plant. The district is currently exploring that option.

However, the makeup of the EQSD board has changed since it voted 3-2 last summer to end consolidation.

Mike Green was elected to the board Nov. 8 to replace Steve Grant. Grant was opposed to consolidation. Green said he is strongly in favor of it.

“The best thing for our community is to proceed with the consolidation,” Green said during public comment at the LAFCo meeting. “In these days of financial crisis, we need to bring our town together to build a stronger community, not tear it apart.

“Separation of the districts’ wastewater treatment will leave the burden of each district to pay for the entire treatment and maintenance bills themselves, causing treatment costs to almost double for both districts.”

Jon Kennedy, who is an alternate on the LAFCo board, said the service district boards should put aside their differences for the good of the community.

“It’s very possible that both boards are never going to get along,” Kennedy said. “Any (board member) who can tell me they don’t want to go to mediation should step down.”

The LAFCo board said mediation was not an option. It was an order.

Benoit recommended any mediator should come from outside Plumas County.

Outgoing QCSD board chairwoman Kim Kraul said her board has always been in favor of consolidation. That board has voted unanimously in favor of it.

“We have always been in favor of combining the two districts,” Kraul said. “We wouldn’t have done it for 16 years if it was an issue. We think it’s the best thing for the community. It’s that simple.”

LAFCo recommended the EQSD board take another vote to see if mediation is even needed.

With the addition of Green, EQSD is just one vote away from favoring consolidation.

In its vote last summer, EQSD board members Howard Hughes, Ernie Eaton and Grant voted to end consolidation. Directors Greg Margason and William Peay voted in favor. However, Peay has changed his mind in recent meetings.

 


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