Tourists traveling through Plumas County could soon have a place to get their questions answered.
By a unanimous vote Tuesday, May 8, the Board of Supervisors approved a pair of resolutions that would make the museum in Quincy the county’s visitors center as well.
One resolution officially changed the museum’s name to the Plumas County Museum & Visitors Information Center.
A separate resolution approved by the supervisors increased the museum staff by eight hours per week to accommodate the extra workload.
Supervisor Robert Meacher, who added the item to the board’s agenda, said the resolution didn’t guarantee the county would fund the additional staffing in the fiscal 2012-13 budget.
“Adopting of the resolution is not foregoing the budget process,” Meacher said. “It isn’t obligating the board to fund that position as we go through the budget process. It’s just putting the position in place.”
Adding visitor information services at the museum fills a void created when the county visitors bureau was shut down in January because of budget cuts.
Beginning sometime this summer, new signs on Highway 70 and in downtown Quincy will direct visitors to the museum, located behind the county courthouse.
Museum director Scott Lawson said he and the museum trustees realize the importance of providing hospitality services in a tourism-driven economy.
“The board has asked in the past to try to get creative and try to combine things — think a little outside the box,” Lawson said. “We have identified a need and we are proposing a solution for it.”
Former supervisor Don Clark, who is on the museum board of trustees, said he would eventually like to see the county provide some funding for the visitors center. The trustees currently cover part of the museum’s payroll.
“We see a void. And we see that something is missing right now. (The visitors bureau) used to be part of the museum,” Clark said. “We are going to have to step up our commitment to this thing, in terms of raising more money to support the effort to find the volunteers who are going to be willing to work to help support this cause.
“We don’t have all the answers to the questions that you would like to have right now,” Clark told the supervisors. “We would like to see you share some of the risk on this. Go with us. Let’s give it a try and work out some of the details and cooperate to find a solution here.”
Lawson said the plan would also include the museum staff and volunteers handling visitor phone calls. He said a proposed kiosk outside the museum would provide basic information when the museum is closed.
He said signs directing visitors to the center would be erected at the Quincy Fire Hall, on the museum sign in front of the courthouse, and possibly on the Quincy population signs at both ends of town.
In addition to providing information that would help county businesses, Lawson said the county likely would get extra revenue from visitors who pay to visit the museum.
In the wake of Shawn Montgomery’s resignation as county auditor, the supervisors announced they plan to hire someone to assist the county through the upcoming budget process.
The board said they had offered a contract to Portola finance officer Susan Scarlett. She was expected to meet with supervisors following their May 8 meeting.
Scarlett would assist acting auditor Linda Williams.
Management council recommendations
Speaking on behalf of the Plumas County Management Council, co-chairman Bob Perreault presented the supervisors with several recommendations.
The council overwhelmingly voted that the county needs a chief administrative officer “for long-term governance.”
The council also said that if a CAO is hired “there is a clear need for adequate management support staff” for the CAO’s office.
The supervisors have said they are prepared to undertake the fiscal 2012-13 budget process without a CAO.
The board fired CAO Jack Ingstad in April.
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