Supervisors tackle mixed meeting topics
From listening to a Clio resident complain that his power had been turned off, to allocating $1,000 to entice young people to become entrepreneurs, the Plumas Board of Supervisors covered an array of topics during its March 11 meeting.
Josh Hart announced that Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative turned off his power because he refused to pay additional charges on his electrical bill for an analog meter.
Hart, the founder of stopsmartmeters.org, said a medical condition makes it necessary for him to have an analog meter and it’s unlawful for him to be charged more because of it.
Hart and his wife had been without electricity for nearly three weeks in what he described as an “all-electric house.”
“I know that you have no formal jurisdiction,” Hart told the supervisors but suggested that perhaps they could write a letter on his behalf.
Hart has taken his complaint directly to the electric utility’s board of directors as well as the Portola City Council.
In a show of support, Quincy resident Norberta Schmidt read a letter that she had written to the Public Utilities Commission when Pacific Gas and Electric Co. installed a smart meter at her residence.
During her weekly report, Supervisor Sherrie Thrall discussed her work with Earl Ford, supervisor for the Plumas National Forest.
“We have been working on a partnership,” Thrall said, which would provide money from the Storrie and Moonlight fire settlement funds to put local people to work.
Supervisor Kevin Goss is also involved in the discussions.
“This is a jobs program,” Thrall said. “We’re talking millions of dollars.”
Some of the work would entail maintaining tree plantations and trails, and roads and stream restoration.
“It’s probably a four- to five-year project,” Thrall said, “with $4 to $10 million per year.”
Despite her enthusiasm, Thrall cautioned that the project was in the very early stages of development.
Goss thanked Ford for reaching out to the county.
Out of town
Supervisor Lori Simpson had missed the prior board meeting because she was in Washington, D.C., with the National Association of Counties.
“I got out of my comfort zone,” Simpson said of her time there, which included meeting with Congressman Doug LaMalfa and the staffs of Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
More need help
Social Services Director Elliott Smart, in presenting his quarterly report to the board said, “We continue to see record numbers of applicants.”
The number of households receiving CalFresh assistance (formerly food stamps) rose from an average of 672 in 2011-12 to 900 this past January.
But Smart’s report included some good news — the number of children in the child welfare system continues to drop.
Smart reported that $2,365 had been donated to install a bench in memory of Betty Cortez-Young, a 39-year employee who died April 19, 2013, while at work.
The bench will be located on the grounds of the courthouse annex.
Smart received authorization to fill a half-time deputy public guardian position. The job involves accounting, bill paying, depositing and reconciling income for individuals who are under court-ordered conservatorship.
Treasurer Julie White also received approval to hire a treasury/tax specialist.
White explained her lack of staff prevented her from pursuing collections.
“It seems like a no-brainer,” Supervisor Thrall said. “Basically it’s a revenue generating position.”
Jimmy LaPlante, the county’s veterans services officer, told the board that due to claims filed by his office, local veterans received $814,790 in additional revenue last year.
His supervisor, Public Health Director Mimi Hall, said that last year more than $6 million came into Plumas County for veterans.
“That’s a lot of money in our local economy,” Hall said, and added that it also helps offset costs to other county departments such as social services and mental health.
LaPlante is also focused on collaborating with the mental health department to provide more access for veterans.
Supporting young entrepreneurs
Earlier in the month, Amy Schulz and Tiffiney Lozano asked the supervisors to contribute $500 for Feather River College’s Entrepreneurship Pathway program.
Lozano tells students, “Now is the time to try entrepreneurship,” because it’s a time without mortgages or families to support for most.
The program provides five new entrepreneurial certificate opportunities for students and hosts a competition, which is open to youths 14 to 27, and offers a $1,000 top prize for the best business plan. The competition is scheduled for Friday, March 28, at Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola.
Thrall, who judged last year’s competition, recommended that the board contribute $1,000, a suggestion that the board adopted March 11.
The money is to be used to support the program; it is not the prize money for the competition.