City holds special meeting

Discusses snow, vacancy, special tax, tourism and more

A special meeting of the city council was held Wednesday, Jan. 18, with a full agenda after being postponed due to the storms.

City Manager Robert Meacher commended the city staff for doing “a remarkable job keeping up with the weather,” and has heard much good feedback at city hall regarding the efforts of the city to keep up with heavy snow and flooding.

“There have been a couple of complaints about apparently abandoned vehicles, however our CSO (Community Service Officer) Chuck Brashears has been putting 12-hour notices on the vehicles pre-storm,” Meacher said. Brashears added that if the vehicles weren’t moved in the allotted time, they would be towed.

Sgt. Wingfield made an appearance at the request of Sherriff Hagwood to thank the city for use of the city hall for a recent team training, saying that the exercise went well.

Sports Success update

After adopting the consent calendar, the next order of business was an update from Susan Jacobson of Sports Success on the Portola Event Tourism Plan.


“When we started this in July, we discovered that we knew that we had events going on, and things are happening, but we didn’t know how many people we could host in the city at one time, as well as what kinds of facilities that we had to offer, so that was the first step — identification.”

Jacobson presented the draft Portola Event Tourism Plan to the council, and requested further direction from that body.

“The priorities are there, but now we need to focus on a course of action,” noted Jacobson.

Jacobson, in the course of speaking with business owners and community members, found that there is very little availability for lodging in the peak summer months, and so the next part of the plan would be to “beef up” the shoulder seasons — April and May, September through November, and December through March. The city has opportunities to augment events in the area and utilize the availability of lodging and facilities during these “off-seasons.”

Jacobson went on to describe financial options to fund event- based tourism, and pointed out various grants that have been researched.

“The next steps for the community would be to look at what matters to us as residents. We need a formal action plan that will take us in the direction that we want to go,” added Jacobson.


Mayor John Larrieu thanked Jacobson for her hard work, comprehensive information and donated time.

“This meeting officially concludes the contract at this point in time. However, we will look into a future relationship with Susan and Sports Success,” concluded Larrieu.

City council vacancy

City council members addressed the need to fill a vacancy on the council. In accordance with California Government Code Section 36512, a vacancy on the city council may be filled by special election or appointment within 60 days from the date of the vacancy.

After a brief discussion, the council decided to fill the vacancy by appointment, with the term lasting until November 2018.

City Attorney Steve Gross clarified, stating, “Letters of interest may be accepted until Jan. 31, with a selection by the council on Feb. 1.” The city will post the vacancy in the newspaper, as well as online on the city’s website. At this time, one letter of interest from incumbent Phil Oels has been accepted.

Emergency response tax


The much discussed fire protection and emergency response tax was next up for consideration, with Tom Cooley stating that the council wants the tax to be fully understood by the community. The council adopted the resolution to place the tax on the June ballot.Moving to adopt the ordinance will not mean the tax will go into effect immediately. The proposed tax will go on the June 6 mail-in ballot, which must be approved by two-thirds of the voters.

Meacher commented, “You just have to ask yourself if you are comfortable spending 14 [cents] a day for 24-hour protection.”

Marketing outreach

Audrey Ellis and Patricia Ryan delivered a presentation on behalf of the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce and requested financial aid in the amount of $800 from the city to assist in attending an upcoming tradeshow, Feb. 11 through 12, in the San Francisco area.


“We go every year to these shows,” Ellis began. “We go in the hopes of expanding tourism in our area, and this show is a fantastic place to get information out about Plumas County, as there are people that attend from all around the globe.”

The chamber of commerce promotes all of Plumas County at these events, with chamber members working together to fund the booth rental, transportation and lodging, as well as a weekend giveaway basket with local promotions to entice the winner to the area.

“We promote four seasons of activity, as we do get all four seasons here,” Ellis went on. “We also promote Plumas County as a family-friendly destination. This has been reflected back to us at the chamber when people tell us that visiting Plumas County is like coming to a home away from home.”

The target demographic for the chamber is the 25 to 40 age group, including young families and active retirees.

“The majority of people in the target demographic are younger, full of energy and ready to explore and adventure in the outdoors,” Ellis commented.


Councilmember Bill Powers thanked the chamber for their perseverance. He added, “I really like the idea of promoting this area as a place that families can come to reconnect.” At this point, a vote was taken with all in favor of providing the funds to the chamber.

Beckwourth Peak trail

The city council discussed support of the Beckwourth Peak section of the Mohawk Rim Trail.

Meacher said, “We want to show the forest service that we are serious about finishing the trail, as well as assisting with upkeep. The trail will provide easily accessible outdoor recreation for locals, and enhance quality of life.”

After speaking about the many potential uses for the completed trail, from hiking to equestrian usage, it was also touched on that the trail, once completed, would be a tourism draw and would benefit the community as a whole.

Powers stated that he fully supports the project, and this comment was followed up by a role call vote and adoption of the resolution.

Watershed programs


The Plumas/Sierra Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group assists regional efforts to protect and enhance water quality, water supply and watershed health. The project has been going on since 2014, stated Meacher, and is a “very attractive project.” Council members quickly adopted a resolution of support for the IRWM plan by role call vote.

This was followed by a request for funds in support of the Upper Feather River Regional Water Management Plan in the amount of $200. This contribution would go to the Sierra Water Working Group to continue with the grant process for disadvantaged communities.

The council unanimously voted in favor of the $200 request.

Mayor’s committees

The new mayor, Larrieu, made appointments to a variety of committees, boards and commissions, with Larrieu and Pat Morton on the finance and administration committee, and Bill Powers on the infrastructure committee and the emergency services policy committee.

Larrieu and Powers are listed on the LAFCo committee, with Robert Meacher and Susan Scarlett on the SCORE board. The transportation commission consists of Larrieu, Powers and Scarlett, with Larrieu also serving on the DEAL committee. Meacher and Todd Roberts have been appointed to the airport land use commission, as well as the integrated waste management board. Meacher and Brashears will care for abandoned vehicle abatement.

Wrap up


Finance Officer Susan Scarlett spoke briefly on the recent 2016 audit by Gallina, LLP.

“I’m happy to report that the audits are clean,” Scarlett said. “They have received an unmodified opinion. There were a few small issues to deal with such as A15 expenditures and our net position decreased slightly due to depreciation of assets. Going forward, we need to remember to stay aware of fund balance and usage.”