Editor’s note: County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick responded to the story that was originally published Jan. 21, 2021. Here are his comments with the original story republished below for context:
“In the article ‘County, special districts to receive one-time monies’ dated January 13, 2021 a reader may come away with an understanding that PARS is our liability. To provide clarification to I’d like to submit the following comments.“Our pension liabilities are due to the lack of investment returns through CalPERS, which is the provider of our pension benefit. By putting money into our IRS approved PARS Trust, we are preparing for future rising pension and OPEB costs and giving ourselves a chance to earn a greater return than leaving the funds in the County Treasury, which is restricted by California government code with its investment options. The monies in this trust will also improve our financial statements. If an emergency or tough budget year happens, we can access the PARS Trust funds to ease the OPEB and pension related expenses. This trust is an important fiscal tool which gives us much needed flexibility to deal with our financial future relative to rising pension and OPEB costs.” – Gabriel Hydrick CAO
By Victoria Metcalf
When Cal/OSHA knocked, Plumas County supervisors reached into the General Fund for $85,000.
That’s the estimated price tag for additional cleaning requirements in county buildings mandated by the state of California. The funds are to cover unfunded mandates from California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health — better known as Cal/OSHA.
Supervisors voted unanimously to approve taking the amount from the county’s general fund of $250,000, on Jan. 19. This is the first draw by any department for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Engel broke with his own tradition of voting no on all general fund requests. Engel voted to approve the Facilities Services request, but did direct Facilities Services Director Kevin Correira and County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick to seek additional state funding to cover the new mandate.
Cal/OSHA has mandated that all government buildings be cleaned on a daily basis, Correira explained. “This new daily cleaning requirement is being mandated by the state of California for all government buildings in order to protect our workers,” Correira explained. The price tag for such enhanced cleaning comes in at just under $85,000.
This includes the cost of wiping down all surfaces touched by county personnel on a daily basis. This is an additional safety precaution for custodial work.
The new Cal/OSHA regulation came into effect late last November, Correira explained, which is roughly halfway through the county’s budget cycle. “And our department budget cannot support the costs associated with this new regulation for the remainder of this budget year,” he said.
Plumas County has received approximately $1 million in funding to meet COVID-19 requirements. The new Cal/OSHA mandate is not covered by that fund.