County dips in to general fund to meet COVID-19 mandates

By Victoria Metcalf

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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.

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