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Emergency planning, dairy contract and town hall top IVCSD manager discussion with supervisors

Updates on a lake inundation map, status of a contract with High Desert Prison and more were presented to members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 7, as the Indian Valley Services District manager was on the agenda.

“Wearing my other hat,” Chris Gallagher said on opening his discussion with supervisors. As a Lassen County Supervisor from District 1, Gallagher launched into his concerns about the future of Morning Glory Dairy of Susanville.

That dairy supplies milk to the High Desert Prison and to Plumas Unified School District schools. The dairy has served the prison for the past 20 years, he said.

According to Gallagher, the dairy has been given a one-year extension on a contract with the prison. What’s to follow beyond that year could limit or eliminate the dairy’s future.

Gallagher said that the prison could go to a work program inside the facility that would offer its own dairy services. “We need to keep on top of it,” he told Plumas supervisors. He said he sees this not as an opportunity for prisons to give inmates practical job skills, but an attempt to take away local jobs.

Lake Bidwell

On another topic, Gallagher told Supervisors about Bidwell Lake’s dam (Round Valley Reservoir) inundation map.

The state, through the Department of Water Resources, requires that inundation maps be done that include flood wave arrival time, maximum depth, deflood time, and usually peak velocity for dams and their appurtenant structures.

This is an expensive process, but Gallagher was able to get California State University, Sacramento to take on the project. That saved IVCSD between $15,000 and $20,000.

It would have quite an impact on the area around and below the dam if it should break, Gallagher said.

He plans to use the information with local emergency services groups as they formulate further programs in Plumas, he explained.

And with this in mind he said that they’re trying to get the noon horn back up and running. The tower has been reinstalled on the fire department building and while it could once again signal that it’s noon, the real purpose would be to alert Greenville residents of emergency situations.

Returning to the dam, Gallagher said that the original structure known as the Bidwell Lake dam was built in 1863. It was rebuilt two years later. According to Scott Lawson it is one of the oldest dams in the county. It is an earthen dam constructed on bedrock.

In 2017, there was some erosion noted in the bedrock of the dam and that was repaired.

Should the 22-foot structure fail, Gallagher said there is only one way in and out of the area and specialized planning needs to be in place for evacuation measures.

Gallagher said that currently the state uses the dam height to determine permits fees. “It’s not a fair way to charge for a permit,” he said.

And what Indian Valley has been seeing is a 10-fold increase in the last two years on water-related fees. “And it will go up again next year,” he said without specifying amounts.

Gallagher also said that Gov. Newsom wants a tax on drinking water. “It’s getting to be tough being a small community and having a water supply system,” he said.

Town hall situation

Gallagher is in the midst of moving IVCSD into the town hall building, he explained.

Right now, Greenville owns part of the facility where the fire department is located, but Plumas County owns the other portion of the building and Bidwell Street in front.

County Counsel Craig Settlemire said he has investigated the property and  that a trade could be done. It appears that a transfer of title might be appropriate because there doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on it.

Supervisors weren’t in a position to take action on the item and it will need to come back to the board for a vote on whether to transfer the property.

Planning Director Randy Wilson said that it would take about six months once they received the map to make a parcel change.

Simpson said that she’s told the county to get rid of as many buildings as you can. “I don’t want to see any hold-ups.”

Settlemire said this was kind of an ideal situation for the new County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick to get involved in. Hydrick responded that it’s on his radar and that he’s moving forward with it.

Gallagher said that he has about $50,000 to put into upgrading the entrance to the facility and IVCSD office space. Other improvements would come as there is funding.

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