By Debra Moore
Despite all of the destruction and upheaval caused by last year’s North Complex Fire, there is an upside for at least one local entity — the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds in Quincy — that provided a home for fire camp from Aug. 18 to Nov. 18, 2020.
“Fire camp generated around $340,000,” Fair Manager John Steffanic told the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 2. “We set up our budget not anticipating any of this revenue.”
Thus far the fair has received $271, 065.70, with $250,000 attributed to rent and the remainder to reimbursement for utilities. Steffanic said that he is in the process of totaling a second bill, which is expected to bring in another $86,000.
Steffanic wants to use a portion of the funds received to improve the fairgrounds.
“I’m presenting to you a whole bunch of one-time expenditures,” Steffanic said. “Some of them came to light during fire camp.” And some of the items he has been requesting for a number of years.
Following is Steffanic’s list of requests:
Water line improvement: $5,000
Wi-Fi capacity to buildings: $2,000
Upgrade public address system to wireless: $16,000
Pre-key major buildings: $5,500
Mineral building flooring: $11,105
Parking lot light: $10,000
Supervisor Greg Hagwood said that the fire camp funds present “a great opportunity to address deferred maintenance.”
Sheriff Todd Johns addressed the need to improve the Wi-Fi access at the fairgrounds. He said he spent quite a bit of time on site during the fires and “their largest complaint was a lack of Wi-Fi until they brought in their own tower.” He said that improved Wi-Fi is a necessity and a matter of public safety.
County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick agreed and said that while he was in the command center it was often difficult to communicate. “We must ensure the firefighters have what they need,” he added.
“I have seen the deferred maintenance in action,” said Supervisor Kevin Goss, who stays on the grounds with 4-H -related activities during the fair. “I think this is an excellent opportunity.”
The board voted unanimously to approve Steffanic’s expenditure requests.