New city council lineup introduced

The city of Portola held its regularly scheduled meeting Dec. 12, with a festive air and a light agenda.

City Council communications were on deck first, with Council member Phil Oels noting his recent attendance at the Gold Mountain Fire Wise meeting, with discussion of evacuation procedures a hot topic, especially so soon after the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County.

Council member Bill Powers spoke about the Tri-County Alliance, with a recent giveaway going out to various groups giving assistance to the needy in the amount of $250,000. Powers also noted his attendance at the most recent LAFCo meeting in Quincy, which focused on the consolidation of two area health districts.

Mayor Pro Tem Tom Cooley also attended the LAFCo meeting, and mentioned his pleasure in attending and participating in the recent annual Portola Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade. “It was very well done, and I want to really thank the organizers and all those who spent so much time and energy on this event. I believe it was very well received, and there was a good turnout,” Cooley said, smiling.

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Cooley made the announcement that in the last six weeks or so, an individual had asked him for information on the stocking of fish at Lake Davis from 2008-2018, and he hadn’t had the answer at the time. “I was able to work with Congressman LaMalfa’s field representative, Shane Starr, and he assisted in getting all of that information to me, but I must admit that I no longer remember who it was that wanted the information!” Cooley laughed. “So, for any member of the community that is interested, that information is now available.”

Mayor Pat Morton closed with her ongoing work with the annual Angel Tree program, which serves children in the area during the holiday season. “It’s just about time to prepare for distribution!” Morton said cheerfully.

Cooley then spoke once more, addressing some ongoing issues that had been brought before the council in recent months. He discussed the rumors circulating on the topic of the Portola Volunteer Fire Department, now defunct, due to the fact that there were not enough qualified volunteers to maintain a 24/7 department.

“The manner in which the volunteers were unqualified is confidential,” Cooley stated. “There is no sense in trying to label people.”

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Cooley explained that the city has a two-year contract with Eastern Plumas Rural Fire District, and that personnel that wanted to maintain their certificates have been given the opportunity to integrate into that department.

“All departments in the area are in need of volunteers,” Cooley noted.

The second rumor addressed was that the city had retaliated against the failed fire tax by shutting down the department. “I can personally tell you that at no time was the fire tax a consideration in decisions made regarding the fire department.”

Election news

City Clerk Melissa Klundby reported on the results of the Nov. 6 municipal election, with Resolution 2380 adopted by role call vote. Election results showed 1,152 ballots were cast in the city, with Bill Powers and Phil Oels earning 356 and 384 votes for their four-year term, respectively. For the two-year term seats, Pat Morton came in at 266 votes, and Stan Peiler with 211 votes. Klundby herself ran unopposed for city clerk, with 550 votes.

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Mayor Morton then presented outgoing council member Debra Reynolds with a certificate of appreciation from the city. Reynolds served from August 2017 to December 2018, and her ceremony was met with smiles and thanks all around.

Incoming council member Stan Peiler then solemnly swore the oath of office, with Peiler’s family gathered in support as he took his seat as the newest member of the council.

After the ceremonies concluded, next year’s mayor and mayor pro tem were selected, with Tom Cooley becoming mayor, and Phil Oels the mayor pro tem for 2019.

Waste disposal rate increase

The final item of business involved a routine rate adjustment, with Intermountain Disposal raising rates 5 percent for the upcoming year, and with no public comment, the resolution was adopted with a role call vote.

The city of Portola regularly holds meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend and participate. For more information, call 832-6803 or visit cityofportola.com.

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