To say that there’s a good deal of change since last month’s Indian Valley Community Service District meeting feels like the understatement of the year. Changes are coming nearly faster than one can comprehend.
First on the list, is a new general manager for IVCSD. Richard Mathis is the new general manager. The IVCSD contracted with a company called Water Talent, which will bring Mathis out of retirement and on to the job of general manager and getting basic services operational again in Greenville.
Mathis had been retired and living in Florida, but is no stranger to California—having lived and worked here for 45 years. He’s worked for water districts after fires have ravaged regions most notably in Orange County after the fire in Laguna Canyon in 1993.
“Glad you are coming across the country to help us out,” said board director Bob Orange over the public meeting zoom.
IVCSD voted unanimously to authorize Bob Orange to be active chief of Indian Valley Fire Department. The interim fire chief, Frank Hanson, indicated to the board that he preferred someone else lead during the Dixie Fire crisis. Orange agreed to take the position, “until such time as a suitable candidate can be hired,” Orange was quoted in a memo from Sept. 4 to the board.
“It’s been wild. I’ll say that. Things are working okay,” said Orange of all the fire department has been through this month.
New board member Lorraine Cassidy indicated that outreach continues to recruit more board members—within the last year both Bob Heard and Wayne Dannemiller left the board. The extension of Board Member Outreach has been made for the regular board meeting of Oct. 13, 2021. The board hopes to have recommendations or interest in serving from community members by this time. Interested parties should reach out to the board or IVCSD office with resumes and qualifications and experience laid out for consideration to [email protected] Director Schramel and board clerk Jeff Titcomb agreed to further advertise the need.
Infrastructure damage due to Dixie
Orange gave a report on the progress of infrastructure damage from the Dixie Fire and some plans going forward.
The sewer system on Aug. 4 suffered tremendous damage — including sewage coming up out of manholes in Greenville. It has been a tremendous amount of work to get the sewer system operational again.
Orange reported on the new location for the district fire and water building: right outside of town on Highway 89 near Standart Mine Road where the district currently owns five acres. The new location for a rebuild would serve to have a bay for water and sewage equipment, and a meeting room. Office of Emergency Services will be providing 6 inches of gravel so service vehicles will no longer be mired in mud as well.
The rebuilding planning for a new fire station at the location is also underway. Unlike the old location, which presented a good deal of danger for fire crews coming out onto the highway with low visibility as logging trucks sped through town, the new location on the open highway gives the fire department better and safer access to the road according to Orange.
Orange and firefighters visited the Meadow Valley Fire Station designed by Ken Roper. Orange hopes they can use the same plans for the new fire station that were used for Meadow Valley.
“All bay doors are electric. It’s a great facility,” said Orange. The Greenville station was under insured according to Orange and he is looking for ways to make that up in blueprints and design.
. Orange also reported on Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District donating an engine that was delivered Sept. 9. It holds 1,250 gallons, is 4-wheel drive, has generators and the jaws of life, and is fully equipped. The truck, while 26-years-old is said to be in perfect condition with low mileage.
The directors briefly discussed the miles of hose in Taylorsville that would need to be put back into place now that evacuation orders had been lifted there. Adding that the advanced age of many residents of Taylorsville made the directors want to make sure there were volunteers to help with cleaning up and restoring the town to normal.
Director Schramel expressed interest in getting the word out on the “Right of Entry” program through the county which has information available on the county website for debris removal. The directors discussed that local private contractors will likely be hired by the program and individuals not enrolling in the program will likely wait a long time for help if they choose to strike out on their own.
Orange brought up that he was hearing that many regional facilities do not have the capacity and are refusing the hazardous waste of residents’ lots in Greenville at this time. There’s talk of bringing rail cars to Crescent Mills to fill and take to a facility farther out of the area.
Director Cassidy remarked how wonderful it is that people were donating so many things to the people of Greenville and wanted to make sure former Greenville residents were aware take advantage of programs and resources being made available.
“Shout out to our employees. We have amazing employees. Our employees lost their homes and are still working for us. We have an amazing staff and it is one our biggest assets,” said Cassidy.
“Thank you, Jeff [Titcomb] and Don [Silva]. Don hasn’t taken a day off since this crisis began. Noted and recognized and I really want to do something special for our employees. They have gone above and beyond,” said Orange.
Board members also discussed a now common concern in Indian Valley the lack of Internet since most residents with Internet use Frontier Communications, which has been down since the fire. According to board members, a Frontier communications tower going to backload the Internet from the Taylorsville side of the valley while Greenville infrastructure is repaired. Director Mina Admire was not present at the meeting.