By Debra Moore
Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns approached the Board of Supervisors, today Oct. 13, with a request they don’t hear every day. Do they have any ideas on how they would like to spend roughly $200,000?
The money is courtesy of the California Office of Emergency Services related to Public Safety Power Shutoffs. Originally the county received $155,103, of which $26,970 has been spent, leaving a balance of $128,313. And CalOES has allocated another $77,522. There are some requirements as to how the money must be spent and the county must allocate the funds by Oct. 22.
Some of the items eligible for funding are generators, generator fuel, redundant emergency communications, development of power disruption response plans, public education and one-time costs for identifying and equipping resource centers.
The money cannot be used for staffing.
Johns said that some of the money could be used to install a generator at the annex, which is the building that houses the health and human services departments, and serves as the operations center for any emergency. County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick said that a consultant is coming to Quincy this week to evaluate the need there and what equipment would be required.
Hydrick discussed the significant number of county staff at the annex that are unable to work during a power safety shutoff. “There’s also a lot of emergency operations there; it’s a critical building,” he said.
Johns also discussed the generator needs of the sheriff substations as well as Quincy Fire.
Supervisor Jeff Engel suggested that charging stations could be established to serve the public during power outages, while Supervisor Lori Simpson worried about the individuals dependent on oxygen and other medical devices that are impacted when the power goes off. She cited a recent email from David Schramel, whose company sells medical devices, and his concern for those affected.
Goss said that he would reach out to Schramel and the board decided to discuss the matter again during its next meeting, Oct. 20, which is in advance of the Oct. 22 deadline.
In the other item that Johns brought before the board, the supervisors voted to authorize the sheriff to sign a grant agreement with state’s Division of Boating &Waterways for $105,000 to purchase a new patrol boat.
Agricultural Commissioner Tim Gibson is retiring at the end of the year and that announcement has sparked a reorganization for the department as well as new job descriptions that hadn’t been updated since 1995. “A lot has changed,” said Human Resources Director Nancy Selvage as she presented the 80-plus pages for the board’s review.
Some jobs were eliminated, others rewritten and some added. The office is composed of four full-time equivalent staff members. The department provides services to both Plumas and Sierra counties; the latter pays 20 percent of the costs.
The board voted unanimously to approve the changes.
The supervisors also approved a request to appoint Rob Robinette as the interim Environmental Health Director, in the wake of Jerry Sipe’s retirement. Robinette is an environmental health specialist in the office.
The board also gave the green light to Public Works Director Bob Perreault to fill a vacant fiscal and technical services assistant.
The supervisors voted to retain the services of Big Fish Creations for the next six months as the county transitions to its new website. “The transition to the new website is important,” said Board Chairman Kevin Goss. “I appreciate their work.”
Following the transition, website maintenance will be done in house.
Tourism Marketing District
The supervisors held a public hearing Oct. 6, and today, one week later, adopted the resolution to form the Feather River Tourism Marketing District. Lodging providers will collect a 2 percent assessment (in addition to the 9 percent transient occupancy tax) that will be dedicated to promoting them. The new district encompasses the Lake Almanor Basin, Indian Valley, the Canyon, Bucks Lake, Quincy and provider east to Lee Summit. Eastern Plumas is not included in the district.
Hazard Mitigation Plan
The county’s hazard mitigation plan — how it will protect its residents from wildfires, floods and other natural disasters — is due to the state by Oct. 30. The county received a planning grant from the California Office of Emergency Services and its federal counterpart FEMA to develop the plan. Having such a plan ensures that the county maintains its eligibility for disaster funding.
A copy of the report can be viewed on the county’s website as well as in person at the planning department. The document will be discussed during the Planning Commission meeting this Thursday, Oct. 15, and will be the subject of a special meeting Oct. 20. Go to https://plumascounty.us/2214/Multi-Hazard-Mitigation-Plan for the document and meeting details.