2/5/13 Downieville — The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in Downieville for a quick, and somewhat tame session with no hurled words of anger or derision. In fact at one point frogs were claimed to be loved.
However, Supervisor Lee Adams reported on the Finance Committee meeting suggesting there may be a $450,000 deficit in the this years budget according to Auditor/Treasurer/Tax Collector Van Maddox. Adams at one point during the meeting expressed concern about being able to keep the street lights on, “who knows how bad it will get”.
Supervisor Roen wanted the Board to be prepared for the possibility of the Yellow-legged Frog being responsible for the listing of portions of the Tahoe National Forest and other properties in Sierra County as critical habitat for the endangered species.
The Usual Suspects
According to The Center for Biological Diversity, “mountain yellow-legged frog was once the most abundant amphibian in the Sierra Nevada and Transverse Ranges of Southern California. Only a few decades ago, it was difficult to walk around many of California’s alpine lakes without tripping over these diminutive “mountain gnomes.” Today the hardy survivors of freezing, high-elevation winters are vulnerable to a host of modern threats, which have driven the frogs extinct in more than 93 percent of their old mountain homes”. see more here Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged frog
Supervisor Paul Roen declares his love for frogs, especially the Yellow Legged Frog
In other business the Board of Supes authorized the Auditor/Treasurer/Tax Collector, Van Maddox to make adjustments to the 2012/13 County budget wages and benefits in the District Attorney’s Office and Maintenance Department.
Janice Maddox of Health and Human Services was successful in her quest to fill the Chief Accounting Technician position through internal promotions and recruitment. Maddox suggested having the employee working out of above the job classification was like having an “ant carry a pork chop”, which caused Chair Scott Schlefstein to be momentarily confused trying to get the picture in his head. The department has 29 employees Supervisor Adams wondered how many employees were really needed for a county with 3200 residents. Maddox pointed out the needs are there evidenced by a $50,000 food stamp outlay, which included families who are working but there paycheck just isn’t enough. Supervisor Beard suggested mandates from the state required the county to enact programs.
Once again the Fiscal Year 2009 Homeland Security Grant program had the Board rescinding a 2012 Resolution and authorizing expenditures.
An update on Secure Rural Schools Funding was lengthy. Director of Planning and Public Works Tim Beals told the Board the secure schools funding payments are going to be late and it is the bread and butter of road fund. Currently Sierra County only receives 50% of what was alloted under the Clinton administration. Beals suggested Congress has loss its’ perspective as the Road Fund is no different to our needs than Dept of Defense to the country.. The Secure Rural Schools funding was designed to make up for the USFS and other agencies aquisition of lands. He believes Congress has loss perspective on why programs have been put into place.
An unknown bearded man came into the Board room sat for a while and then left.
Discussion continued about splinter groups attempting to force the USFS to allow more mining and timber production as a means of reclaiming funds. Board members felt this type of pressure would not work and it would be better to have a unified front making the case to Congress for the importance of the Secure Rural Schools funding to continue. Supervisor Lee Adams, RCRC rep for Sierra County said the SRS is the number one priority for them and they are concerned about groups looking for a way out. The Board agreed attacking the USFS with a bad attitude wouldn’t work and help nothing.
The Board decided to send a letter to Tom Tidwell, Chief of USFS requesting a portion of the fire settlement funds be directed to the County of Sierra as discussed at the Quincy Library Group (QLG). Beals brought up the issue of the QLG is now in peril as it has not been reauthorized and that has to be addressed. Without the reauthorization even the Sierraville Ranger District will be endangered.Supervisor Beard suggested the Board prepare a Resolution in support of QLG to be brought back to the next meeting in Loyalton.
The issue of funding an increase to wages of In Home Supportive Services was revisited and after a discussion the Board approved $10,000 in the IHSS budget to increase those employees by $1 per hour. The money comes from the State but the Board approves the budget. An unwieldy arrangement as pointed out by the Supervisors would be like the Board telling CHP or CalTrans how to spend its money.
The threat of Medi-Cal funding cuts and the potential closure of the EPHCD Skilled Nursing Facility in Loyalton was taken seriously by the Board who immediately drafted a Resolution with the help of H&HS Director Janice Maddox.
Medi-Cal has demanded repayment of millions of dollars from small rural health providers, clinics and hospitals retroactive to August of 2011. This action has jeopardized many rural areas and is a real threat to Eastern Plumas Health Care and its satellite long term skilled nursing facility in Loyalton.
Meanwhile Brandy Ramirez of Sierra City was appointed to the Sierra County Children and Families Commission (First Five.
Bruce Coons of Alleghany was appointed to the Pliocene Ridge Community Services District.
Richard Devore of Sierra Brooks was appointed to the Area 4 Agency on Aging Advisory Council.