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June 29, 2011     Indian Valley Record
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4A Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Indian Valley Record Supervisors find ally in water rights issue Dan McDonald Staff Writer dmcdonald@plumasnews.com Graeagle-area residents still have a convenient place to take their trash and recyclables. As long as they don't mind hauling it in on Saturdays and Sundays. The Graeagle Transfer Sta- tion will continue limited year-round operations after the county Board of Super- visors approved a task force recommendation last week. The transfer station will be open eight hours per day on Saturdays and Sundays and will accept non-hazardous solid waste. InterMountain Disposal Inc. (IMD), which operates the station, had considered closing the site because it has been losing money on the operation. The supervisors also approved a 6.26 percent rate increase for IMD on the rec- ommendation of the county's public works department. Director of Public Works Bob Perreault said IMD would have accepted a 5.26 percent increase if the Graeagle Transfer Station had been closed. IMD's Chief Executive Officer Ricky Ross estimated the transfer station would con- tinue to operate at a loss (almost $6,000 per year) by operating two days per week. Perreault recommended keeping the station open just one day per week, which he said would have resulted in a small profit for IMD. However, the supervisors agreed with the Plumas County Integrated Waste Management Task Force rec- ommendation of Saturday and Sunday operation. Some Graeagle-area resi- dents have complained that the limited operation sched- ule forces them to use other county facilities, such as the Delleker station. They said that probably contributes to the Graeagle station losing money. Graeagle resident Don Clark said he was "bewil- dered" that the county even considered shutting down the Graeagle station. "A lot of us believe (two days of operation) is still cutting the community short," Clark told the super- visors. "Long-term, the county ought to be planning toward a full-service transfer station. We know you can't afford it right now." Clark added that the Graeagle area is a major population center in the county -- especially in the summer months. "It's a source of a signifi- cant amount of property tax," Clark said. "It's probably your major source Of TOT (transient occupancy tax) for Plumas County. So this is a service that is probably required as much or more as anyplace else in the county." Watermaster ally? Plumas County may have found an important ally in its battle to protect local water rights holders. Martha Guzman-Aceves was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown as an undersecretary to work on legislation dealing with the state's watermaster program. The state budget has eliminated funding for the watermaster program, leaving some anguished county water producers with fee increases as high as 540 percent. Guzman-Aceves, who was a project manager for the Cali- fornia Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, is sensitive to the problems facing rural communities in the state. As luck would have it, Guzman-Aceves was in a car- pool with Plumas County Flood Control and Water Conservation District consul- tant Leah Willis after a recent meeting in Oakland. The chance meeting result- ed in county supervisor Robert Meache personally delivering a letter to her at the governor's office June 22. Meacher has worked with Guzman-Aceves on other issues. Brian Morris, general manager of the County Flood Control and Water Conserva- tion District, authored the letter from the Board of Super- visors. Morris said the letter asks for a one-year reprieve from the state to allow the county to address the issue. "It's a huge break for the producers in Plumas County," Meacher said of Guzman- Aceves' appointment. "We are very excited. She volun- teered that she is interested in seeing what she can do to help rural California." Meacher traveled to Sacra- mento on June 23, just 24 hours after contacting Guz- man-Aceves, and reported that the meeting went "very well." BUDGET, from page 1A and Robert Meacher discussed furloughs and increasing the transient occupancy tax (TOT) and the sales tax of the county. They considered dipping into the county's reserves. They also talked about a one-time sale of county property. Supervisors weigh in "Initially Robert (Meacher) and I didn't want to pass a budget until October," Simp- son said. "But other board members were reluctant to do that. So we do have this bare-bones budget passed. "We are open to options," she said. "These are difficult times. We are trying to look at everything and find solutions." Meacher said he realized that adopting a bare-bones budget could panic people and organizations targeted for cuts. "Eventually, hopefully, before that actual layoff or (pension) adjustment takes place, we get better news," Meacher said. "But, in order to keep operating, we have to start negotiating with our union regarding, what I am hoping, are temporary pension (ad- justments) and furloughs," he said. "We have a lot of work to do with the union in very short order." Meacher emphasized that he would favor a pension adjustment over furloughs because he said "(pension adjustment) affects every single one of us. Elected, all the way to janitorial." Meacher said, depending on the need, the county wouldn't necessarily cut all of its 7 percent contribu- tion to pensions. Every 1 per- cent would save the county roughly $114,000. Another funding option would be transferring some of the county's roughly $2 Sales Tax E-File Individual Business Non-Profit Bookkeeping Payroll Notary Taxes Mary Cheek, EA, CPA Certified Public Accountant Licen sed to practice by the IRS 258-1040 130 Willow St., Chester (Next to Chevron) " MaryCheekCPA@FrontierNet.Net Over 18 years experience. f I3, CO 13,:D Serving Greenville & Indian Valley Postal Service; USPS (No. 775-460.) Periodicals postage paid at Greenville, CA. Published; Every Wednesday morning by Feather Publishing, Co., Inc. Mailing address: P.O. Box 469, Greenville, CA 95947. Bow to contact us; (530) 284-7800. Email mail@plumasnews.com; Web Page http://www.plumasnews.com Ownership and Heritage: Established Nov. 20, 1930. Published weekly. It is part of the Feather Publishing family of newspapers serving Plumas and Lassen counties. Deadlines: Display Advertising: Thursday 3 p.m. Legals: Noon, Thursday. Display Classified: Thursday, 3 p.m. Classified: Monday 9 a.m. News: Friday, 1 p.m. Breaking news: Anytime! To Subscribe; Call (530) 284-7800 or use the handy coupon below, or send e-mail to subscriptions@ plumasnews.com Adjudication; The Indian Valley Record is adjudicated a legal newspaper by Superior Court Decree No. 5462 and qualified for publication of mat- ters required by law to be published in a newspaper. Pestmasten Send change of address orders to the Indian Valley Record, P.O. Box 469, Greenville, CA 95947. p i I I I I i Name Michael C. Taborski Co-0wner/Publisher Keri Taborski Sherri McConnell Co-0wner/Legal Advertising Display Advertising Manager Kevin Mallory Cobey Brown Asst. Vice Pres./Admin.. Asst. ViCe Pres./0perations Delaine Fragnoli . Tom Forney Managing Editor Production Manager Alicia Knadler Elise Monroe Resident Eclitor BookkeeDer Sandy Condon Eva Small Human Resources Director Composing Manager Mary Newhouse Jenny Lee Classified/Circ. Manager Photo Editor I asia I liD i IDa i   iBm Nil Subscription Order Form Indian Valley Record P.O. Box 469, Greenville, CA 95947 Please enter my subscription for years. [ Enclosed find my check for $ [ In County $26 per year [J Out of State $44 per year ! l In California $37 per year. 'I I I I L I I 1 i Address 'i I City, State, Zip i Subscdpiions can be tlansfermd, but not refunded. iB i ilm am. i i mid alto aiD  i B iBm II million in reserves to its contingency fund. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall recommended the county exercise that option immedi- ately. "I would be more apt to support taking some money from reserves now and putting it into contingencies to bring that level higher," she said. "Because that (con- tingency fund) is literally what the county would use in case of emergency." The county's contingency fund is currently about $380,000. It was as high as $1 million in better days, ac- cording to Ingstad. Thrall also warned against counting on the sale of county property to balance the budget. Plumas County could earn about $1 million by selling the Dame Shirley Plaza property to the state. The state has identified that property as a prime location for a new county courthouse. "We haven't even dis- cussed whether the board's agreeable to sell it, number one," Thrall said. "And if we agreed to go into a sale, there is still no guarantee we would receive that million dollars in the fiscal year that we are budgeting to spend it." Ingstad said if the property sales revenue doesn't show up in time, the county would have no choice but to cut back the employee pension contribution. Supervisor Jon Kennedy cast the lone "no" vote on adopting the budget. Among other things, he said he didn't agree with leaving all of the traditionally funded non-county organizations with no county money at all. He added that he thinks a tax increase is imminent. "I am absolutely convinced that a sales tax (increase) is going to have to happen down the road," he said. "I'm convinced that a TOT in- crease is going to have to happen. I think we are a year or two behind schedule in doing that." Supervisor Terry Swofford said he didn't see the local economy improving in the near future. He said he agreed with raising the TOT. But he added he didn't want to tap the county's reserve fund to balance the budget. "Other counties have done that and it has caused a problem," he said. Despite the understandable downcast mood during the meeting, Ingstad tried to look on the bright side. "Everybody talks about all the negative stuff. But we still have about $22 million in money that we bring in to the general fund," Ingstad said. "And this is a really small county. You ought to be able m fund your priorities, in my opinion, with $22 million. "It's just .difficult with all the restrictions of the unions and the pension require- ments and all of the other things we are tied into. "But we should take advan- tage of this opportunity to make this a better place. And restructure things the way it's best for us in the future, rather than always doing it the same old way." DEFICIT, from page 1A year. We will go through the reserve in no time." She repeated herself later: "We have got to get our costs down'. We can't bleed at $4 million a year. It is not sustainable." Her budget presentation trod familiar ground as she outlined increasing costs and decreasing revenues. In comparing 2010-11 estimated actual figures to the 2011-12 proposed numbers, Bales anticipated a $500,000 drop in local tax revenues, a $400,000 drop in forest reserve funds, a $90,000 increase in the dis- trict's "fair share" payment and a $99,000 drop from decreased interest and increased worker's compen- sation. She projected an increase in salary, benefits and books and supplies, among other line items. We Have Our Hands in Everything. Your home improvement projects are in good hands with our team. New homes and additions; remodels; decking; garages; fences; kitchen, bath & closet remodeling; roofing repair and replacement; window replacements; door replacements and much, much more. Have some small projects that need to be done, call us! We're thorough, efficient and affordable. For the many home improvements you have in mind, contact us today. If we can't do it, we'll find somebody who can. Serving the area's construction needs for 27 years! Licensed & Insured & T Go.o00o, Bo,00,,g Co.00ro00,or I iiJP i=,41JE J[. l__ Calif. Lic. #453927 i CONS,TR,UCT,ON (530)283-2035 Choices 530-2833800 P.O. Box 209 Quincy, CA 95971 Brings It Down To Earth Offer ends 1/31/12, Restrictions apply. Call for details. NETWORK AUTHORIZED RETAILER All told, the ending fund balance for the unrestricted general fund will drop an estimated $3.8 million from this year to next and will continue dropping over the next two fiscal.years. The accounting " left Fund 17, a special reserve the district has set aside to give it a two-year cushion should it have to move from Basic Aid status back to revenue-limit status, at $8.3 million -- $3.7 million short of the board's goal of $12 million. "You might want to revisit this," Bales told the board. Among her assumptions, Bales expects a 10-year slide in attendance to continue, further straining resources. She honed in on facilities expenses during her report, presenting a chart of enroll- ment, capacity and 'student/ teacher ratios by school. Estimated districtwide enrollment for next year is 1,800 students in 10 facilities. Bales said she would be passing the information along to the facilities use committee, which is looking at reducing facilities and maintenance costs. Superin- tendent Glenn Harris said he expects to receive recommen- dations from the committee sometime in the next year. He urged the board to think "longitudinally" and said the district had "an obligation to do models." The discussion turned to "what-ifs" on the state level. Board chairman Chris Russell asked about possible state plans to defer payments. Bales called the state situa- tion "just appalling" and went on to describe rolling deferrals -- a situation Feath- er River College is already contending with. Trustees then asked about cash flow should state pay- ments be deferred. Bales said because PUSD is a Basic Aid district it is not eligible for TRAN, a kind of line of credit schools can use to help with cash flow. Fund 17 could be used, she said. In response to more ques- tions, Bales said the state was considering tweaking the Proposition 98 allocation formula. Proposition 98 ostensibly governs how school funds are dispersed from the state and guarantees a minimum percentage of the state budget be spent on K-14 education. Of the state maneuvering, Bales said, "I have yet to see it be to our :benefit."