Mike Busse is a Wastewater Specialist and travels to public water systems with less than 10,000 populations and offers oversight and recommendations along with helping with certification as well as technical review. He told of new and novel programs, being a “very good source of information,” and offered being available to help for free.
Tahnee Praiswater is an Apprenticeship and field Specialist with the Rural Water Association who works specifically on the water side and is very familiar with engineering, board training and budgets and told how the Association offers a lot of free and lower cost services. She spoke on a new program, a fast track way to get people trained. Under question she told of a 36-hour course requiring no training and a knowledge-based test.
Circuit Rider Daren McCosker told of the shortage of water operators nationwide. He stated operators have an “incredible career.”
Loyalton’s certified wastewater treatment operator John Cussins is remote with permission from the State but there’s no one to provide supervision. There was discussion over how to get one certified person and an operator in training.
More help came from the local mill, Cut to Length’s owners, Jeff Holland and Tom Beam who offered help as, “We do ours,” (water testing.) Talk turned to contracting versus employees with Tahnee stating it wasn’t open bid for certified water operators. Tom suggested they may help fill the position, then secondary help and to learn the sewer. Mayor Sarah Jackson called the wastewater “half the battle.” Tahnee stated the local contractors were experienced and noted, “You are part of the community.”
Council member Jerry Gerow has been doing the local water testing. He was eager to “get a wastewater professional to train at least 1-2 people for backup.”
Daren addressed the need to compensate a proper job and discussed new connection fees of $3-4,000 with only six vacant lots in the City. It was suggested the City partner with Portola for health insurance and Mike talked of a five-step salary range to want retention over competition of open positions. He talked of at least three bodies not necessarily all licensed who could be hired as maintenance, which the City has done in the past. The Association can help with certification review and tutoring and part of apprenticeship charges if the City buys their materials.
The mayor called it all “great information.” Resident Bill Mertton thanked Councilman Jerry Gerow and the mayor further thanked the Merttons.
BUILDING AND PLANNING
Regarding assistance with Building and Planning, former Planner John Benoit has offered part-time planning and will meet with Jerry and a timid Kathy LeBlanc and Jamie Stockdale.
On the process of issuing permits and review, Benoit will sign an engagement letter for an on-call basis since the County is not interested in doing it. The City will continue to use Portola for inspections.
This brought more interest from Jeff Holland who identified himself as “been putting wood into this plant since the 1980s and been a major supplier of chips.”
He called it here, “Living in God’s Country.” Tom Beam called it “maybe late” but offered to try to get something to work and come up with “our own plans,” adding, “We gotta get new growth.”
Jeff told of 36 full-time employees between the mill and Golden West and 9-10 more employees with a large log mill. He stated they, “Can’t do anything but help this community.” He offered help with snow, “glad to plow streets, water line break help” and being part of the community. And, Tom addressed the City Center’s leaking roof.
Council member Joy Markum stated, “I’m pleased.” Jerry Gerow agreed and the mayor stated she’d set up a meeting.