Under Public Comment, Phyllis DeMartini stated the park looked better and she would like attention on Main Street. Mayor Sarah Jackson stated they were moving in that direction and it had already been addressed. Phyllis added she’d like to see the elm trees gone while they were still small, calling it “premaintenance.”
Assistant Fire Chief Robert DeMartini told the total calls this year was 177 including fire, medical and pubic assistance. He told of the Mill Fire with its offshoot, the Mountain Fire and sending four people for six days, the Office of Emergency Services on presuppression ready to roll with seven people 24/hours a day paid positions and then a week ago the Mosquito Fire where they sent an engine with four people. He ended with, “Thank God for rain.” He said during the presuppression they “cleaned up the mess” yet had one car dropped off with no pink slip so can’t cut it up.
Phyllis talked of the fire hazard letters sent and asked about follow up.
Joyce Cameron talked in favor of pushing an ordinance on liens. Sarah called it a “significant time and labor” to get to the lien process and they don’t do it frequently. She told of two years of public hearings and certified letters to tear down a house on Church Street and a 3.5 year process.
Joyce stated they need to be more progressive and active. Phyllis talked in favor of showing authority and the fire and health hazard. Sarah said being fully staffed, they are getting there and moving in the right direction. Robert told how it puts people’s lives in danger.
Under Finances, the draft budget was called “exceptionally tight again.” Finance meetings are held the second Tuesday of he month at 4:30 p.m. Sarah told how across the board, every insurance plan tripled. The total insurance bill is over $100,000. Phyllis told how since they joined the Fire District, they get $46,000 and $10,000 from the City and are charged for things never before until they joined the District. She stated the City needs to put more in the budget. Sarah responded stating, “There’s not another dime anywhere.” Council member Joy Markum added “We don’t have it.” Joyce called it a “far shot” but recommended they call SCORE insurance and explain their situation and maybe they’d work with this.
Council member Darlene Riede told the audience to let the City know of any abandoned cars. The have to have the pink slip to take cars to the dump.
Markum thanked the community for the “good time on water” since they’d had to shut off outside water for a week.Concerning FEMA, Sarah read a Sierra County Physical Map Revision sent by Patrick Clancy, FEMA region IV which stated they had reviewed model results and will issue new preliminary projects with no new rule changes. They are working with colleagues responsible for new preliminary studies and will maintain existing floodplain maps until a study. The City thanked Farr West who proved FEMA information could not physically happen.
OVERDUE WATER & SEWER BILLS
The overdue water and sewer bill total had increased to $53,510.71. There was discussion over potentially adding past due water and sewer bills to property tax since only property owners are billed. It’s now done with Downieville Public Utility District and Sierra Brooks and would need priors by August to add to property tax bills. One $15,343.58 account was stated to make payments each month. If in arrears the end of June of July, making payments or not, the customer history could be applied to taxes with it renewed and updated every year. Mayor Sarah Jackson told of prior State requirements and how they still can’t turn water off. The Council passed a similar Resolution of Confirmation of the Downieville Public Utility District, “the delinquent fees become a lien on the real property to be collected by the County at the same time and in the same manner as property taxes and the amount of uncollected water service fees past 60 days due has become significant and the final report delivered to the Sierra County Auditor.” Joy felt it may get somebody’s attention. It was moved by Darlene Riede, seconded by Joy Markum and passed. Their resolution will be on next month’s agenda and “prepare to alert customers.”
MAIN WATER LEAK
Regarding the Main Water Leak since rejection by the State, Sarah told of two bids, $252,646 and $368,489, both well over the engineer’s estimate. It was an open bid and able to “shave off” $31,000 in traffic control. In paying, she told of $80,000 in Cal Trust, $29,400 in general savings and the $6,000 per week they pay toward sewer and water which has met its year end mark. They would sign the draft contract the following day and break ground in 7-10 days with only certain houses having interrupted water. She stated they’d “dig, lay pipe and then make the connection.” Working down Second Street, they’d repave where they dig it up.
The report from Closed Session was to promote City Clerk Kathy LeBlanc to a Grade II Class D pay raise after 24 years’ and a pay raise for Jonathon Reeves to Grade II $24/hour having gotten his full-time water certificate.
THE ALLEY behind Mill Street running north/south from Lewis to Hwy. 49 was a dirt road but was resurfaced to a smoother and more passible state years ago. Knowing that Johnny & Delores D'Andrea lived on the east side of that alley with their family, Lee May figured Johnny, for years the head of Sierra County's Road Dept., played a major role in upgrading the alley's surface. Lee successfully got the alley named in his honor at the City Council meeting.