Ava Hagwood and Amy Hendrickson commented regarding wages, workloads, and benefits of employees as well as daily struggles of the cost of living.
Tracey Ferguson, reported with the Planning Department, giving an update on the process for bringing residents broadband internet where it wasn't previously available through collaboration with the Golden State Connect authority using the Local Agency Technical Assistance Grant. There was discussion to get propositions for possible providers and mapped locations of areas to proceed with the project.
Zachary Gately, Plumas County Grant Manager, and DeAnne Blankenship, Consultant with California Health Collaborative, gave a presentation regarding the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Plumas County received $3,653,039 in ARPA funds. The funds were designated to address COVID related expenses. The county engaged the California Health Collaborative for advice on how to use the funds starting last Fall. They gathered department head proposals to address the needs of departments. They then created and conducted a community survey getting close to 300 responses, comparing common themes with department heads, setting the stage for recommendations.
The updates for expenses were given under categories. The first was administration, focusing on reimbursement for janitorial services and air scrubbers. In engineering, projects include the Blairsden bridge project (set for completion in 2024) and the Beckwourth sewer pump which was completed but went over budget. With Human Resources, funds were designated for a one-time $1,500 stipend for essential employees, and the county is still finalizing the $1,500 payments to the Sheriff’s Office personnel. IT is planning to update cyber security, software, and the technology used in the meeting room for better quality zoom meetings and an online presence. The library plans to add a larger variety of e-books, audiobooks, and hotspots. The Sheriff's office requested two transport vans which they received, and an updated computer system for dispatch that is in the process of replacing. Gatley said as far as broadband, they are still looking into how to allocate the funds into other county plans.
The last item was regarding businesses and community based organization grants, and how to develop applications for the grants in order to present to the board. Gatley also spoke about the local assistance and tribal consistency fund, reporting that approximately $7.5 million has been allocated to Plumas county for any governmental purpose (besides lobbying) since March 2021. Discussion was held about direction on how funds should be allocated to be able to submit the applications by the end of January.