Deputy Transportation Director Bryan Davey reported on Sierra County’s recent declaration of emergency, stating the current storm total is $315,000. The majority cost is in the Road department for equipment cost and snow removal. $40,000 in outside emergency contracts for storm debris. The County took on operating the warming center and also provided supplies which totaled $1,500. Gas that was distributed to the public during power outages was over 500 gallons and totaled $2,300. Davey explained, this is a State only disaster. The cost recovery rate is 75%. If it becomes a Federal disaster it increases to a 90% recovery rate. Board Chair Sharon Dryden felt the Road Department did an outstanding job. Davey said many worked 12-hour days for seven days during the storms.
THE RETIREMENT of the Director of Public Works/Transportation and Planning/Building and the reorganization of the departments was discussed during the Sierra County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on March 21st. Board Chair Sharon Dryden stated it was her honor, but with great regret to announce the retirement of Tim Beals. June 2nd will be his final day. She stated a transition plan was in place for his replacements as Director of Transportation and Director of Planning. Dryden said after much discussion and recommendation the deputy directors of both those departments who have worked for many years will be transitioning into the director positions. Congratulations to Bryan Davey who will become the Director of Public Works/Transportation and Brandon Pangman as Director of Planning/Building. Dryden thanked all three for a smooth transition and felt Beals was leaving his titles in capable hands. Formal action will be coming at a future meeting.
GOOD NEWS was reported on by Sierra County Forester Danielle Bradfield at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting held Tuesday, March 21st in Loyalton. She stated in October, the Board had passed resolutions to support grant applications related to wildfire mitigation. One application was to update the Sierra County Community Wildfire Protection Plan; the second application was for project planning at the County level for fuel reduction projects and the third was a support letter to Fire Safe Sierra County for their application for 500 acres of fuel reduction in and around Sierraville. She announced all three grant applications were fully funded from the USDA Community Wildfire Defense Grant. Bradfield said $2.3 million would be coming into Sierra County for wildfire mitigation. A $75,000 match was committed from Sierra County. She thanked the Board for the match and their efforts stating, “They have the ball rolling and intend to keep it rolling”.
SIERRA COUNTY CODE pertaining to the Planning Commission was discussed during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting held March 21st. In a prior meeting the Board had appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to establish procedures for vacancy notices on special districts, committees and commissions. The committee presented an ordinance that added language regarding vacancies and added criteria for membership on the commission. Changes included that members shall be a property owner and a resident of Sierra County. Vacancy public notices shall be posted in accordance with Cal. Government Code 54974. When considering membership to fill a vacancy, preference will first be given to applicants who represent small businesses, agriculture, timber management, environmental issues, property rights, public service and education. In addition, the Board shall make every effort to have equal representation of the geographic regions of the County. Members of Commission shall not be related to each other or to any employee of the County, within the first or second degree, whether by blood or marriage. Supervisor Lee Adams appreciated the thought process, adding applicants should have “skin in the game.” The Board introduced and waived the first reading of the ordinance unanimously.
IT WAS REPORTED by Supervisor Lee Adams at the recent Sierra County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on March 21st that he was alerted by a couple taxpayers the Federal IRS had given a tax filing postponement to a number of counties in California because of the January storms and Sierra County was not listed. He stated they reached out to Congressman Kiley’s office and Sierra County is now on the list. With this postponement, Sierra County taxpayers don’t have to file until October. State taxes still have to be filed by April.
A PRESENTATION by Musica Sierra for the Musica Sierra’s Headwaters was given by Lindsay McIntosh, Executive Director to the Sierra County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting held March 21st in Loyalton. She explained Musica Sierra is a performing arts nonprofit which does a lot of music education and community engagement. She asked for a letter of support from the Board for the Upstate Creative Corps application to put music and art back into the county through big projects. Musica Sierra has created Headwaters, which touches on climate, our beautiful valley, birds and nature. They’ve enlisted six different local artists that include film, dance and music, songbook for literature, stained glass and a big willow structure. McIntosh said the budget would be about $100,000 and called it a launching pad to promote beautiful art. The letter was approved unanimously.