Mikki, from the Air Quality Management District, reported that they will be doing the Safe Wood Stove event on April 22nd, at the Veterans Memorial Hall, where they will have vendors and installers to educate the public on safe wood stoves.
Council held a closed session regarding labor negotiators with Interim City Manager Jon Kennedy. They reported “no reportable action,” from the closed session.
The next agenda item was regarding COVID remote meetings. Steve Gross spoke regarding Brown Act laws for meetings and different options for participation. He mentioned hybrid meetings and the necessity for language in the agenda that is easier to understand. Comments were made to go back to the traditional style of meetings, as well as integrating visual and audio for meetings.
Under the consent agenda, the council approved the authorization of payments and minutes from the meeting held May 18, 2022.
A public hearing was conducted to receive public comment and consider the adoption of the initializing resolution of application to Local Agency Formation (LAFCo) for the formation of the new Beckwourth Peak Fire Protection District. Ashlee Sims commented regarding how the majority of the new district is Forest Service property, and asked “how much will this new fire district actually be responsible for?” She also mentioned that the documents provided by Plan West says that the city has three ongoing housing projects, which she believes there are only two that she is aware of, both of which have been talked about for over 20 years, with no actual work done on either, and she questioned the validity of the document. “The fire department in Portola was dissolved because of mismanagement by the city of Portola. The public does not trust you to handle this any better. I am also concerned how this project actually benefits the public. It appears that all you want is revenue. Where is the implementation plan for this reorganization? Taxes will increase significantly, and for renters that means rent increases as well. It is still going to be the same people operating it, and the MSR shows that they are all incapable of operating their smaller individual districts. There is not going to be anything different.
“In addition, I noticed last week that the City of Portola who is the lead agency did not file the proper paperwork for CEQA and I wanted to make sure that the City knows, as well, that you can’t just claim secret
exemption, and can’t self-proclaim it. You have to file the paperwork and stuff. I did speak with the people that are in charge of that. Also, I believe you would need a public hearing regarding the CEQA portion, as well, especially because you plan on building in classrooms, and I know that Beckwourth plans on building a facility to house volunteers or staff, so I just wanted to bring that to light, as well.”
Kennedy responded with saying the exemption is ready to be filled, and go through the proper procedures, but it can’t be done until all the resolutions are adopted by the agencies. Chris Spencer, newly appointed Plumas Planning Commissioner for District One, commented regarding her experience working with fire districts in Truckee, and the fire district’s commitment to the local community, as well, as the importance of responding to medical and emergency calls. “The key is that the community knows that they elect the board members to this new fire district, and we can hold them accountable,” she added.
Gross responded that the resolution, if adopted, would indeed make the finding that the project is exempt from CEQA under CEQA guideline 15320. He said it’s based off the city council’s belief that the adoption resolution that it can be seen with certainty that there’s no possibility that the activity in question, I.E. the reorganization of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, would have a significant effect on the environment. Motion was approved.
Music in the Park was discussed, as well as the budget and possible bands.
A new Employment Contract Agreement was reviewed for Interim City Manager employment between the City of Portola and John Kennedy. The new term of the contract runs until February of 2025. Under compensation, the salary will be $120,000. Under termination of employment without cause, the Manager will be provided with severance pay for two-three months after separation. Ashlee Sims gave a public comment regarding why the title is still being called “interim,” when it is a longer period of time than two years. She also encouraged whoever is in charge of posting job openings for the City, that they post a permanent position for the City Manager. She said with the extension of his contract, Kennedy will be serving for three years, and encouraged the city to actively move forward with a permanent applicant. Motion was approved. - Written by Arielle Hardy