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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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March 3, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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March 3, 2010
 

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16A Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2010 Feather River Bulletin Running on empty: Transit funds disappearing Delaine Fragnoli Managing Editor dfragnoli@plumasnews.com funds, which are derived from sales tax generated within the county. Sales tax revenue con- tinues to decline in Plumas, leaving local transportation funds at 71 percent compared to 2006-07, the last "non-reces- sionary" year. The second source of transit operating funds is state tran- sit assistance funds, which are derived from statewide sales tax on fuel and are ap- portioned to each county by population. This source ac- counts for 16 percent of the county's transit funds. The state has "suspended" those funds, diverting them to the state general fund. Marty Byrne, executive director of the Plumas County Trans- portation Commission, told su- pervisors, "Technically, it has been suspended until 2013. But once it's suspended, it's gone." Without an infusion of funds, he estimated the de- partment would deplete any remaining state funds in fis- cal year 2011. Board chairwoman Sherrie Thrall pointed out that back- filling transit funds from the county general fund was not an option since the general fund was also being hit by de- creasing sales tax revenue. Byrne said one option would be to cut out-of-county trips. Very few people use the service and it's expensive to provide, he said. "But the number who use it and the number who want it available are two different things." Overall, ridership is up, said Jimmy LaPlante, manag- er of Plumas Transit Systems, mostly because Feather River College numbers are up. The county has a contract with Funding sources for public transit are drying up, road de- partment staff reported to county supervisors last month. The department has two sources of operating funds for its transit system. The largest source (approximately 84 per- cent) is local transportation EA. PC. 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Save big on all Lane furniture, in stock or special order, purchased March 4 thru March 15tl m secen styles! ;sells 300 count 2830 MAIN STREET, SUSANVILLE l 257-7788 CA LIC 448528 I0 9' the college for service, funded with an air-quality grant. Although renegotiating the contract with FRC is a possi- bility, the school is having its own budget difficulties be- cause of the state's financial condition. Discussion turned to devel- oping a "mobility manage- ment center" or having a "transportation czar." In oth- er words, the county would have someone who could co- ordinate a variety of trans- portation needs and services, from social services to veter- ans to cancer patients need- ing transport to treatment. Byrne said he had been "sit- ting on" a feasibility study for such a set-up; he wanted to know it was something the county could do and sustain before he proceeded. Martha Heeszel, manager of senior transportation, said she had a number of people interested in being volunteer drivers but who, for a variety of reasons--from an unreli- able vehicle to fuel costs-- didn't want to use their per- sonal vehicles. The county has surplus ve- hicles, but Heeszel said she was told she couldn't use vol- unteer drivers because of in- surance concerns. County Administrative Of- ficer Jack Ingstad said he thought that was an issue of county policy, which could be changed, and not an insur- ance company edict. The supervisors took no ac- tion on the transit funding is- sue; Byrne intended his report to be a head's up for the board. He ended his statement with the comment that the sit- uation was "not pretty." Fire Safe Council to meet The Plumas County Fire Safe Council's regularly scheduled monthly meeting will be Thursday, March 11, at the Plumas County Plan- ning and Building Services office, at 555 Main St. in Quin- cy, from 9-11 a.m. At the March meeting, in- formation on the progress of wildfire mitigation grants and implementation of the Com- munity Wildfire Protection Plan, and proposed Herger-Fe- instein Quincy Library Group projects will be presented. Fol- lowing the regular business meeting there will be a meet- ing of interested members to discuss options and opportu- nities to implement steward- ship projects on public lands. Fire Safe Council members encourage residents to begin creating or maintaining their defensible space to make their homes Fire Safe. According to Brian West, council chair, "Research reveals that homes with wood shake roofs and a lack of.defensible space are the leading causes of structure loss from wildfire." California residents are required to have 100 feet of defensible space for around all structures, or to their property lines. West c_o_n.tinuel, "having your defensible space may well determine whether or not your home survives if a wildfire were to threaten it and that space will also give your fire department a safer environment to work in." For additional information on "defensible space" visit the council's at plumasfire- safe.org and click on the link to defensible space. The Plumas County Fire Safe Council invites residents with an interest in preventing and mitigating impacts from wfldland fires, to their homes or communities, to become members. The council is a coalition of citizens, business- es, fire departments, and rep- resentatives of local, state and federal government agencies. The council's mission is "To reduce the loss of natural and manmade resources caused by wildfire through Firewise Community programs and pre-fire activities." , t t