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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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May 23, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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May 23, 2012
 

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FEATHER RIVER "rounding Areas Since 1866 m Wednesday, May 23, 2012 Vol. 145, No. 41 Feather Publishing Co., Inc. Prom king and queen Prom royalty Koby Barker and Sarah McKenzie celebrate their coronation with a dancs$tury ,, May 19, at the 2012 Quincy Hgh School Prom. For more pictures, see page 6A. Photo by Susan Brown ;, 5,0-83-0800 www.plumasnews.com  ,. : 50 CENTS Tank contamination worse than thought Governor's budget delays proposed new courthouse Dan McDonald Staff Writer dmcdonald@plurnasnews.c0rn Damage caused by a long- forgotten fuel tank in Quincy could cost upward of $200,000 to repair. On Tuesday, May 15, the Board of Supervisors aP- proved an emergency item authorizing county funds to pay for the cleanup. The job entails removing, replacing and repairing ground contaminated by a 90 year-old heating-oil tank from the long-gone Quincy Hotel. According to county Facili- ties Director Joe Wilson, the 25-foot-long, 7-foot-diameter underground tank had likely been leaking since the 1930s or '40s. The riveted corrugated metal tank was discovered buried under Dame Shirley Plaza in late March when the .soil was being tested as a probable site for a new court- house. Wilson told the board last month that the cost of remov- ing the tank and disposing of the contaminated soil would be Coveretl bY insurance. However, after the tank was removed May 10, Wilson "It looks as if the contamination goes under the road, There are significant logistical challenges to chasing it." Joe Wilson Facilities Director said the contamination was more extensive than estimat- ed. Instead of removing only 150 tons of contaminated dirt, which has already been exca- vated, Wilson said the total would be closer to 500 tons. He added the underground plume of oil has been seeping northward toward West Main Street for decades. "The contamination is go- ing toward the (county plan- ning department building) on the downward groundwater grading," Wilson said. "It looks as if the contamination goes under the road. There are significant logistical chal- lenges to chasing it. The main power feed for Quincy is right in between our trench and the road. I believe there is also a ,12-inch water line." Wilson told the supervisors that he has met with "all members of the project team" including the engineer, con- tractor, Environmental Health and Public Works to reassess the work plan. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall asked Wilson if there was a limit to the amount of soil that could realistically be re- moved. "If the plume is discovered to ultimately extend under the road, and, say, under the permit center building ... at what point do we have to start looking at some other remediation besides removal of the soil?" Thrall said. "Be- cause we can't completely un- dermine the whole city." "That's a great point." Wil- son said. "That's why we aren't doing further excava- tion past the point where we already have done it. "We are going to pull out the contaminated material that we have identified. And then we are going to work with the regional board and try to come up with a solu- tion that maybe involves treating the groundwater or natural attenuation. There are other ways you can treat See Tank, page 9A County mulls audito, r position Saturday: Community appreciation day, starts 9 a.m., Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch.' Free family- friendly, dog-friendly 50th anniversary celebration features fishing, swimming, horseshoe tournament, hot air balloon rides, bounce house, fire trucks, CareFlight heli- copter, live music starts at noon. Hot dog, hamburger lunch at noon; adults $5, children. 12 and under free. Pulled pork barbecue at 4 p.m.; adults $12.99, children 12 and under free. For information: Sara, (800) 33-HOWDY, 283-0930. See Q, page 8A IIoliday deadlines All Feather Publishing offices will be closed Monday, May 28, in obser- vance of Memorial Day. This will affect the dead- lines for the May 30 news- paper. Deadlines for the Wednesday, May 30, Plumas-Westwood edi- tions: All Display Advertising and Legal (Public) Notices for the classified and other newspaper sections is due bY Wednesday, May 23, at noon. News releases- includ- ing letters to the editor, births, obituaries and cards of thanks --are due by Thursday, May 24, at noon. Classified reader ads are due Friday, May 25, at 9 a.m. Dan McDonald Staff Writer dmcdonald@plumasnews.com Plumas County is facing another daunting budget problem, with a projected deficit upward of $1.5 million. And. this year it will try to balance the books without a chief financial officer or an elected auditor. The Board of Supervisors already decided to take on the CAO duties itself. But'the board said it wants to appoint an auditor as soon as possi- ble. "This is one of the most critical positions in our coun- ty," Supervisor Lori Simpson said during the board's meet- ing Tuesday, May 15. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall echoed Simpson's feeling of urgency. "I'm with Lori. I think we need to start recruitment im- mediately," Thrall said. "The method of how we go about recruiting is where we are at right now." The supervisors responded by voting unanimously to be- gin recruiting an auditor to fill the void created after county auditor Shawn Mont- gomery resigned last month. The board also voted to be- gin recruiting for a new men- tal health director and librar- ian. But it was the auditor post that dominated the dis- cussion. Linda Williams, who is the most senior person in the au- ditor's office, is legally in charge of the duties until an auditor is appointed. Montgomery assured the board when she resigned that Williams was qualified to handle the job. The county recently hired Portola finance officer Susan Scarlett to assist Williams. The supervisors gave Williams and Scarlett ap- proval to hire extra help if they felt it was needed. The board also scheduled a special budget meeting with Williams and Scarlett for Monday, June 4. Filling the auditor's post presents challenges that dif- fer from other elected posi- tions. County ordinance code specifies many accounting- related qualifications that candidates must meet, ac- cording to County Counsel Craig Settlemire. Whomever the supervisors appoint would serve the final three years of the auditor's term. If there is no appoint- ment made, Williams would remain the acting county au- ditor by law. According to board chair- man Robert Meacher, the process of appointing an au- ditor would take "at least two or three months." That means the county will likely have to tackle the fiscal 2012- 13 budget with Williams as auditor. Settlemire and county hu- man resource director Gayla Trumbo said interviews for prospective auditors would See Auditor, page 9A Ring00 of fire Passing over northeastern California Sunday, May 20, the annular eclipse produces a spectacular "ring of fire." Quincy resident Colin Dillingham enjoyed the view from his backyard. Photo by Colin Dillingham EQSD makes cuts Dan McDonald Staff Writer dmcdonald@plurnasnews.com East Quincy Services Dis- trict customers won't see a big increase in their water and sewer bills this summer. That's partially because the EQSD employees -- all five of them -- are likely going to take pay and benefits cuts. By a 3-1 vote Wednesday, May 16, the EQSD board of directors agreed to a rate increase that is less than its rising cost of providing ser- vices. The average customer will pay just over a dollar more per month beginning in July. To help balance the budget, the board said it plans to cut benefits to its small work- force. The directors rejected a 2 percent increase in water rates and a 6 percent sewer rate increase recommended by their engineer, Dan Bastian. Instead, the board approved keeping the water rates the same and increasing the sewer rates by just 3 percent. Bastian's proposed increases were just enough to keep the district from having to dip into its savings. After hearing Bastian's presentation and listening to feedback from the nine members of the public in at- tendance, the board decided to keep rates low and figure out how to balance the budget later. "I think we have places where we can cut expenses," Director Mike Green said. Director Ernie Eaton's motion for no increase in either rate died with a 2-2 vote. Eaton and Green voted in favor of no increase. Chair- man Greg Margason and See Cuts, page 8A To subscribe to the Bulletin, call 530-283-0800