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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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July 21, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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July 21, 2010
 

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FEATHER RIVER INC:. SMALL TOWN PAPERS 5026 C:AL.IFORNIA AVE SW S~.::ATTLE WA 9 8136- 1208 y and Surrounding Areas Since 1866 Wednesday, July 21, 2010 50 CENTS Linda Satchwell Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews.com Plumas District Hospital's board held a special meeting July 15, and it stood out for several reasons. Special meetings don't of- ten have long public discus- sions ending in significant board resolutions. The Save Our Hospital group was there in force, while members of the Mea- sure B tax cap group were conspicuously missing. Kim Kraul, speaking for the Save Our Hospital group, said they had spent many hours talking to community members regarding the hos- pital tax issue, and what was readily apparent was a sig- nificant level of "anger and fear." She said part of the tax capper's argument that res- onates with voters is the hos- pital hasn't been willing or able to give a solid upper dol- lar amount per $100,000 of as- sessed house value. This is "very frightening" [to voters] she said. Bill Coates, another mem- ber of Save Our Hospital, said they spent a lot of time and had enlisted financial consultants, including PDH's own bond c0nsultant, Gary Hicks, Plumas County's fi- nancial consultants, and "Sacramento consultants that counsel districts up and down the state." Additionally, they talked to county assessor, Chuck Leonhardt, seven or eight times, to work out assessed value scenarios. They looked in great detail at the three es- sential variables to establish what it would take to have a See Days " Softball and horseshoes See page lC : I11!!![! !! !! !! II 0 SU b ;i]b tth sB00llet]n, tax of $125 per $100,000 at the very highest. Coates said for that to hap- pen Coates, they're looking at the USDA loan, currently at 4 percent and is likely to remain in the 4 to 4.5 percent range for some time. They also looked at histori- cal grow.th in assessed house values which, said Coates, is close to a 5 percent increase. In coming up with their $125 figure, they used a flat zero percent in the "assessed val- ue pool" for five years and, also, figured a 1, 2, 3, and 3.75 percent increase. Further, they took into ac- count the total amount the hospital plans to borrow: $15.3 million. "These are the only three variables," said Coates, "the amount borrowed, the inter- est rate, and the assessed val- ue pool." They did their figuring "very conservatively" to de- termine that the new hospi- tal could, indeed, be built for a top hit to taxpayers of $125 per $100,000 if they were able to get a USDA or other loan for 4 - 4.5 percent. While the USDA loan looks like a good possibility Coates cautioned, "At some point, the board would have to say, 'The community can afford this, it can't afford that.'" When asked by attorney, Steve Gross, who attended via telecom, what non-USDA loan rates are. running, John Kimmel said they are "like 6 to 7 percent out of our league." He agreed with Coates that there would be a point where the board would need to decide not to build. Still, Coates concluded that after all the numbers crunch- ing, "the amount that gets the hospital built is within your power." He asked the board to "confirm two things." The first was that the hos- pital do all it could to "get the low interest USDA loan [that] makes this doable." Second, "after crunching the numbers" the Save Our Hospital committee wanted the board to commit to a so- lution that asked no more tl n "$125 per $100,000" of the taxpayers. This would let taxpayers know just what to expect and would address the fear factor that the tax cap proponents are utilizing. Attorney, Michael Jack- son, gave his support to the group's actions, stating that Measure B proponents have lifted the "unlimited tax" language out of a legal liabili- ty document, and that it's not a true characterization of the Measure A tax. With the board functioning under a $125 per $100,000 guideline in determining what loan percentage they can accept, and what amount they can borrow, "people can calculate what the effect would be on them." He continued with a cau- tion: "The word cap will de- capitate any bond," because no one will back a bond that the voters appear unwilling to guarantee payment on. John Kimmel reiterated a point he has made often, one that seems difficult for peo- ple to comprehend. Once the bonds are purchased, "the volatility is gone," because two of the three variables the total amount of the bond and the percentage rate -- See Hospital, page 7A Now that the heat of summer has finally set in, a great way to keep cool is by heading to around Plumas County. Quincy's David Arsenault, right, tries out a stand-up paddleboard Morton and Amanda Lowe accompany him in kayaks, Photo by Shannon Morrow I Joshua Sebold those eventual decisions. Meacher was checking his e- Staff Writer By all accounts, there was mail shortly afterwards and ]sebold@plumasnews.com no ill intent in the board's discovered a message from decision making but at best Auditor Shawn Mont- The Plumas County Boardseveral large mistakes gomery. of Supervisors violated the made. The e-mail, which was for- Brown Act Tuesday, July 13, The normal meeting came warded to this newspaper by holding what amountedto an end, when BOS chair- before it became aware of to an unscheduled meeting woman Sherrie Thrall an-these events, was a hyper- on a topic that would look nounced, there was no need bole:laden piece of corre- relatively significant if for a closed session and ad- spondence with the title: placed on an agenda, journed the meeting, bang- "General fund--FIRST time The Brown Act is a set of ing her gavel. EVER---NOT California laws meant to en- This reporter exited theGOOD!l!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" sure that government deci- room roughly 30 seconds lab The e-mail indicated the sion-making is transparent, er as the board members ap- county General Fund was It includes measures that peared to be preparing to out of cash and running in ensure decisions are notleave and were engaged in the negative. made without the public nongovernment-related chit- In a subsequent phone in- having an opportunity to be chat about local news. terview, Montgomery ex- present and strives to allow In later interviews, Super- plained that didn't mean the public to witness discus- visors Robert Meacher and large changes would have to sions that mayplay apart in Lori Simpson explained be made to the budget, but one of the many local lakes on Lake Almanor, as Robert some measures might have to be taken to increase cash flow. She said the county had gone into the negative at times before, and had a rela- tively large amount of re- serves, $1.9 million, to use as collateral for temporary loans other options. Her main concern was ap- parently that the county had never gone into the red this early in the year, having done so in November two years ago and in October last year. What she was talking about were dry spells of money coming into the county's coffers, not an actu- See Brown, page 7A Joshua Sebold Indian Valley and Feather that if a person doesn't want and knocks on your door Staff Writer River Canyon Supervisor them on their property, they and is respectful and you ]seboid@plumasnews.com Robert Meacher said he will have some teeth to say say no and they leave, I thought that section was 'look you need my permis- don't think that's a prob- The Plumas County Board meant to apply to door-to-sion to be doing this,'" lem." of Supervisors unanimously door salespeople as well. Thrall contended. A citizen in the audience adopted an ordinance ad- "So is it basically sayingShe added the language didn't interpret thelanguage dressing itinerant vendors that door-to-door salesper- would make it easier for the that way; saying, "I'm just at their Tuesday, July 13, son needs to get expressedsheriff's office to enforce the picturing an Avon saleslady meeting, consent from every property rules, knocking on your door and The board met previously owner that he knocks on the Olsen said people applyingshe gets fined for it. That for the first reading of the door?" Kennedy asked, for the permit would also get doesn't sound right. ordinance. "I don't think that was the the ordinance and be more "We've had door-to-door The main point of discus-intention of staff, the way aware of the restrictions,salesmen for years and now sion for the final adoption we had drafted it. Maybe Quincy Supervisor Lori you're pretty much outlaw- began when District 5 super- that's something that needs Simpson queried, "I wondering it from what I'm hear- visorial candidate Jon to be clarified," Acting if they can knock on the ing." Kennedy asked a question County Counsel Brian Mor- door and say 'can I have per- A literal reading of the about a section of the ordi- ris responded, mission to be on your prop- language wouId seem to nancethat reads:"It shallbe Meacher (Graeagle), Ole erty and ask you some- make it possible for someone unlawful for an'itinerantOlsen (East Quincy) and thing?' Is that what they can to be fined for entering a vendor or peddler to conduct chairwoman Sherrie Thrall do?" property because a resident business on any property disagreed, arguing that the Thrall and Olsen agreed could argue the person was without having in his or her section should apply to front that was the case. on their property without possession the written au- door solicitors. Eastern Plumas Supervi- written consent. thorization of the property They said the issue of peo- sor Terry Swofford chimed In a literal interpretation, it owner." ple feeling harassed at home in, "The way I look at this is appears the salesperson Kennedy asked if that lan- was one of the topics that be- if somebody has a no tres-would have to get written con- guage was meant to apply to gan this entire ordinance re- passing sign or has 'no solic- sent before entering the prop- door-to-door sales people, as view. itors allowed' they're saying erty to avoid an infraction. well as people who set up"One of the reasons that I'don't come here.' booths or stands, wanted that in there was so "But if somebody comes See Itinerant, page 7A i I L~