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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
August 29, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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August 29, 2001

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IIA Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2001 Bulletin, Progressive, $30.0 How Plumas Count has changed in recent years 'I' r 1" "1' I Proposed 2000-2001 1999-2000 1998-1999 1997-1998 1996-1 2001-2002 Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual The above chart compares this year's proposed budget with the actual amount of spending that took Mace during tim previous years, llllte amounts are milli m. l m By Dave KMIi r sors at the conclusion of five days of tie." than we had." by the Staff Wdter budget hearings last week. Even so, compared to 2000-2001,Some departments, after pleading funding for tourism, i The Plumas County Board of Su- Even with such a large budget--virtually every county department their cases to the supervisors, were and c pervisors emphasized lean and 57 percent more than last year and is seeing at least modest increases allowed to add in some of that mon- ticles on Page 8A.) mean as the 2001-2002 budget was 23 percent more than originally pro- in their budgets, ey. Those instances, however, were As usual, big ] shaped last week, but officials are jected--the supervisors said they At the same time, however, veryfar and few between. For example, get are devoted to spending more money than ever be- are worried about saving money few departments are receiving the the board signed offon a request by million), roads fore. and trying to be as stingy as possi- amounts they sought when they the county's librarian, Margaret social services ($7.7 The new $67.7 million spending ble. submitted plans to the administra- Miles, to get an additional $10,000. plan leaves very little wriggle room, "There's just no money in the bud- tion earlier this summer. For the most part, Clark urged de- tiled to receive the about 1.5 percent, for extras, get," said Supervisor Ken Nelson, Don Clark, the other supervisorpartments on several occasions to consent in early Less than $1.1 million for raises who played a central role in piecing who helped put together the budget, "share the pain" of not having the lates how much for workers and for unforeseen together the new spending plan.said, "The department heads came budgets they coveted, department is allowed to: costs were set aside by the supervi- "We whittled where we could whit- in and asked for $2 million more Controversial budget issues faced through June 30, 2002. The economic development pro- gram proposed by Plumes Corp was turned away last week by the Plumes County Board of Supervi- sors, which stripped the agency of most of its county funding. The decision, anchored by super- visors Ken Nelson and B.J. Pearson, was reached after budget talks be- tween the county and Plumas Corp foundered and turned bitter. The turn of events sets the stage for the eventual demise, at least in its current form, of Plumes Corp. During last week's county budget hearings, Nelson said the decision ends Plumes Corp's custom of"shuf- fling peanuts around." Plumas Corp's proposal, the re- sult of a study by a Chico firm, urged the county to start a new agency to oversee the local econom. ic development program. The plan called for increased funding from the county as well as annual $50,000 contributions from area businesses. While the plan removed Plumas Corp from its current leadership role in economic development, the agency was still closely tied into the program. But any enthusiasm the supervi: sors may have had for the plan was blunted by a chilly reception to it in the business sector. Supervisor Don Clark said "it's clear" that the business community does not support the plan. Pearson, despite what he called "skepticism" about the proposal, said he would have thrown his sup- port behind the plan ff the business community had supported it. ILA Peam Klmh County County Supervisor Supervisor It is too soon to assess the finan- such pr0] .... cial impact the decision will have gram. on the agency, which historically Part of that money, about $47,000, has been funded through a mix of potentially could be handed over to county, state and federal funds and the Plumes County Visitors Bu- grants of all kinds, reau, whose performance has But the practical effect appears to drawn high marks from the super- be devastating, if the supervisors visors for helping to increase follow up in the months ahead on tourism in recent years. their stated intentions. Before spending any more money, That's because Plumas Corp no the supervisors said they need to as- longer will manage either economic sess the entire situation. development or tourism marketing The supervisors also seemed con- on behalf of the county, cerned that Plumes Corp's proposal That leaves Plumes Corp with the may have been dramatically job of administering stream restore- changed before it was published. tion and other natural resources en- "The original plan was different," deavors, which are not funded by Pearson said. the county. On Aug. 24, on the final day of the Donato Iosves mooting supervisors' budget hearings, the The new developments took place supervisors did approve $35,000 to after two meetings between the su- allow Plumas Corp to continue with pervisors and Don Donato, the pres- "product development," [dent of the Plumas Corp board of The funding is seen as a conces- directors. sion that, at the very least, allows It was the second of those two Plumes Corp to meet its payrollmeetings that resulted in Donato through the end of December. walking out of the budget hearings. On several occasions at the bud- Donato said he did not agree with get hearings, the $35,000 was called Pearson's version of what had taken "transitional" funding by the super- place during a private meeting visors, among himself, Pearson and Nel- son. kingS' Donate said he walked away from The supervisors said they have the private meeting thinking that not given up on creating an eco- Plumas Corp would receive more nomic development program, money. But they say it may need to be re- A visibly angry Donate gathered built, possibly from scratch and his papers, muttered that the super- without much assistance from visors are "idiots" and walked out Plumas Corp. the room. "It needs to be kept at an arm's Pearson said he was surprised length from Plumas Corp," Nelson that Donato left, conceding that Do- explained, nato may have b#en frustrated by Wm ' n As a result, the supervisors voted y lack of knowledge about what to place nearly $96,000 on the books Donato believed was additional funding. Pearson called the situation "a misunderstanding." "I'm apologizing publicly for lack of knowledge," Pearson said. piunum co 's Imago Donato's departure led to a dis- cussion about Plumas Corp's public image. Valerie Nellor, a Plumas Corp employee, told the supervisors that the agency has been damaged by years of criticism. "You've been beating up Plumas Corp for nine years," Nellor told the supervisors. Nellor theorized that Plumas Cor- p's mixed results possibly stem from the supervisors' communica- tion with Plumas Corp board mem- bers, some of whom are appointed by the supervisors. She argued that the supervisors should have appointed better board members. The discussion resulted in the su- pervisors discussing their frustra- tion over Plumas Corp. Clark voiced frustrations that the county has done little to put togeth- er an economic development pro- gram. A year ago, he said, Plumas Corp was asked to put together a pro- gram and allowed to a hire a consul- tant. The result was Plumes Corp's re- jected proposal, Clark said. "We're right where we were a year ago," Clark said. Supervisor Bill Dennison shared Clark's anguish. "We wasted money and time," Dennison said. By Dave Kollw Staff Writer The Plumes Supervisors for in the district attorneY's even taken away. Through a series standings, District James Reichle had board wanted to cut the position. Bob the mi county, said the partly his fault. "There's a flaw in we used this the supervisors. Pearson that have known the tually contained in "The bottom line Reichle was wrong," said. Reichle's $544,757 tures about salaries, investigator, who in part by vices department. The Aug subject took place last ins 2001-2002 fiscal year. nior citizens who Supervisor Don seniors that the cotmff much supports the Before Reichle and learned that the I budget, f'md a way Supervisor B.J. Pearson said. "You the fairgrounds. "I think you're right on the mon- Staff can't spend taxpayers' money that He raised questions about autoey," Dennison told Pearson. The California High School Rodeo way." racing, which he thinks is not get- Supervisor Don Clark did not spending," Clark Championship does not have many Pearson said the community sees ting a fair shake, agree with his colleagues. The friends on the Plumas County very little benefit from the event. Pearson said he wants to invest[- "I think it's wen worth the gry Board of Supervisors, even if the While he says he understands the gate why the fair is showing only $16,000," Clark said. "There's a lot of "So, the board wants event is one of the pet projects for event results in spending by visi- $9,000 in revenue for the races when benefit." rogate the raises: the fairgrounds, tors, he says he doubts it is signifi- he believes the income should be Fair board member Pat Roarty al-my staff?." The supervisors indicated last cant. significantly more. so defended the rodeo. Later, when week, during the county budget The fair's $715,000 budget, which In addition, he said the racesShe said it bolsters tourism, gives Nelson accused hearings, that future spending on received the supervisors' approval should be a larger priority for the Plumas County name recognition ing to get the board to: the annual event may not be com- last week as part of the county's fair. and creates income for local lodging that had been ing from the county, overall 2001-2002 spending plan, Pearson said that about 90 per- providers and restaurants. They said they are concerned that contains $16,000 in county funds for cent of the racers are local resi- Pearson said he would back the Nelson that it the event's costs, regardles of the rodeo-based fair maintenance, dents, while the rodeo draws no lo- budget because the county had a funded by a grant. source of the funding, may not be Pearson was the most outspokencal entrants, contract with the rodeo promoters, Rather, justified, of the supervisors on the subject. Pearson received the hacking of even if it is "a bum contract to start ed the position 1 "As a supervisor, I cannot spend On two different occasions during Supervisor Bill Dennison, who op- with." experiment." another dime on the rodeo," County budget hearings, Pearson criticized posed the rodeo proposal.