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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 27, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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October 27, 2010

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FEATHER RIVER I and Surrounding Areas Since 1866 Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010 Vol. 144, No. 12 50 CENTS Visitors bureau. contract !approved Joshua Sebold Staff Writer The Plumas County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $150,000 contract with Plumas Corporation, primarily for Visitor's Bu- reau services, at a Tuesday, Oct. 12, meeting. The board approved con- :tracts for $111,495 total with :the various county chambers of commerce and a $29,700 'agreement with Plumas Arts 'without incident at a Septem- ber meeting. Indian Valley Supervisor :Robert Meacher told his :fellow board members he met with Quincy Supervisor Lori Simpson and Jack Ingstad to :work on the Plumas Corp. contract. Plumas Corp. Executive Director John Sheehan ex- plained that the general administration line item had been reduced from 16.8 percent of the prior year's contract to 13 percent of the current one. He said the GA accounts for $19,504 of the contract and the county is no longer being charged for any phone usage in the Plumas Corp office. Meacher and Simpson acknowledged that the BOS previously set a target of allocating no more than 10 percent of the contract for GA. They recommended that the board approve this See Bureau, page 14A 0 70b/rlSF/ grant guidelines Joshua Sebold Staff Writer The Board of Supervisors competitive tourism grant program will begin receiving applications Monday, Nov. 1 with a final due date of Tues- day, Nov. 30. The supervisors agreed on the final guidelines for appli- cants at an early October meeting. The guidelines and further information can be attained by visiting the County Admin- istrative Office at the court- house or calling 283-6315. The county has $50,000 available. The supervisors in- dicated they are looking for projects in the $10,000-$15,000 range but will consider larger plans if they can justify their size or involve collaboration between multiple organiza- tions. Proponents of the projects will get a chance to do a presentation at a December meeting before the BOS. The public will then have an Opportunity to comment on each proposal before the supervisors rank them indi- vidually and bring back their findings for a later meeting. To subscribe to the Bulletin, call 0-283-0800 WINNERS! New map could ignite economy Joshua Sebold Staff Writer Plumas Corporation Execu- tive Director John Sheehan told the Board of Supervisors, at a recent meeting, that im- provements to the county's and Plumas National Forest's wildland urban interface (WUI) maps could generate $2.7 million in economic ac- tivity over the next two years. Sheehan explained that the new maps would allow cur- rent fuels reduction ffi'e pre- vention projects to grow by 2,700 acres on the Plumas Na- tional Forest. He said that an acre of that type of work led to around $1,000 in economic activity on average. Plumas County Fire Safe Council Coordinator Jerry Hurley told the board the maps were part of the coun- ty's community wildfire pro- tection plan, which is needed to get certain types of forest fire prevention grants and Federal Emergency Manage- ment Agency disaster fund- ing. Hurley explained that the original county WUI map had 28 communities at risk identi- fied, with 60 recognized now. See Maps, page 14A Reserve gives PUSD needed cushion Linda Satchwell Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews'crn Plumas Unified School Dis- trict's reserve fund was the subject of discussion, yet again, at the October school board meeting. That reserve, or "rainy day" fund, is vital to the schools, given their complex finances and dependence on the vagaries of the California state budget. The size of the reserve, which this district's board has set at 45 percent at the recommendation of dis- trict administration, is debat- able, however. When asked why she thinks the public has reacted negatively to the reserve, Business Director Yvonne Bales said, "They see money sitting there going unused." Many parents and teachers have said they'd like to see some of that reserve be used for students in school now, rather than have current pro- grams cut to save for what might happen later on. The district argues that it's their job to plan for the fu- ture as much as it is to pro- vide for today. The school administra- tion's basic assertion is that large, one-time funds like the Forest Reserve, American Re- covery and Reinvestment, and State Fiscal Stabilization funds are disappearing. District officials also look at shrinking tax dollars -- down this year by $2.5 mil- lion according to Bales. They believe that in the not too dis- tant future, the district will return to revenue limit status instead of basic aid status. Briefly defined, our taxes give us $4 million more than the state calculates we need to survive. That amount de- creases as tax assessments dwindle. Four million dollars has been reduced to $1.5 mil- lion this year. District officials anticipate it will be gone in a few years, if the economy doesn't pick up. See Reserve, page 13A All expenses (unrestricted & restricted)= base for calculation $25,505,013 Reserve source: Undesignated fund balance Designation for economic uncertainties (3% reserve of expenses) Fund 17 Balance (for anticipated shift to revenue limit status) Total reserve 7,029,283 765,150 3,503,656 $11,298,089 Total reserve percentage ($11,298,089 + $25,505,013) 44.30% Reserve Fund A reserve fund is like a savings account for school districts. At the end of the school year. if a school district has excess, undesignated money in its general fund, it's called "undesignated fund balance." That balance may be designated for a reserve fund. PUSD has targeted a 45 percent reserve. As of June 30, the district's current reserves stand at 44.3 percent. Current reserve calculation $25,505,013 2009- 10 expenditures, unrestricted and restricted (including transfers) $765,150 3 percent of 2009 - 10 expenditures reserved for "economic uncertainties" $7,029,283 Undesignated fund balance, added to reserves $3,503,656 Fund 17 designated for anticipated change from basic aid to revenue limit at unknown future date $11,298,089 Total reserve Survey says: Rural healthcare ailing Recruiting quality physicians especially tough Linda SatchweU Staff Writer [satchweil@plum asnews.corn One of the toughest things for small, rural hospitals like those in Plumas County is recruiting and retaining quality physicians. During Plumas District Hospital's recent Measure B debate, one of the main argu- ments the hospital gave for new construction was the need for a facility that would lure potential physicians. Every month at PDH board meetings, with the latest blow by blow on the tax- cap battle, former Chief Executive Officer Dick Hath- away reported his ongoing struggle to recruit doctors. At best, he'd have a prospect or two who might come temporarily. Often, that was dependent on the candidate's ability to get a California license to practice. Dr. Erin Barnes, a family practice physician new at PDH, is getting rave reviews. She's here through the end of the year, with discussions continuing regarding an extension. Dr. Mark Satterfield, emer- gency room physician and president of PDH's board, said disparity between primary care doctor's and specialist's salaries increased during the Bush years as incentives for doctors to go into primary care were taken away. Fewer primary care doc- tors are interested in offering the full spectrum of services required at PDH, which in- clude obstetrics, surgical assistance, hospital rounds and on call. Satterfield said, "Quality has to be excellent, otherwise rural hospitals go broke." If you don't have excellent doc- tors, word gets around, and patients go elsewhere. Sometimes, there's "a reason" a doctor practices in a rural area, and it isn't al- ways good. "There's a limited pool of doctors, and half or two-thirds, you wouldn't want," he said. "Most rural hospitals are so desperate, if they can get a warm body with a license," they'll take it. On the other hand, "quality begets quality." He men- tioned an EMT who chose to come to Plumas District Hospital about 10 years ago because it had won a Top 100 Hospitals award. "Keeping the momentum of quality medical care is huge. If we lose that...." Satterfield praised interim CEO Linda Jameson for recognizing the importance of physician recruitment. "It has to come from the top," he said. For its part, Eastern Plumas Health Care is con- stantly struggling to recruit more doctors. According to Chief Execu- tive Officer Tom Hayes, "Achieving continuity in physician coverage is one of our biggest goals. Yet it's very challenging to get people to locate permanently to a rural area unless they See Physicians, page 12A