A Lake Shastina Community Services District director resigned during last Wednesday’s regular meeting and District general manager Karl Drexel said waste water from a clogged sewer line in the City of Weed that leaked into Boles Creek will not affect Lake Shastina residents’ drinking water.
Director Yatang Hoke said she was resigning effective at the end of the meeting because she is moving.
Her four-year term began Dec 5, 2014 and is scheduled to end Dec. 7, 2018.
Drexel wrote in an email after the meeting that the District will be posting the Notice of Vacancy soon. An appointment for Hoke’s seat is scheduled to be on the November regular meeting agenda.
Regarding the water waste that leaked into Boles Creek Tuesday of last week, Drexel said the creek eventually flows into Lake Shastina, but wells in the District are deep and considerably far from the lake. Residents are currently using water from the holding tanks.
Also during last Wednesday’s meeting, directors discussed the current relationship between the Lake Shastina Property Owner’s Association and the LSCSD since they separated, a suggestion to consider changing the dog ordinance, the fire department’s water rescue and recent grant, and a repair to well #4.
Drexel reported that Mike Wilson is still reviewing the contract for Police Chief.
Hoke, president Barbara Thomsson, vice president Roxanna Layne, and director Paul Mitchell attended the meeting. Director Mike French did not.
LSPOA and LSCSD
Drexel said the two agencies are separated and currently sharing staff. “CSD is billing POA for the actual time spent, including benefits,” he said.
He is waiting for a response from the POA board on the proposed agreement for the maintenance yard.
Rancho Hills resident Rick Thompson asked if there was a fiscal impact analysis done when the disillusion of the relationship was decided.
“Do we know where the CSD stands financially as opposed to where it will stand financially after this is all said and done?” he asked.
Layne said, “We have a lot of liability issues going on and legal issues too that require separation. Things have not been done legally in the past, and it’s because the two worked together, like sharing bank accounts. One is a public entity, the other is a private enterprise, or private association, and mixing the two you get into a lot of liability issues. And the CSD has been assuming those issues all along, those liabilities. I don’t feel that we need to, because when something comes down, it’s us that is responsible, but bottom line it’s the CSD.”
Thompson asked if there was a document that outlined the reason for the separation and the costs of separating from POA. Layne said they do not have a document.
Carol Cupp, Rancho Hills resident and LSCSD board candidate, referred to a newspaper article from 2015 that reported on the ad hoc committee’s reasons for recommending a split between the POA and CSD.
Cupp said the committee person said there would be a financial savings of between $50,000 and $90,000 annually. “He also told us there was going to be a lot of other benefits to this, quote, split. I don’t see that happening,” she said.
She asked for a financial analysis. “You owe us as rate payers of the CSD to tell us why this was a beneficial thing or a necessary thing, and it’s been going on all this time and no one has ever deemed it illegal or any legal issues. It was a personal vendetta, in my opinion.”
Thomsson said they will work on it and put it on the agenda after they get the information. “It will be looked in to,” she said.
During the budget review Mitchell pointed out an approximately $5,000 increased expense for the CSD for office supplies that were previously shared by the POA and an increase of more than $20,000 in contracted general manager services.
Lake Shastina Fire Chief Steven Pappas included in his report a water rescue on Oct. 3 for a tipped over canoe. He said victims were in the water 90 minutes.
Pappas said the Sheriff’s department was completely unavailable, and a Fish and Game boat was used for the rescue. He said he thinks they need to look at another solution for water rescue and not rely on the Sheriff’s boats.
Mitchell asked Pappas if the department has been able to secure grants since the board voted to separate the fire and police departments about a year ago. She explained that with a combined department they were not be eligible for certain grants for fire engines.
Pappas said they were recently approved for a Volunteer Fire Assistance grant for a little more than $10,000 through CAL FIRE and are applying for a AFG grant.
Mitchell said she is trying to see if the board is open changing the ordinance from a misdemeanor to an infraction and, if so, give direction to the police department to come back with something. She said she believes officers are hesitant to hand out misdemeanors where they might be more willing to hand out an infraction and that might “control a little more the nuisance that people incur having to listen to barking dogs all the time.”
Mitchell said, “I think that we should change our dog ordinance, so that it would be either changed totally from a misdemeanor to an infraction or give the officer a choice of using misdemeanor or infraction.”
She said residents have been talking about the barking dog problem for a long time and thinks they could get more help for citizens if it was changed.
“Just for perspective, a DUI is a misdemeanor and a misdemeanor allows someone who receives that kind of citation to ask for a jury trial, but an infraction would be a fine,” she explained. “I agree that constantly barking dogs, every day, every day is certainly an impact on quality of life. I don’t think it quite measures up to a DUI, which is another example of a misdemeanor.”
Layne said, “My concern is that our police department will then be used for big time barking dogs, for chasing dogs, and I hate to see police officers do that. I thought that when we were going to pass Measure B, and I hope it passes, I thought that was going to go towards our police officers, toward enhancing their salaries, toward getting better equipment. If we are going to move in this direction with the dog ordinances, we’re going to have to get a kennel. Our kennel is not up to code. We’re going to have to get a truck, because these dogs that bark, what are you going to do with them when you catch them? And who’s going to catch them? Are we going to have police officers out because they’re bitten by dogs? Dogs don’t want to necessarily jump in your truck or come with you when you try to get them to go. I think if we are going to go down this road, we need to go back to animal control and have an animal control officer that is best at barking dogs and writes the tickets for that, and not necessarily our police officers who are here for public safety, and that’s what their job is.”
Mitchell said there is a dog ordinance already on the books and she is just asking that the board look at changing what a police officer could do about that issue.
Thomsson expressed support for giving direction to the police to come back with a proposed change to the ordinance. She said the board would then have to study the law and see what it could do.
Drexel reported that well #4 burned up on the previous Friday and needs replacement. The well is typically taken out of service in the winter. He said they are looking to replace it with a submersible well that is more cost effective. They are in the process of developing a bid package.