County Supervisor Michael Kobseff attended last Wednesday’s Lake Shastina Community Services District meeting to support a report on the findings and recommendations from Greater Lake Shastina Fire Safe Council coordinator John McPhee concerning the burn site.
Also during the meeting, directors voted to disband the Drinking Water Wells ad hoc committee due to a breach of the Brown Act. A new committee was established with two directors as members.
Director Carol Cupp questioned the financial implications of increasing the fire chief’s hours from 20 hours per week to 30 and why the change was not brought before the board.
Police Department Chief Mike Wilson gave his first monthly report since returning as full time chief on Feb 1.
All five CSD directors attended the meeting along with 19 people in the audience.
Burn Site (Green Waste Site)
McPhee reported that all homeowner associations in Lake Shastina use the burn site, not just the Lake Shastina Property Owners Association. He said the costs listed by the CSD were of the actual income, but expenditures, such as equipment costs, were estimated. He said the LSPOA has never charged the CSD for using their equipment at the burn site.
McPhee said if individuals were to do their own burning it would be a “disaster waiting to happen.”
Kobseff said in a phone interview that it makes sense to keep what they have viable so residents don’t have to go to Yreka or Mount Shasta to dump green waste. “It’s highly convenient for them,” he said
Lake Shastina has had two threats of evacuation from fire. There’s motivation to get rid of vegetation, he said.
McPhee said the Fire Safe Council recommended:
• Fuels in the site should be burned according to the fire permitting and smoke planning regulations;
• CSD should operate the site as stated in the CSD ordinances;
• The ordinance rules for acceptable and unacceptable items should be appropriately modified. For example, lawn clippings would be unacceptable because they are difficult to burn;
• A budget line item for income and costs must be established and the fees and donation costs to use the burn site should be revisited;
• CSD should negotiate with the POA relative to the use of POA equipment. He said the CSD should rent big equipment to break up the large pile of green waste;
• CSD should seek grants to fund the burn site;
• CSD should investigate alternative methods of fuel disposal;
• He explained that pine needles are difficult to burn or chip, and it should be determined how to deal with them;
• The CSD should review the Fire Safe Council’s report and gather public input, then enact an ordinance regarding fire fuels that give uniform direction to all property owners in the district.
Cupp said this is a “community needed site.”
Board president Michael Graves said they will address some of the items on the list during their March meeting.
Drinking Water Wells committee disbanded
A resident told directors that a meeting attended by two of the three Drinking Wells ad hoc committee members and Graves on Dec. 27 was a breach of the Brown Act.
The Drinking Water Wells ad hoc committee had been established at the Dec. 14 monthly meeting with directors Layne, Rita MacIntosh and Don Moore as members.
After some discussion, Graves got to the point and asked, “So, it’s broken, how do we fix it?”
Former director Paula Mitchell suggested disbanding and establishing a new committee, which they agreed to do. The new committee members are directors Layne and MacIntosh.
Graves told the audience, “Thank you for keeping me straight.”
Before establishing the new committee, CSD General Manager Karl Drexel explained to directors that according to the Brown Act, an ad hoc committee made up of two board members would not be subject to the Brown Act.
The Brown Act states that an ad hoc committee is not subject to the notice and posting requirements as long as it consists of only members of the governing body. The number of those members must be less than the majority of members in the governing body or board. If a community member is on the committee, then it is subject to the notice and posting requirements of the Brown Act.
Cupp said that with only two directors on the committee, the public will not be given notice of their meetings.
In an email Graves explained that the meeting on Dec. 27 was an informational meeting about the wells. He wrote that they looked at maps and a report prepared by Moore. No action or recommendations were made.
He also wrote that the March agenda will contain an item to consider increasing the members of the committee from two to five.
Fire Chief hours
During the quarterly budget report, Cupp questioned the increase in hours for the Lake Shastina Fire Chief. She said the increase from 20 to 30 hours a week would also require the district to pay insurance.
“We all would love to have a full time fire department,” she said. “It’s not what we want, it’s what we can afford.”
Layne said the fire chief is a great guy, has a lot of leadership qualities and keeps those volunteers coming and staying here. “You can’t put a price on that,” she said.
Cupp said, “You have to put a price on it, because we have a budget. I’m not discussing his qualifications.”
Resident Earl Pilgrim said increasing expenses above and beyond income is deficit spending. “I’m not for deficit spending,” he said.
Cupp said the change in the fire chief’s hours should have come before the board. Drexel and Graves said it’s not a board decision, and Drexel is authorized to make that decision.
Graves said the real problem that is taking money out of the budget is the lawsuit against the district.
Cupp cast the lone dissenting vote on approving the quarterly budget.
The LSCSD/LSPOA Working Relationship Committee met twice and is looking at the CSD maintenance yard and POA equipment, office staffing, union issues and benefits, ownership of the administration building and what the POA has bought into, and other financial contributions of the POA.
MacIntosh said they want something that is best for everyone in the community.
Reporting for the Drinking Wells committee, Layne said property they have been looking at for a well is still for sale. Moore said a cost-effective water system means getting water from the center of the district. The Indian Island area looks good, he said.
The Police Advisory committee added Lorene Miller as a member.
LSPD Chief Wilson
Wilson said it was good to be back and the audience applauded. He said they will be transitioning to a full service department and police volunteers will be taking on the dog licensing project.
He has two prospects for new officers.
Monthly Coffee with the Chief will be begin Feb 23 at 10 a.m. and monthly Coffee with Our Veterans will also begin again.