Mount Shasta moves forward with water group

Skye Kinkade
During his last meeting as Mount Shasta's City Manager, the council voted to move forward with the creation of a Regional Water Management Group which he's been working on for more than three years.

At the conclusion of Monday evening’s city council meeting, city manager Ted Marconi said it’s been “an honor and a privilege” to serve the city.

Monday’s meeting was Marconi’s last before his retirement on Aug. 26. He has spent the past 15 years working for the City of Mount Shasta, first as finance director, then city manager.

Because new city manager Paul Eckert is scheduled to start on that same day, the council agreed to cancel their Aug. 26 meeting and meet next on Sept. 9.

Eckert is in the process of relocating from Sioux City, Iowa.

Councilors also approved a Memorandum of Understanding to create a Regional Water Management Group, heard about the city’s new pavement and sidewalk management plans and approved a Castle Street closure for next year’s Datsun Roadster Club 30th reunion on a split vote.

Water management group

The Memorandum of Understanding will allow the city to create and participate in a Regional Water Management Group for the Upper Sacramento-McCloud-Pit River Region. Councilors approved language for the document that gives no participating group veto power.

The creation of the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan will provide the city and other plan partners access to Proposition 50 and Prop. 84 bonds, grants and other money for water and wetlands projects.

Marconi has been working to create the plan for three and a half years, and hopes proposition funding could be used to make necessary upgrades to the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will cost an estimated $10 million.

If the plan is not finalized soon, the city will lose access to potential funding after this year, Marconi said, recommended the council move forward with the MOU.

The process has been made difficult because of opposing views between Siskiyou County and tribal authorities, Marconi explained.

“The plan is supposed to be a comprehensive planning document which includes discussion of the objectives and conflicts and appropriate water demand and supply management strategies including protection of water quality in a region,” Marconi said.

While the county believes it should have veto power within the group, tribes believe the county would have too much power that way.

Marconi said the plan can move forward with just Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir and the McCloud Services District as part of the group, however, the more groups that are involved, the better. He agreed to help the city navigate the process even after his retirement, but suggested councilor Geoff Harkness as the city’s designated representative, as he is the next most knowledgeable person on the subject.

Councilor Tim Stearns moved to approve the MOU with language that states, “the Regional Water Management Group shall not approve a grant application for any project located within the jurisdiction of any one of the statutory authorities... that contravenes any authority of the affected authority,” and it was passed unanimously. The county prefered language which stated “without the approval of” all parties.

Streets and sidewalks

Public Works Director Rod Bryan presented the council with draft pavement and sidewalk management plans which will assist the city in making future maintenance decisions.

Bryan said it is a planning tool that provides an inventory of the current condition of streets and provides options for streets with various defects.

The condition of the streets will be reevaluated every two or three years to determine how well the maintenance measures are working and to determine if deterioration of streets is accelerating.

According to the plan, Mount Shasta has a road system of 23.8 miles of road, most of which are in good condition, with 4.9 miles in fair condition and 3.6 miles in poor condition.

Bryan said public works is working to keep the good roads in good condition and deciding where chip seals and other “band aids” will get “the most bang for the buck.”

Stearns asked for a more comprehensive “plan” which would identify which roads are next to be worked on. Bryan said that is a difficult endeavor, because it is impossible to know which roads will need repair when.

As for sidewalk repair, Stearns suggested the city begin thinking about making property owners responsible for the condition of their sidewalks, as is state law.

Bryan said because the city planted the trees that have cracked downtown sidewalks, the city has taken responsibility for their repair. However, in the past, the city has gone through steps to have property owners fix unsafe sidewalks.

Stearns said if a person falls on a sidewalk that’s not maintained the city will pay damages, because it is the city’s responsibility to ensure the sidewalks are maintained and that property owners are doing their part.

Bryan pointed out Alma Street from the elementary school to Rockfellow will be completely redone next year with State Transportation Improvement Program funding. This will include the road, sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Councilor Jeffrey Collings asked if it would be worth it to lay an empty pipe under Alma during construction for future electrical or broadband conduit. He said he will research it and come up with some ideas for possible funding sources.

Event road closure

After much discussion, councilors voted 3-2 to approve the closure of Castle Street for one day in July of 2014 for the Datsun Roadster Club’s annual celebration.

Councilor Mike Burns said after July’s closure for the club, he heard business owners complain about people using their restrooms. Mayor Tom Moore said business owners he talked to were frustrated with a lack of parking and suggested the club could use the parking lot beneath the new Parker Plaza for their event.

Marconi, Bryan and finance director Muriel Howarth-Terrell said they heard no complaints but would be willing to work with the downtown businesses to come to an agreement to make everyone happy.

Stearns, Harkness and Collings said the city should be encouraging tourism and closures like this are important to stimulate the local economy.

After changing the resolution to approve the Datsun Club’s July 19, 2014 closure on Castle Street or another acceptable location, the councilors voted 3-2 to approve it.

Other business

In other business, council:

• Appointed an ad hoc committee to review information about Technology Service Proposals. The committee will consist of Collings, Stearns, Howarth-Terrell, Bryan, Mount Shasta Police Chief and city manager Eckert;

• Appointed Collings as the city’s voting delegate at the League of California Cities annual conference on Sept. 18-20 in Sacramento. Harkness will be the alternate.