Board Minutes - February 10, 2004

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County of Inyo

Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Inyo, State of California, met in regular session at the hour of 9:15 a.m., on Tuesday, February 10, 2004, in the Board of Supervisors Room, County Administrative Center, Independence, with the following Supervisors present:  Chairperson Carroll “Butch” Hambleton presiding, Linda Arcularius, Julie Bear, Ted Williams, and Michael Dorame.  Supervisor Hambleton provided the Invocation, and Supervisor Williams led the Pledge of Allegiance.



Public Comment

The Chairperson announced the public comment period.  Supervisor Williams commented on an Inyo Register Newspaper article regarding County reorganizations and Measure A, in which Ms. Beverly Harry was attributed with the comment that supporters of the Measure would not bring their names forward for fear of retaliation.  Supervisor Williams commented that he believes that the free exchange of ideas and opinions is a fundamental element of a healthy community, explaining that he is always open to any opinions or ideas, and always open and available to discuss any issue, without fear of retaliation.

The Chairperson, Supervisor Hambleton, thanked Supervisor Williams for his comments.  He went on to express his concerns that the remark regarding retaliatory action was unfair and ridiculous, as well as unfounded.  He endorsed the entire Board of Supervisors by verifying that he and the members of the Board of Supervisors he has had the pleasure of serving with have made it a priority to always represent their constituency with the greatest respect and the utmost regard for their opinions and wishes on any issue, which is affecting them. 


County Dept. Reports

The Chairperson announced the County Department Report period.  The County Administrator began by addressing the public comment remarks made last week by Ms. Judy Fowler, regarding the Tobacco Settlement proceeds.  He clarified that the County did not initiate the litigation to which Ms. Fowler referred, saying the County is simply challenging the case that the County has not honored Measure B.  He went on to say that since the voters of Inyo County directed that Tobacco Settlement proceeds be given to the hospitals, over $891,000 has been given to the hospitals, equating to over $445,000 to Northern Inyo Hospital and $445,0000 to Southern Inyo Hospital. 

Mr. Mendez went on to provide additional comments on the Inyo Register article regarding the passage of Measure A on County reorganizations, explaining that the figure of 62% of Inyo County voters for passage of the measure is misleading.  He corrected the figures to explain that actually only 37% of the eligible voters voted for the Measure and that meant that 63% of the eligible voters either did not vote or voted against the Measure.  He encouraged the public to seek out the truth behind the information they are receiving on this matter in order facilitate honest debate.

Mr. Mendez went on to read into the record a letter of thanks, from Phyllis Peters, for the County’s transit program.  Mr. Mendez took the opportunity to commend the Transit Program employees for the great job they do.

Mr. Jeff Jewett, Public Works Director, notified the Board of an emergency, which had occurred at the Eastern Sierra Regional Airport in Bishop last week.  He explained that the primary power to the runway and for the taxi lights had failed.  He said that through working with Southern California Edison, the power was restored yesterday.  He informed the Board that his Staff, and most particularly, the Airport Manager, Mr. Mike Barnes, had responded to the emergency immediately, that Mr. Barnes moved his travel trailer to the airport and was available 24/7 to manually turn on the generators to provide power to the runway and taxi lighting areas when it was required.  Mr. Jewett thanked the City of Bishop and the Bishop Volunteer Fire Department for their assistance during the emergency, explaining that the City and Fire Department had supplied the generator, which provided electricity to the airport during the power outage.  Mr. Jewett also informed the Board that he would be bringing a Resolution for the Board’s approval regarding the declaration of the emergency.  Supervisor Hambleton requested that Mr. Jewett convey the Board’s appreciation and thanks to Mr. Barnes for going above and beyond the call of duty to keep those using the airport safe. 

The County Administrator informed the Board that the County, while not the “point” on an emergency which occurred in Bishop, regarding finding a suspicious unidentified white power at the post office facility in Bishop, provided assistance to the City and the other responders per the County’s Emergency Management Plan.  Mr. Mendez informed that Board a report would be provided to them on the incident in the future and after the final debriefing on the incident had occurred.


P.W./ ESR Airport Water Distribution Systems

Moved by Supervisor Arcularius and seconded by Supervisor Bear to approve the plans and specifications for the Eastern Sierra Regional Airport Water Distribution System Improvement Project and authorize the Public Works Director to advertise for bids for the project.  Motion carried unanimously.


P.W./Lone Pine Park Rehab Project

Moved by Supervisor Arcularius and seconded by Supervisor Bear to approve the revised plans and specifications for the Lone Pine Park Rehabilitation Project and authorize the Public Works Director to advertise for bids for the project.  Motion carried unanimously.


HHS-Inyo First 5 Comm./Health Reach Contract

Moved by Supervisor Arcularius and seconded by Supervisor Bear to approve the Contract between the County of Inyo and HealthReach Associates, Inc., for the provision of consulting services, for the period of February 10, 2004, through June 30, 2004, in an amount not to exceed $4,800; and authorize the Chairperson to sign.  Motion carried unanimously.


Reso. 2004-02/ Pa Ha & Tu Su Lane Project

Mr. Jewett, responded to a question from Supervisor Williams regarding road striping.  Mr. Jewett explained that the current policy is to stripe only those roads, which have been striped.  He confirmed that there is no mandate to stripe roads and that one of the overriding issues with adding roads is the cost of continued maintenance and upkeep.  Mr. Jewett provided costs estimates for striping, explaining that usual contract cost is about 20¢ a foot.  Supervisor Arcularius expressed her concern with adding roads to the striping list, before the currently striped roads are maintained because this is an on-going concern in parts of her District.  On a motion by Supervisor Williams and a second by Supervisor Dorame, Resolution No. 2004-02 was adopted, accepting the improvements and authorizing the recording of the Notice of Completion for the Pa Ha and Tu Su Lane Resurfacing Project: motion unanimously passed and adopted.


Treasurer/Tax Default Auction

Mr. John Treacy, Treasurer-Tax Collector, provided additional information and further clarification on the sale of tax-defaulted parcels through public auction.  Mr. Treacy disclosed that one of the parcels, which is to be auctioned, resulted from an illegal lot split and that, due to easement requirements, the lot is deficient. He explained that while the premise of the auction is “buyer be ware,” it is the recommendation of Counsel that this disclosure be made prior to the auction.  Mr. Treacy and the Board discussed the parcel in detail and at length, with Mr. Treacy, the County Administrator and County Counsel providing information on how the lot may be auctioned, and the remedies and processes available to the purchaser to develop the parcel should that be their desire.  Moved by Supervisor Dorame and seconded by Supervisor Williams to authorize the selling, at public auction, the tax-defaulted parcels that are subject to the Tax Collector’s Power of Sale as recommended by Staff and identified in the Attachment to the Staff Report, in accordance with Chapter 7 of Part 6 of Division 1 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code; and in the event that any parcel does not sell, authorize re-offering the parcel at a reduced minimum price.  Motion carried unanimously.




The Chairperson recessed the regular meeting at 10:25 a.m., reconvening at 10:40 p.m., with all Board Members present.


P.W.-Town Water Systems/Water Systems Transfer Agreement

Mr. Jeff Jewett, Public Works Director, provided additional information and further clarification on the transfer agreement with the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), transferring the Lone Pine, Independence and Laws Town Water Systems to the County per the Long Term Water Agreement.  Mr. Jewett explained that there is language in the agreements, which, reflect LADWP’s willingness to work with any CSD wishing to acquire the Systems in the future and will provide the same services to the CSD’s as that which is provided to the County through these Agreements.  When questioned about the specifics of the agreements, it was determined that copies had not been included in the Agenda Packets and the Board requested that  this item be continued to next week.  Prior to closing the discussion on this item, the Chairperson recognized Ms. Nancy Masters, Independence resident, who thanked the Board for continuing the item and identifying why she disagreed with the County’s CEQA findings that the transfer of the Waters Systems is exempt from CEQA.

The Board directed that item “No. 7.  PUBLIC WORKS - Town Water Systems - Request your Board A) find that the transfer of ownership of the Laws, Independence and Lone Pine Water Systems from the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to Inyo County (pursuant to the terms of Section XI of the Long-Term Water Agreement) is exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); B) authorize the filing of the Notice of Exemption with the Inyo County Recorders Office; and approve the three Transfer Agreements between LADWP and Inyo County transferring the Laws, Independence, and Lone Pine Water Distribution Systems to Inyo County and authorize the Chairperson to sign,” be continued and agendized for further discussion on the February 17, 2004, Agenda.


E. Health/DWP Drilling Permits Domestic Replacement Wells

The County Administrator responded to questions from the Board regarding the well-drilling permit applications from LADWP.  He explained the absence of the Interim Environmental Health Director, Mr. Dave Oldenberg, who was ill.  The Board, the County Administrator and County Counsel discussed the following with regard to the permits:  (a) that these were replacement domestic wells; (b) that they are being permitted for 8 inch casings; and (c) that the work is scheduled to be finished at the end of February.  The Board and Staff went on to discuss the existing Board policy, which requires the Environmental Health Department to bring all LADWP well permit applications to the Board for approval and the Department’s recommendation to ease the policy by omitting applications for small diameter wells.  The Board and Staff had a lengthy discussion regarding the criteria for designating small diameter wells as 8 inches or less, how domestic wells are identified and what size of casing is used, as well as has how this policy and the Inyo County Code regarding well permitting is applied to LADWP and the private land owners who may have domestic well issues.  The Board discussed the possibility of continuing the discussion on the policy portion of the recommendation, but through ensuing discussions a motion was made by Supervisor Arcularius and seconded by Supervisor Bear, was withdrawn, and subsequently restated.

Moved by Supervisor Arcularius and seconded by Supervisor Bear to A) approve three well-drilling permit applications from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for wells at the Cottonwood, Control Gorge, and Big Pine Power Plants; and B) modify the existing policy to continue the policy that Environmental Health submit LADWP well drilling permit applications for larger diameter wells to the Board of Supervisors for review and approval, but no longer require the Board to review and approve those well-drilling permits which are submitted by LADWP which are for the replacement of domestic smaller diameter wells (i.e. eight inches in diameter or less).  Motion carried unanimously.



Closed Session

The Chairperson recessed open session at 11:50 a.m., to convene in closed session, with all Board Members present to discuss Agenda Item No. 13.  PENDING LITIGATION - Conference with Legal Counsel (Existing Litigation) Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(a) - Jaxon v. County of Inyo, Inyo County Superior Court Case No. 24260.  The Chairperson recessed closed session at 1:35 p.m., to reconvene in open session with all Board Members present.


CAO-Budget/ FY 2004-05 Adjustments

The County Administrator reviewed the recommendations regarding 1st tier budget adjustments.  The Board and Staff discussed the recommendations in detail and at length.  The County Administrator stressed that in light of the on-going State Budget crisis and reduced revenues it is “not business as usual.”  He suggested that the Board might want to consider rescinding the recent  2% COLA adjustment that was given to the Board of Supervisors and other elected and appointed department heads to convey that message.  The individual Board Members each expressed their concurrence with the suggestion and their desire to rescind the Board’s COLA adjustment.  The Board directed Staff to begin the ordinance process to rescind the 2% COLA adjustment for the Board of Supervisors. The Board and staff went on to discuss the other adjustments recommended including discussions on the following:  the need to increase fees, with Supervisor Arcularius asking that the Board be given information regarding all fees at one time; mandated and unmandated programs; the airport subsidies; increasing insurance and benefit costs; combination of programs and job sharing capabilities for economies of scale; County reserves; and geothermal royalties.  At the conclusion of the discussion the Board indicated that they would provide direction regarding initial base adjustments (1st tier) after their discussions regarding 2nd tier adjustments.    


BofS/Minute Approval

Moved by Supervisor Dorame and seconded by Supervisor Williams to approve the minutes of the January 20, 2004, Board of Supervisors Meeting, correcting 1:05 a.m., to 1:05 p.m., on the last paragraph of the second page .  Motion carried unanimously.


Integ. Waste/ Workshop on Evaluation Monitoring Plan

The Chairperson recessed the regular meeting at 3:00 p.m., reconvening at 3:10 p.m., in a workshop, with all Board Members present to discuss with the Integrated Waste Management’s consultants and staff the Bishop-Sunland Landfill Evaluation Monitoring Plan.  The Chairperson recessed the workshop at 3:45 p.m., to reconvene in open session to receive a report on closed session.


Report on Closed Session

County Counsel reported there were no items discussed in closed session, which were required by law to be reported on in open session. 



The Chairperson adjourned the regular meeting at 3:45 p.m., to 9:00 a.m., February 17, 2004, in the Board of Supervisors Room, at the County Administrative Center, in Independence.


   Chairperson, Inyo County Board of Supervisors

Attest:   RENÉ L. MENDEZ
         Clerk of the Board



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