County to beef up animal control staffing levels

Debra Moore
Staff Writer

  Plumas County used to have three animal control officers, but for the past month, it has fallen to sheriff’s deputies to handle animal control calls.

  The county’s lone animal control officer is recovering from surgery.

  “Basically we don’t have an animal control officer in Plumas County,” Sheriff Greg Hagwood told the supervisors July 23. “I feel we are diverting precious resources to animal control.”

  Supervisor Sherrie Thrall agreed and said that when an officer leaves the Chester area to transport an animal to Quincy, the area is left without coverage for three or four hours.

  “This is a no-brainer,” Thrall said of Hagwood’s request to hire more staff.


Child welfare services spike

  Social Services Director Elliott Smart delivered his quarterly report to the supervisors July 23.

  He discussed trends in services for the three-month period ending March 29.

  “We aren’t seeing much of a different report,” Smart said of the overall number of applications that the department processes each month. “It’s about 300 per month now,” Smart said, comparing that to the average of 170 that preceded the 2007 recession.

  There has been a recent spike in emergency responses for child protective services. Calls average in the low to mid teens, but in March that number spiked to 29.

  “This is significant,” Smart said and attributed the increase to drug and alcohol arrests.

  However, embedded in the statistics was some good news. The number of children in the Child Welfare Services Program has declined in the past year.

  “It continues to drop despite the high number of referrals,” he said. A year ago there were 76 children in the system, compared to 57 at the end of March.


Foul smell cost the county

  Back in January, someone smelled an odor emanating from the storm drains in the area of Dame Shirley Plaza in Quincy and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board asked the county for a report.

  Public Works Director Bob Perreault told the supervisors that Vestra Resources investigated the smell and issued the state-mandated report. The source of the smell could not be determined and the odor is no longer there.

  Vestra billed the county $4,157.20 for the work.

  Supervisor Jon Kennedy asked, “Who do we send the bill to?”

  “If we could identify a source we could send a bill,” County Counsel Craig Settlemire responded, but further research would only increase the costs and could still be inconclusive.


Grand jury response

  The release of the 2012-13 grand jury report triggered a 90-day window for the Board of Supervisors to respond to the portions of the report that pertain to the county. Elected officials, such as the sheriff, have 60 days to respond.

  Settlemire said that counties use different approaches to respond — some use a county administrative officer to craft the response, while others opt for the county counsel.

  The Plumas supervisors decided on the latter approach, since they don’t have a CAO. They gave themselves 30 days to send their own comments to Settlemire to incorporate into the official county response.


Help for veterans

  Following the resignation of Veterans Services Officer Michael McLeod, Jimmy LaPlante has stepped in to help veterans.

  Public Health Director Mimi Hall made the announcement July 23, letting the supervisors and the public know that LaPlante can now officially process claims and assist veterans.


Water rights on Aug. 6 agenda 

  The supervisors approved contracts with Leah Wills, the county’s water consultant, totaling $35,524 for her work on behalf of the county and the Flood Control and Water Conservation District.

  As Planning Director Randy Wilson handed the supervisors a document titled “Notice of Surface Water Shortage for 2013,” he said, “This is the kind of work that we use Leah on.”

  Wilson said the document, which was released by the State Water Resources Control Board, “is a source of great concern.”

  According to the document: “For 2013, the combined total precipitation for the months of January through May is the driest in about 90 years of record.”

  The document addresses the state’s water rights system and how allocations will be made, and even mentions pre-1914 water rights.

  The supervisors are scheduled to discuss the issue during their Aug. 6 meeting.



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