County supervisors set to outline legislative priorities
The board of supervisors is set to lobby the state of California on two major issues — wastewater treatment facilities and hazardous fuels conditions.
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the 2013 Legislative Priorities during its regular meeting today.
County staff listed the dilemma faced by rural counties regarding federally and state mandated technology upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities at the top of the priority list, according to a staff report.
“Although most small communities are committed to clean water, these communities are currently faced with wastewater regulations requiring high-tech, expensive compliance projects coupled with rapidly rising construction costs,” the report states. “This results in compliance projects that are unaffordable to many rural communities.”
In Cascade Shores, a small residential community with 86 units connected to one regional plant, the current annual sewer rate is about $2,500, one of the highest rates in California.
Supervisor Nate Beason, who represents Cascade Shores, said the high cost is due to the need to construct a new plant after the preceding one was destroyed in a landslide.
Compounding the problem, the state and federal governments often mandate improvements that require large expenditures.
In areas, where there is enough population to spread the cost among several ratepayers, the cost is not felt as keenly as in Nevada County, where a small amount of constituents must foot the bill for problems.
Fines for violations of state regulations also fail to discriminate appropriately according to the staff report, as the mandatory penalty of $3,000 for a violation is the same if the discharge is high or very low.
“Cascade Shores will receive the same fine as Sacramento Regional Treatment Plant for a violation of effluent standards even though Sacramento Regional releases hundreds of times more effluent during the same violation,” the report states. “These fines can cripple a small community while having virtually no effect on a large community.”
The second major priority is the reduction of hazardous fire fuels on public land, the report states.
Public land occupies about 35 percent of all land within Nevada County, and about 30,000 acres is adjacent to private property.
“The public expects both federal and state governments to reasonably maintain public lands,” the report states. “The general public perception is that both federal and state lands are not meeting public expectation in being leaders in managing these lands.”
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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