Yuba locals ask for audit of levee authority | TheUnion.com

Yuba locals ask for audit of levee authority

MARYSVILLE – A group in Yuba County is asking for a comprehensive audit of the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority.

The authority has spent more than $400 million upgrading the county’s levee system since it was formed in 2004.

“I believe we have the oversight you’re asking for in place,” said Yuba County Supervisor John Nicoletti, one of two supervisors who also sits on TRLIA’s board of directors.

Members of the group Yuba First, who have requested the audit, and their supporters told the board that, while the levees deserve praise, accountability for how they were built was lacking.

“You say these levees are the finest to be found anywhere, and that may be true,” said Don Rae, a Plumas Lake resident and occasional TRLIA critic, at a Tuesday meeting of the authority board. “But in terms of management oversight and public transparency, I’m not sure it’s quite true.”

“We talk about a gold-plated levee system, but at the end of the day, the question is, “Was this the best use for the money?'” said Tom Eres, a lawyer for Frances Hofman, another TRLIA critic. “This is simply the taxpayers of Yuba County asking for transparency and accountability.”

County staff were expected to have more information at a meeting planned for Feb. 16. Yuba First’s letter asked for an audit to be completed by May 1.

Assemblyman and former Yuba County supervisor Dan Logue, R-Linda, served on the authority board from 2004 to 2006. He recently was cleared by the California Fair Political Practices Commission of allegations of wrongdoing after he voted while on the board to approve contracts for businesses that had contributed to his campaign.

“None of the relevant votes met all the elements necessary to find a violation,” the FPPC wrote in its findings Jan. 3.

Ben van der Meer is a reporter with the Marysville Press-Democrat.

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