Reports from Merlin Jones, District II Supervisor
2017 District 2 Reports
By Merlin Jones
I'm sitting here looking out the window as the clouds are building up and there is more rain in the forecast. In Greeley Hill, the average rainfall is about 40 inches and we are now over 70," which has really helped the trees. With that said, I was out about a week ago and the Western Bark Beetle were flying. I noticed with the warmer weather there are some trees already starting to die because of the bugs. There's a lot of seedlings coming up, but they'll not be mature trees in my lifetime. The county's hired a company call Blue Ridge Services, Inc. to fall trees around county buildings and along county roads. This doesn't mean they'll be removing the trees, just falling and cutting, making it safer for the citizens and getting more bang for our money. P.G.&E. is doing the best they can around power lines but are overwhelmed. Let's be patient, because all agencies are working as hard as they can.
The B.O.S. just approved a one year contract with Cal Fire for command and control. This should be a good marriage between county fire and Cal Fire and will give a professional structure to our fire department. Some people have doubts, but there's only a one-year agreement and I hope everyone will work together.
This is the third year I've sponsored a county employee appreciation BBQ. All employees are invited. We had lots of help from Supervisors Cann, Long and Menetrey flipping 325 burgers. It is always a lot of fun and it's a way to show our employees how much we appreciate their dedication and hard work. "Thank you, employees."
The county hired Host Compliance to monitor all the hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals in the county to make sure they're paying their TOT tax. If anyone is not, they'll be caught and the penalties are extremely high, so if you owe money, I recommend you contact the tax collector and work it out with him.
Mary Hodson, our past C.A.O. has retired. In the meantime, we went out for recruitment to replace her and got over 30 applicants. After narrowing down to three and not finding a good fit for Mariposa, the B.O.S. decided we had the best person in our Deputy C.A.O., Dallin Kimble. I for one was thrilled to hire a young man who is wanting to improve so many things in the county and someone who is living in Mariposa. I look forward to working with him because we have a lot of the same goals to run the county more effectively.
I have been working projects like road work, trading unused roads for road work that people use. The drainage project in Coulterville should start around July and finish up before winter. We've made some changes so we will not have to tear up Main Street and hurt the businesses. I'm excited to finally get this project moving forward. I continue to work with some agencies to put an office in Greeley Hill to help the people in District 2. There is a much interest in phone and Internet towers and there permits are in the works.
These are just a few of the projects I have been working on. I normally have to spend 4 to 5 days a week in Mariposa, but we are making a lot of positive changes in the county. I always remember I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and District 2. You can contact me anytime at my office in Greeley Hill at 878-3158 or in Mariposa at 966-3222.
I enjoy writing this article every month because it gives me a chance to reflect back on all the events and activities that took place. With the time change, I now get home before dark. We are close to being 50% over the average rainfall in Greeley Hill. A fireman said to me, "if it is a drought we talk of fire danger and if it is a wet year with a lot of tall grass we talk of the fire danger." This year is a wet year with lots of grass, so start weed eating now. Keep your defensible space around all your structures. P.G.&E., CAL FIRE, Mariposa County and other agencies are all working hard to remove all the dangerous bug trees. If you have trees that are an immediate threat, give me a call and I'll get you some help.
For an update on the fire department, we had a meeting last week working out the final details of a purposed contract with CAL FIRE. I have a meeting this coming week to finalize what cost it will be to the county. As of today, 3/17, no one knows what the end cost will be to the county. So people that are giving out numbers don't know what they're talking about. Let's be patient and get the best deal we can for the people of Mariposa County. This is a year to year contract with a county withdraw clause in it. "We are not selling out to CAL FIRE forever."
On March 15, with the help of Chevon Kothari of Human Services, I hosted a Town Hall Meeting in Greeley Hill. The turnout was great and any of you who didn't come missed out on a lot of great information. There was about 20 organizations and agencies there from Area 12, CAL FIRE, Community Service, Fire Safe Council, Health Department., Human Service, NRCS, Probation, Victim Witness Services and many more. No one left early because of all the interesting information that was being given. Here is just a taste of some of the information: chipping programs, tree removal by your house, weed eating around the house for the elderly, services offered by J.C. Fremont, vaccinations, transportation, victim of crime services, brushing property, children's dental programs, and much more. I hope to hold a similar meeting in the Don Pedro area and another one in Greeley Hill in the fall. I hope to see you all at the next Town Hall Meeting.
Keep in mind if you are burning, you might need to get a permit from the Environmental Health Department It won't be long until you need a permit from CAL FIRE. It is getting dryer so be careful.
Here is just a few of the meetings and items I've been working on. We should have an air curtain burner here in Greeley Hill so you can take brush and logs to get them burned. I've been working on Economic Vitality Strategy for all Mariposa County, which means bringing jobs, businesses and controlled growth to Mariposa County, but keeping our rural way of life. I'm still working on our landfill and recycling so we can possibly lower our tipping fees. I continue working on fast Internet service. Sometimes I feel I take one step forward and two steps back. We will get it done.
I always remember I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and especially for the people in District 2. For up to date information in District 2, check out our website: www.mariposacountydist2.com. If you need help or want to voice your opinion, you can reach me at my office in Mariposa at 966-3222 or 878-3158 at my Greeley Hill office.
As I'm sitting here looking out the window the sun is shining and I'm enjoying the break in the rain pattern. Our average yearly rainfall in Greeley Hill is 40." As of February 15, Greeley Hill has had 55.42," and from what I understand, another 8 days of rain is coming up. Lake Don Pedro is 99% full and McClure is over 75 % of capacity, which helps generate power and provide water downstream for our farmers to grow our food. The downside to this rain is it has been a warm rain and it has rained as high as 9,000 feet, which has been melting our snowpack, which doesn't leave much snow runoff during the summer.
I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all our county employees for keeping the roads safe and helping to protect private property from the damage of flooding. Caltrans did a great job keeping Highway 49 clear on a daily basis. There were rock and mudslides....Good Job!
On another subject, I'm on the committee to work out the agreement with CAL FIRE to present to the B.O.S. for their approval of Command and Control. This agreement is to help give the people of Mariposa County the best fire protection possible. I look at this as a marriage between CAL FIRE and the county volunteers. As a county we need "both" of them, so I hope we can all work together for the betterment of the people of Mariposa County. We "DO NOT" know the cost until all the duties are spelled out for CAL FIRE, County Fire and the Building Department I am working to get the best deal possible for the safety of the public. More information to come soon.
The next major item is tree mortality. The rain will help the trees fight off the bark beetle, but we haven't had the cold winter temperatures to kill the beetles. There are many different programs to help get the trees down. I say a down tree is safer than a dead tree standing. Following are some agencies to contact for help: P.G. and E., Fire Safe Council, Public Works, NR.C.S. and CAL FIRE. Our District 2 website has more information regarding this: www.mariposacountydist2.com Please call me if you can't get any help from them. All these agencies are extremely busy right now, so we need to be patient.
Here are just a few of the meetings I've been attending..... Conifer and AT&T for faster Internet service. Tourism Bureau to help promote events in Dist. 2. Meetings with the Planning Department The tax collect regarding collecting the TOT due to the county. Meeting with Debbie Isaac to help modernize the Auditors Office, which will save the county money. Met with Terri Perisan regarding the senior meal program, the state continues to make it harder to comply. Discussed with the judges and Planning Department to continue to move forward with the restoring of our historic courthouse. Met with the new Ag Commission to see how he is doing and if I can help him. Conversed with County Council regarding a foreclosure property the county has. I was the auctioneer for the Northern Mariposa County History Center Gala. These are just a few of the meetings I attended and projects I've been working on. Town Hall Meeting, March 15th in Greeley Hill Community Hall. Save this date.
I always remember I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and District 2. Call me any time in my Mariposa office at 966-3222 or my Greeley Hill office at 878-3158.