Tuolumne County leaders decided on Tuesday where to spend more than $860,000 in one-time money this upcoming year, but some of those funds will be dedicated to an unpleasant surprise.
The county Board of Supervisors voted during a meeting to distribute almost half of about $1.86 million in contingency funds left over from the previous budget year on various one-time uses, including maintenance, roads, debt reduction and the arts.
But $103,476 of those funds will go toward a “change order” for the project to repair storm damage at the Jamestown Landfill. Repair work is now going on at the landfill, which was damaged last year by severe winter storms. The county approved a $206,821 contract last month with Sinclair General Engineering to deal with the drainage and erosion issues.
The state will cover 75 percent of the project cost through a California Emergency Management grant.
Bev Shane, director of the county’s Community Resources Agency, said repair workers found the bedrock is deeper underneath the fill than originally thought. That means the job will require additional work and equipment.
The landfill has dogged the county for years. In 2008, the county sued multiple contractors, claiming they didn’t properly close the landfill in 2005 with the original clay liner and caused it to fail the following winter. The county in October agreed to a $4.35 million settlement.
Multiple supervisors questioned whether the county should be responsible for the increased costs, or if there is any recourse on those who produced the initial estimates.
County Administrator Craig Pedro and Deputy County Counsel Carlyn Drivdahl said they are looking into it.
Supervisor Randy Hanvelt said he’s still “disappointed” by the cost overrun.
“It seems to me that we didn’t do our homework,” Hanvelt said.
Other uses for the county’s one-time funds include a $45,000 subsidy this year for the Central Sierra Arts Council. The council requested $75,000 annually for five years, but supervisors opted to cover the organization’s projected deficit this year instead of making a multi-year commitment.
“(We can) revisit this whole situation next year to see where we are, see if we have more funds,” board Chairman Dick Pland said.
The county will spend approximately $374,500 for additional road projects this year, $65,000 on technology upgrades, $155,000 on about a dozen maintenance and capital projects and about $126,000 to pay off debt owed on capital projects at the Columbia Airport with the one-time money.
The board delayed decisions on two additional, long-term funding requests: a new jail commander, which would cost about $125,000 a year, and a $40,000 annual request by the Groveland Community Services District to help fund the district fire department.
Sheriff Jim Mele is investigating whether state corrections realignment funds can be used for the jail commander. And Pedro said the Groveland funds should be decided as the county, GCSD and Cal Fire work out a new contract. The state fire department is taking over the Groveland department’s personnel.
In other news, the Board of Supervisors:
• Awarded a $191,375 contract for the Jamestown Facade project to Jex Baldwin Construction.
• Set special board meetings for Nov. 13 and Jan 8, as the county’s holiday furlough schedule will make some meetings in December difficult.
• Heard a presentation on the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and its possible effects on local health care.
• Heard an update on the status of the Law and Justice Center.
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