Dead and dying trees, some of them left over from the 2015 Butte Fire that scorched 110 square miles of Calaveras County more than three years ago, and emergency repairs to leaking skylight structures on roofs of government buildings A, D, and E in San Andreas were among issues that came before the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

About 520 dead and dying trees remain on federal Bureau of Land Management properties in Calaveras County, including four parcels in District 2 where the Butte Fire raged in September 2015, according to Joshua Pack, a recent hire with county Public Works.

Those properties are at 13848 Jesus Maria Road, 14994 Jesus Maria Road, 7097 West Murray Creek Road, and 8855 Cave City Road, Pack said in a presentation to the board that included a powerpoint display on a big screen.

Pack emphasized to the board that public roads on federal lands are county-maintained.

Recent tree removal bids to take out the dead and dying trees on BLM lands in Calaveras County came in at a low of $280 per tree, an estimate that does not include or reflect recent wildfire impacts, additional costs for inspection and project administration, and other “unknown additional costs,” Pack said.

The preliminary estimate for taking out the trees on BLM lands is $250,000 to $300,000, Pack told the supervisors: Gary Tofanelli, District 1; Jack Garamendi, District 2; Merita Callaway, District 3; Dennis Mills, District 4; and Ben Stopper, District 5.

“Dead and dying trees on BLM lands could fall on public roads,” Pack said.

“The federal government is not funding BLM adequately,” said Garamendi, who on Tuesday was elected board chairman.

Al Segalla with the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association suggested that, for funding the tree removals, county staff could “write to the president and let it trickle down from there.”

Pack asked the Board of Supervisors to give further direction on the removal of dead and dying trees on BLM lands in Calaveras County, and the board directed Pack and county staff to come back with a funding source and a resolution to do the work.

Since November 2015, elected supervisors have continuously adopted a State of Emergency for Calaveras County due to concerns about tree mortality. The county, property owners, and utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric, have removed thousands of trees from various public and private properties, but the dead and dying trees on BLM lands resulting from the Butte Fire and the bark beetle epidemic remain a concern.

According to county staff, unless threats from dead, dying and diseased trees are removed from BLM-owned properties, life and property risks remain, along with the potential for interruptions of essential services, including roads, power, water, sewer and communications.

Emergency roof repairs

In early October, hard rains exposed leaks and roof weaknesses on buildings A, D and E at the Calaveras Government Center in San Andreas. But at that time, the Board of Supervisors denied a request for emergency action and asked administrative office staff to come back with more information, including an estimate.

In early November, the board authorized execution of an agreement with All Sierra Roof Co. of Jackson for $162,326 to do structural repairs to the skylights and seal coat surrounding the skylight structures and remaining rooftops of buildings A , D, and E.

On Tuesday, Bonnie Rich with county administration summarized the ongoing problem. More than 20 years ago, there were leakages around skylights on buildings A, D and E, and the temporary fix was doghouse-like plywood structures placed over the leaking skylights. The temporary doghouses have remained, and they are now rotting, Rich said.

To date, the county has spent $120,328 on first-phase efforts to repair the skylight structures, Rich said. The second phase effort to apply sealant to vulnerable roof areas must wait until warmer, drier weather conditions prevail, Rich said.

Remaining work to be done includes pressure washing and application of silicone base seal coating on flashing cement on the perimeter, base flashings and other roof surfaces where needed, according to county staff. The work will be scheduled to start within 45 days of the county’s notice to proceed to a contractor.

The total estimated cost per building for the repairs is $60,692 for building A, $61,396 for building D and $40,238 for building E, according to a county capital improvement spreadsheet.

Rich and other county staff asked the Board of Supervisors to continue emergency contracting procedures for the emergency repair work, and the board voted 5-0 to approve going forward with the work.

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