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This board meeting included two interesting presentations. The first was focused on a home buying assistance program for county employees. The second presentation focused on concerns/rumors related to dam maintenance and the financial impact of recent changes to river releases.  The board also considered a number of important matters – including Garret Road repairs and Snow Maintenance for the Volunteer Fire Departments.

Here are the notes I took during the meeting. Please understand that this is not meant to be a comprehensive documentation of discussions and decisions that took place.



  • Chair Cox reported out on items covered during our most recent closed session.


Home Purchase Assistance for County Employees – Receive a presentation from Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) who, in coordination with the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), is offering the Assist-to-Own program for county employees who are looking to purchase a home.

  • The presentation slides include a lot of details not included in these notes. I encourage you to watch the recording if you are interested in this program.
  • This program offers financial assistance in the form of funds for use with closing costs and down payment
  • This plan provides up to 5.5% of 1st Mortgage available for closing costs and down payment
  • Eligibility Guidelines – must be an Employee of Trinity County (including retired and receiving benefits)
    • Purchase or Refinance
    • Owner -occupied residences only
    • Anywhere in CA
    • NO first time buyer requirement
    • Types of Financing
      • FHS, VA, USDA and Conventional Loan Financing
      • 30 year fixed rate mortgages
    • Mortgage Loan Limit = $726,200
    • FICO Score minimum = 640
    • Debt-to-Income Ratios up to 50%
    • Income Limits
      • Conventional Loans – $182,880
      • FHA, VA = No income limit
      • USDA follows USDA guidelines
  • Terms
    • Primary DPA (down payment assistance)- 3.5%
      • Deferred for 30 years
      • 0% note rate
      • Repaid upon sale or at end of mortgage term
    • Additional DPA – up to 2%
      • In the form of a gift
      • Subject to market availability
      • Factored into the rate of the 1st mortgage loan
  • How to get started

Dam Maintenance, Releases and Cost Implications – Receive a presentation from Trinity PUD General Manager, Paul Hauser, regarding Historical Trinity River Flows and the Cost Implications.

  • The slide presentation included a lot of data/details that I am not including in these notes. I encourage you to watch the recording of the presentation if this if of interest to you.
  • He confirmed that we have NOT released water due to ongoing dam maintenance
    • There is a cap that can be placed on the top of the penstock so that maintenance can continue with water over the top
  • Historical Flows in the Trinity River
    • The amount of water authorized for release has increased dramatically over the years.
    • The amount of water released for restoration changes based on the “Water Year Type” – The water year type is determined in April.
    • The reservoir is at 915,000 acre feet now
    • Trinity River Power Generation
      • Trinity 360 kWh/acre-foot
        Carr 545
        Spring Creek 555
        Keswick 70
        Total 1170


  • PUD = has rights to 25% of total power generated
  • More water released for restoration = less power generation capacity/output
    • PUD generates power on 20% of water released for restoration… 100% for water released to the Sacramento Valley
  • PUD customers share in the cost of lost capacity/output
  • Other users (outside PUD) subsidize costs for PUD
    • Some concern that if the output levels reduce too much we will lose these other customers as they could choose another option that is less costly
    • Other users recently negotiated a 2 year cancellation option
  • Cost of lower power generation resulting from new release schedule this year
    • 5% of $28,293,525 =  $1,414,676 (PUD’s share)
    • Trinity PUD Annual Sales = $13,000,000
    • Reduced Generation Represents 10.9% of TPUD Sales
  • Non-PUD customers cover the cost of Restoration.  This cost to the customers is now greater than the actual cost of  power generation
  • Discussion regarding the impact of flows
  • There is a vehicle for providing input that could impact flows/timing of flows
    • CVP Board (the collective of power companies) approves projects and controls 90% of funds for TRRP
  • ROD (Record of Decision) does not take into consideration reservoir levels
    • BOR (Bureau of Reclamation) has discretion on releases
    • Trinity County Board could contact them regarding changes
  • Goal to manage the lake “more full”
    • A new study (last one 23 years ago) could support changes to the program
    • We almost reached “Deadpool” status last November
    • More water in the reservoir means more cold water to use for keeping river water temperatures in desired range
    • Trinity Reservoir will be the driest in the state… even after all this precipitation
      • No other reservoir has this level of mandates (for water releases) – regardless of reservoir levels
  • Releases beyond ROD authorized levels are opposed by PUD
  • Would like to see PUD/customers reimbursed for extra water released
  • We discussed the possibility of inviting BOR representatives to come speak to the board.

Proclamation – Adopt a proclamation recognizing the week of April 9-15, 2023 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

  • Under Sheriff Bryan Ward received the proclamation
  • The board approved this item


  • Mike Dixon (River Restoration) spoke about his willingness to present to the board
  • Adrien Keyes requested an agenda item – for a BOS letter of support for AB1111 – legislation that would allow for temporary retail sales of cannabis at events.  He offered to provide draft of the letter and back up material.
    • Cultivators being able to sell directly provides an opportunity to retain a larger portion of retail value
    • All supply chain requirements (testing, packaging, etc.) are still required
  • Marie Peterson requested agenda item to assign someone to sign off on fire plans for cannabis manufacturing projects.  Also raised concerns about variances being “put on hold” and this delaying approval of cultivation permits.  Suggested options for moving permits requiring variances forward.
  • Shared concerns regarding loss of Skylar Fisher
  • Dana Ryan raised concerns regarding waiver of CEQA for electronic vehicle stations, and mentioned other items of concern.
  • Comments shared regarding timber-related regulations. NTMP – 2,500 acres or less who are not engaged in forest products. Puts a lifetime management plan in place for the property.  Property owner can then harvest based on the approved plan.  Suggested a programmatic EIR that would support the NTMP program
  • Renie Ryan shared her plans to present to the board regarding beautification projects supported by the Garden Club
  • Comments shared regarding slide/road damage in Hyampom that has cutoff access to 7 residences since January.  Concerns raised that outreach to DOT is not generating action nor response.
    • Fire safety concerns as there is no other evacuation route at this time until the road is repaired.
  • Comments about the contributions of the Golden Age Center – shared examples of the work done by the all volunteer board and others.


Report from Department Heads

  • Ed Prestley | Interim Deputy Director of Planning
    • General Plan Currently in Phase IV
    • Will present an updated view of plan phases with timelines
    • Series of virtual community meetings in May to address boundaries, etc.
    • Staff to reach out to Supervisors for recommended locations for people to meet if they don’t have zoom access at home.
    • Draft Background Report is still available for review and comments
    • May 2nd – Focus Group for Vision aspect of the planning process.
    • Community Plans and General Plan Prep are ongoing
    • BOS approval of communities – additional information to be shared that either reflects decisions made about the additional 5 communities that will receive community plans, or presents the process that will be used to make that decision.
      • Note – follow up discussions clarified that upcoming community meetings will help consultants gather input needed to make recommendations to the board.
    • Supervisors were invited for rotating participation in the planning process (weekly meetings)
  • Drew Plebani | Cannabis
    • 161 Noticed in Paper
    • 100 Active as of last week

Report from County Administrative Officer

  • Completed work on Jail-related matters
  • Continuing work on the onboarding process for the new CAO
  • Strategic Plan work continues
  • Craig Goodman (consultant) was here working with team members on fee schedules and more
  • 29 open recruitments for 37 open positions

Report from Members of the Board of Supervisors

  • Ric Leutwyler
    • Liaison to Staff Committee – Cannabis Financials
    • This role ended with the last board meeting – the results of our efforts were presented to inform an important board decision.
    • Appeals Training – currently working on training required for this aspect of my role
    • CAO Onboarding Plan – collaborated with Interim CAO, Liz Hamilton to create a strong onboarding plan for our new CAO
    • Snow Maintenance for VFDs – happy to see this on our agenda today.
    • Frontier Communications – reached out to the CEO several times over the last two weeks due to ongoing problems.  Aware of escalation of issues to Senator McGuires office as well.
    • Sierra Nevada Conservancy 
      • I am the primary representative for Trinity County
      • Received onboarding information and learned that I will be in an advisory role (vs board role) this year.
    • California State Association of Counties (CSAC)
      • Legislative Conference on 4.12-13.23 | Sacramento
      • CSAC Board Meeting on 4.13.23 | Sacramento
  • Jill Cox
    • Met with Brenda Haines (Congressman LaMalfa’s representative)
      • Discussed need for support on measure to retain fire department’s ability to use fire retardant
      • Requested support for PILT (payments in lieu of taxes) funding support – goal is to recapture some of the revenues lost due to changes made in the past
        • 77% federally owned land – goal is for Fed Govt to pay it’s fair share of property taxes
    • Listed and described each Ad Hoc Committee – focus, participants, duration, etc.
  • Liam Gogan
    • Shared concerns regarding economic impact of new release schedule
    • Participated in TMC Meeting
      • Much more public participation than in the recent past
      • Established new document to guide TRRP efforts going forward
      • Decision on voting structure for TMC – remains the same
        • Any two dissenting votes will mean motions fail
    • Highlighted the opportunity for public input regarding the health of our river – see Trinity Journal
  • Heidi Carpenter-Harris
    • Participated with Supervisor Gogan in TMC meetings
    • Visited sites of storm-related road damage in Hyampom
      • Residents can’t get firewood and propane deliveries, etc.
    • Garret Road – ongoing concerns regarding the County’s responsibilities for maintenance of this road
    • Frontier Communications – recommended that County Counsel draft a letter to be sent to assist in gaining support and momentum –
      • Direction given to County Counsel for this to happen
    • Homeowners Insurance – ongoing concerns regarding the difficulty of maintaining homeowners insurance
      • Her own insurance went up to $10,000 this year
      • Received quotes for her property up to $30,000
      • Recommended BOS outreach to CA Insurance Commissioner regarding the problem and a potential solution.
        • Ad hoc committee established to work on this – Heidi Carpenter-Harris & Ric Leutwyler assigned
      • Dream Quest Youth… new community center
  • Dan Frasier
    • Missed a committee meeting due to power lines down in the road

Reports from Ad Hoc Committees:

  • Good Neighbor Authority
    • Work continues on this important initiative
    • Supplemental Project Agreement now under development
      • One SPA for 2023/2024 year
      • More SPAs can be created during the life of the agreement
  • Strategic Plan
    • Work continues with Interim CAO – Liz Hamilton, Chair Cox, and members of staff leadership who stepped up to complete the strategic planning process.
    • I recently reviewed our process and template with incoming CAO, Trent Tuthill.
    • The plan and process will be handed off to the new CAO during a meeting on April 28th.
  • Trinity County Water
    • Nothing to report beyond the TMC
    • Mentioned work related to Humboldt County’s claim to 50,000 acre feet
  • Cannabis Ordinance
    • Cannabis Ordinance Ad Hoc Committee
    • Assigned to this committee (along with Supervisor Frasier) to work with staff and consultants on updates to existing cannabis-related ordinances.
    • Work continues with two-hour weekly meetings.
    • Two public workshops are planned to present information regarding the proposed updates.  These will take place before this matter is brought before the board for consideration.
    • A new email address ( was established for gathering public input. emails are automatically routed to each member of the ad hoc committee.
    • Staff requested an increase in scope of the Ad Hoc so that additional subjects can be addressed during our meetings.
      • Chair Cox approved this expansion of scope
  • Economic Development
    • Ongoing work with individuals and organizations who may contribute to our efforts.
    • Excited about work being done (by private citizens) on a platform that could help us all easily access information about resources, initiatives, progress, etc.
    • April 6 – meeting with TOT-funded partners to discuss forward-looking approach


Several items were pulled for discussion (See below)

Support for Changes to Water Storage – Authorize Chairman to sign a letters of support regarding water storage and water temperature.

  • Fish & Game Commission and others have weighed in on this matter – with potential changes to the numbers included in this letter.
  • Supervisor Gogan requested that this be pulled for further review
  • The board approved removal of this item to be modified and brought back to the board for review

Opposition to Proposed Emergency Services Legislation – Authorize the Chairman to sign a letter supporting the opposition of AB1168- Emergency Medical services.

  • Chair Cox identified two words that needed to be added for completeness/accuracy.
  • Donna Stone provided background regarding this matter
    • Could negate a County’s statutory authority to control agreements with EMS providers
    • Does not provide sufficient accountability for levels of service
    • Concern that this could severely fragment EMS service delivery for residents
  • The board approved this matter (as corrected with Chair Cox’s input)

Additional Funds for the Court – Approve a budget adjustment for FY 22/23 for the Courts Department General – Dept. By $62,000 to cover increasing costs associated with non-discretionary matters.

  • The board approved this matter.

The board approved all other consent calendar items.  See the agenda for further details.

Garret Road Repairs – Discuss using approximately $40,000 in general fund during FY 22/23 to use in researching short term and long term options, potential grant funding, etc. related to repair of damage to Garrett Road and authorize the CAO and Auditor to sign the necessary budget adjustments to allocated contingency funds in the amount of $25,000 to Miscellaneous Public Works – Dept 3110.

  • Supervisor Carpenter-Harris introduced the item and called on DOT Director Kokkas to present findings
  • DOT Director Input
    • Title Search shows that the damaged portion of the road in question is not a county road
    • We do not have a legal easement recorded for the road on this property
    • We cannot be reimbursed for work done on roads for which we don’t have legal authority
    • We have maintained this road in the past because we assumed this was a county road
    • The “End of County Road” sign is beyond the portion of the road that is damaged
    • Normal DOT funds cannot be used for publicly maintained roads
  • County Counsel Input
    • Use of general funds for this would be considered a “gift of public funds”
    • The use of general funds for snow maintenance is covered by specific regulations that allow for use of general funds for this purpose
    • Shared concerns about liability for county work done on private property
    • Does not see legal liability resulting from the sign being in the wrong place
  • Public Comment
    • Comments shared that historically the County has determined it has prescriptive rights to roads for which they don’t have legal easements.
    • Portions of Old Lewiston Rd, East Weaver Creek Rd… examples of other roads that are being maintained by the county without having legal easements.
    • Comments regarding the importance of the services provided by the veterinary clinic that is accessed via this damaged road.  This was positioned as a “public benefit.”
    • Comment that sign was placed just past the last private driveway… so that all properties were served by the county road
    • “Prescription by implied dedication” term used to describe the county’s role
    • Three properties would not have legal access to their property if the county does not “own” this section of Garret Rd
    • Property owners have previously been told that they could not take actions around the road because it was a county road
    • Comments that there will be a huge public impact to cutting off access to the veterinary clinic
    • Comments that the road has been regularly maintained for 50 years… and shouldn’t be abandoned now
  • Board Discussion
    • Need more information before making a decision
    • Direction to staff
      • County Counsel to do further research to create a formal legal opinion regarding ownership of this road including gathering of historical information that would help shape that opinion.
      • County Counsel to prepare a “least risky” approach to solving this problem
      • All to be provided by June 20th
      • DOT to provide an updated view of project priorities at the May 2nd meeting.
    • David Colbeck – clarified the options presented to the board – authorizing additional funds for Public Works and the authorization to use funds to research this matter further
      • The natural resources of this area, wildfire protection, veterinary resources, etc… means that this has a Public Health & Safety impact
      • Comment that this has to fit within the priorities of the DOT
  • The board approved this item as amended to include staff direction noted above.

Changes to District Attorney Department Structure & Compensation – Motion to approve modifications that will reduce the number of authorized positions within the District Attorney’s office – allowing for approved funds to be allocated to increase compensation.

  • The department has struggled to hire/retain people at the previously established levels.
  • The board approved three items related to this matter.

Lorenz Road – Middle Weaver Creek Bridge – Adopt a resolution which adopts the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) determination of a Mitigated Negative Declaration, and the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the Lorenz Road- Over Middle Weaver Creek Bridge Replacement Project.

  • Public Comment
    • Comments about the importance of working with the park operators to mitigate issues that would impact scheduled events.
    • David Colbeck responded to these comments – noting that these issues/concerns were addressed in the documents put forward for approval.
  • The board approved this item.

Snow Maintenance for Volunteer Fire Departments – Adopt a resolution which approves Department of Transportation to plow the driveways of Trinity County Volunteer Fire Departments.

  • This solution is based on regulations that allow for a 4/5 vote to approve this work to be done with use of general funds.
  • In response to conflict of interest concerns raised, Supervisor Leutwyler recused himself due to potential conflict of interest as a member of the Lewiston Volunteer Fire Department and sponsor of this item.
  • With the recusal of Supervisor Leutwyler, votes in support of this matter would be needed from all remaining Supervisors to pass. Supervisor Gogan voted against this matter.
  • The board did not approve this item.


This closed session covered both litigation and personnel matters.

I hope these notes are helpful in your efforts to stay informed about county matters.  For a more comprehensive understanding of what took place…


Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement