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Calaveras RIM Fees Again On Supervisors’ Table

Calaveras County supervisors will once again consider Road Impact Mitigation fees when they meet at 10 a.m. today.

On Dec. 15, Supervisor Lucy Thein changed her vote and decided not to adopt a Road Impact Mitigation, or RIM, fee program that didn´t include fees on new commercial developments. The adoption failed on a 3-2 vote with Thein and Supervisors Merita Callaway and Victoria Erickson in opposition.

Supervisors had initially passed the ordinance Dec. 1 on a 3-2 vote with Erickson and Callaway opposed. Formal adoption was to take place Dec. 8 but was postponed one week due to Thein´s absence. “We should have included commercial,” Thein said.

The program to be considered Monday includes fees on commercial projects, which vary according to land use. Commercial development is expected to add $7.4 million to the program by 2025. The program´s road projects, improvements to existing roads, would cost $156.5 million by then.

Residential and commercial fees combined would contribute $37.77 million to the program. The $118.73 million balance would come from a district gasoline, sales, parcel, or transient occupancy tax, if approved by voters.

In the proposal, schools, churches, libraries and medical facilities would still be exempt.

Supervisors might also appoint a new county counsel Monday. In closed session the board will select from two candidates to fill the position left vacant by the retirement of Skip Batchelder.

Supervisors have been holding off on the appointment because they´re reluctant to move forward without Supervisor Lucy Thein, Tom Mitchell, county administrative officer said. Thein is expected to return Monday.

Supervisors Monday also will consider whether to give Sheriff Dennis Downum medical, dental and vision benefits as part of his one-year leave of absence to train Iraqi police officers. The Iraqi mission, under a contract with the U.S. State Department, does not include benefits.

The board approved Downum´s leave in December along with his continuation in the state´s retirement program and $100 a month to cover telephone and e-mail communication costs on local issues.

Downum will receive a pay rate between $78,000 and $150,000 from the federal Department of State Advisory Service Mission for Iraq.

Supervisors also will adjourn and reconvene as the Calaveras County Air Pollution Control Board to consider sending a letter to the California Air Resources Board requesting Calaveras County be a separate designation from the San Joaquin Valley as proposed in a recent recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In implementing new ozone standards, the EPA said the mountain counties (Nevada, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa) are a part of the San Joaquin Valley´s airshed. “A regional approach therefore appears to be best suited to addressing the air quality of both,” it said.

The state has until Feb. 6 to provide more information or evidence before the EPA´s final decision on April 15.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Vanessa Turner. For more Calaveras news, click: calaverasenterprise.com