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County Concerned About Prevailing Wage

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Supervisors are asking Governor Jerry Brown to veto a bill that would make renewable energy projects subject to prevailing wage.

SB136 was approved by the legislature and is on the way to the Governor’s desk. It expands the definition of “public works” to include renewable energy projects. Workers would be required to receive a prevailing wage that is set by higher income areas like the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

A memo from County Administrator Craig Pedro states, “Local governments across the state are conducting energy audits, attempting to identify cost-saving and greenhouse gas reduction measures in their respective jurisdictions. By opening up these types of activities to prevailing wage requirements, many of the cost savings generated by these programs could be consumed by these new requirements.”

Tuolumne County has been entertaining the idea of leasing the former Jamestown Landfill property to a private group hoping to generate solar energy. In addition, the county is evaluating energy cost savings projects in conjunction with the Tuolumne Public Power Agency. Pedro adds, “SB 136 would jeopardize these ‘green’ projects and the jobs they might generate by unnecessarily increasing the cost of these measures.”

The California State Association of Counties and the Regional Council of Rural Counties have also voiced opposition to the bill.