It is once again time for Plumas County to begin the budget process. And lately, it seems that many of us are once again experiencing the “Irrational Exuberance” of a number of years ago. I hear that the economy has recovered from the recent recession. I just don’t see it! True, a number of urban centers (the Bay Area for example) are experiencing a robust economy; however, we are living in a rural economy and are experiencing similar results of others with our demographics.

These past few months I have been tracking County revenue streams and they are not indicating much improvement. As a matter of fact, in some areas, the revenues are less than last year.

To begin the budget process, the Board of Supervisors requested our County departments submit status quo budgets. In most cases, that did not happen. When looking at projected revenues versus “requested” budgets, we came up with a projected shortfall in the general fund budget of more than 3 million dollars ($3,000,000). Folks we cannot spend what we don’t have!

In the next few months the Board will be meeting with each department, working through their requested budgets, line item by line item. I am certain those budgets include items that we can eliminate, and must. However, I seriously doubt we will find $3 million worth of fluff. We will have to face the fact that cuts will have to be made. In some cases this may result in reorganization of some of our departments and a reduction in the level of service we would like to provide in a perfect world. Sadly, this is not a “perfect world” in terms of revenue.

Plumas County Sales Tax Comparison 2005-2014
Plumas County Sales Tax Comparison 2005-2014

Sales tax figures are a good indicator of what is happening in our economy, its health. Take a look at the historical figures on this graph. I have included all years going back to when the economy was considered to be booming – 2005 forward. Even when removing the highest and lowest years, the trend line is still going down. Many persist in believing those years preceding the subprime collapse will return, that this recession is of a historical nature. Clearly, it is not and we must adjust to what is.

I see our current situation not as a disaster, but rather an opportunity to streamline County government. As the Board goes through this process, I will keep you posted on our progress.

Please check back for updates; be informed.


For a number of years the Water Quality Subcommittee of the Lake Almanor Watershed Group (LAWG), formerly known as the Almanor Basin Watershed Advisory Committee (ABWAC), has contracted for water quality testing at Lake Almanor. These efforts have been funded by contributions from our local homeowner associations and concerned residents. Recently we were successful in recruiting Scott McReynolds of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to conduct this testing at no cost to our local community. The program has been significantly expanded, including a monitoring broad array of elements.

The DWR folks identified a need for water temperature data to correlate with the other data they will be gathering. This required a buoy to be placed in a deep water area of the lake. I am pleased to announce that the buoy is in place and ready to provide the location for DWR’S temperature monitoring “logger” string.

I have to say the buoy placement was a huge cooperative effort and I want to acknowledge those who played such a valuable part in it becoming a reality. First and foremost, the cooperation we received from PG&E was phenomenal. Joe Wilson & Scott Perkins managed to grant permission for placement and produced a permit in record time. The Plumas County Sheriff and his boat patrolman Rich Ross provided the means to locate the perfect spot via their boat, outfitted with depth & GPS gear. Aaron Seandal, Chair of the Water Quality Subcommittee, submitted the required permit information back to PG&E so that we could move forward with placement. Doug Maxfield of Big Valley Divers, Inc. made time in his busy schedule to acquire the buoy & related rigging, deploying it in position so that we could start accumulating the necessary data in conjunction with our other monitoring protocol. And, last but certainly not least, a huge THANK YOU goes to Jeff Greening who spearheaded and coordinated the entire effort!

Lake Almanor Projected Water Levels 2014
Lake Almanor Projected Water Levels 2014

It is great to see such a spirit of cooperation. As our lake levels rise and fall throughout the year (see the 2014 Projected Water Levels graphic), this information will give us a much clearer picture of water quality and temperature and how it impacts Lake Almanor. As Gary Freeman’s climatology data indicates, the character of the Almanor Basin and Feather River Watershed is changing. All of us, the residents of the Almanor Basin and PG&E, will benefit from this effort for many years to come. THANK YOU to everyone who made this possible!