District 5 Rickman

Candidate Response: District 5 Supervisor; Karen Rickman, Candidate

Candidate Karen Rickman chose to have an interview with the Prospect on March 11, 2010, during which the candidate questions were discussed.

1.  Please explain your position on private property rights.

1.  Please explain your position on private property rights.

"I support private property rights."

2.  What would you have done/how would you have voted on the Loyalton pool.

"I talked to many people… most people are in favor of a pool, but not a new property tax. They would like any facility to be "stand alone" and support itself."

3.   One of particular interest to the District 5 supervisor is the water system at Sierra Brooks. The water supply is not sufficient for current use patterns.
What would be your solution to the SB water problem? How would you fund it?

"The current water system deficiencies are addressed in the March 2007 engineering report. The improvements… at a cost of $2,434,900. The USDA Rural Development Agency has already been contacted and has committed $500,000 and a load for the balance for construction; the loan is 40 years at 2.75%. The water fees are estimated to increase by $20-25.00 a month. This has been a project that Supervisor Whitley has worked on this project, and there is every possibility that the Sierra Brooks water system concerns will be resolved prior to her term ending. So, I believe everything is in place right now to resolve the Sierra Brooks water system concerns."

B. The Loyalton Landfill site is one of the few such sites remaining in California. The June, 2009 solid waste study indicated several key issues including:
  1. the need to meet AB 939 solid waste diversion goals immediately
  2. a budget shortfall of $12,000
  3. the closure of the landfill site in eight years
  4. the likely closure of transfer stations and shift to mandatory pickup.
If elected, how would you propose to deal with the pending solid waste crisis?

 "I actually don’t believe there is a crisis with Sierra County solid waste. The 2009-2010 budget as is posted on the county website shows there is no shortfall. The revenue and expenses that are currently projected, are projected to balance. After doing a little research, it’s possible the solid waste fund this year is going to have an ending sum balance as opposed to a shortfall. As for AB 939, it’s requiring 50% diversion and that’s recycling efforts, and Sierra County is reviewed annually, and receives a good faith effort, but, still falls under the 50% threshold, and my research shows that the county’s reaching about 25% diversion. The landfill is projected to close within about seven years… there are several options being recommended to the Board of Supervisors to resolve the landfill concerns and the draft solid waste study is available. According to the study the options will resolve the solid waste concerns. That’s why I feel it’s not a crisis, it is a situation that is on going…"

C. The economic depression, resulting falling timber revenues, and the crisis at the state has forced difficult decisions on the supervisors. A large budget item is personnel. All employers have to balance the need for qualified employees with the need to pay as little as is feasible. What suggestions do you have for meeting that balance with County employees?

"I think it is really important for everyone to remember that there are certain… mandated positions that the counties have to have. Small counties have the same recruiting requirements as large counties. Small counties have to follow the same laws, the same regulations as large counties. In recognizing that fact it’s important to pay all employees, whether in government or not, in accordance with parity studies that determine the value of said position."

D. The supervisors have to travel a great deal, and most often they do so out of pocket. The travel is to take part in groups that support rural counties, like RCRC, biomass groups, QLG and so on. Those networks give Sierra County clout greater than its small size. The supervisors approved a salary increase some time ago but it has never been collected. Would you be able to travel to county membership groups?

"Yes, I would be able to travel, and in attending several recent Board of Supervisors meetings… it really has come to light that the travel the… supervisors that do travel to regional and state meetings has been very beneficial to the county. I would be able to travel to county membership groups."

E.  One of the most important, and riskiest, roles the Board of Supervisors has is as mediator in land use decisions. The supervisors balance the needs of residents and communities with the environment and state and federal requirements. What philosophy would you use to guide your land use goals?

"My philosophy is to follow the guidelines of the current general plan, and if there are issues that come up through the planning commission… that can not be resolved through the general plan and the board of supervisors, there’s process of working together with the public using the established process to either amend the general plan or make the land use decisions based on that process, involving the public."

F. The state and federal governments both have bills moving forward that would impact surface water rights and users. What ideas do you have to protect the few remaining "county of origin" rights?

"I think as a candidate for supervisor all I can address… is what I know of involvement of the board currently on different water agencies, and there are several (listed). I think involvement and membership on these agencies helps Sierra County’s position. We have origin of water rights with the Truckee River, Yuba River and Truckee River, and I think involvement with all these water agency groups is how we’re going to protect our rights."

G. What do you see as the county’s best resource, and how should the county develop that resource?

"I believe the county’s most important and best resource is the people. People who live, work, raise their children in our community, it’s their ideas and motivation that makes Sierra County the best place to live, and work."

Finally, what experience do you have that makes you the best candidate for this office?

"I believe my experience as 13 years as a business manager for a public agency, I’ve lived in Sierra county 18 years, so I know the community. I’m familiar with governmental accounting and I understand the importance of communicating the financial information to the citizens of Sierra County. If I am elected I’ll be able to make the financial information more transparent. "

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