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Colusa County supervisors ready for a new term
A board that stood together during the spring campaign was seated together on Tuesday.
Supervisors Gary Evans, Tom Indrieri and Mark Marshall took their oaths of office after being re-elected in the June primary.
Denise Carter was handed the gavel as the new chairwoman, replacing Evans, and Indrieri was selected as vice chairman.
It was then quickly back to business as usual for a group that told the voters in unity that they had done a worthy job the previous four years and deserved another four years to continue the business of the county.
"The way I feel about it, we have served the citizens well and you should not be ashamed to stand up and say we work well as a team," said Marshall, the senior member of the board and starting his fourth term.
For the returning members, 2013 fixes their gaze south to Sacramento.
Each agreed the uncertainty of what could, or may not come from the state in terms of funding and lost revenues will be the biggest challenge for the county.
"To me, the number one issue facing the county is trying to figure out what the state is going to do: The bouncing ball that keeps changing," said Indrieri, who is beginning his second term after he defeated Colusa Mayor Tom Reische and former county Behavioral Health Director Curtis Boewer for the District 2 seat in June.
Indrieri said he is particularly concerned what impacts might come from the prison realignment policy, as well as what demands will be made on the county general fund for what are designed to be state-funded health services.
"The numbers change so often ... It is really disheartening," Indrieri said. "It gives me a headache just thinking about it."
For Marshall, who defeated Williams Councilwoman Angela Plachek-Fulcher in the District 3 race, the issue is jobs.
And while ag-based jobs such as the projected 50 new year-round jobs at the expanding Premier Mushroom plant remain critical, Marshall said the county needs to diversify its economic base because ag does not support as many jobs, or year-round jobs, as it used to produce.
"I'm looking forward to more development of our job market, and we are working on a couple of projects," Marshall said without elaborating.
He eyes his own district, and the eventual development of the Vann business park along Interstate 5 and Highway 20 in east Williams, as a critical part of that evolution.
Marshall also said he was humbled by the support of the voters, and marks the new term as the continuation of more than 40 years of public service beginning with his military service in 1968.
Evans, starting his third term after edging Maxwell fire Lt. Kenneth Cohen in District 4, repeated a common refrain that the biggest issue facing the county will be water: Both flood management and protecting origin rights.
"Obviously, we are going to have water issues," said Evans, "flood control issues."
However, he said he is also concerned about what he believes is a threat to the public's right to use the national forests.
Specifically, Evans thinks the federal government is using the Mill Fire that scorched 29,500 acres in July as an excuse for "impeding the rights" of citizens to use the Mendocino National Forest where most of the fire burned.
While the restrictions are in the actual fire area, Evans believes those go too far, even to the point of making it difficult on area residents when weather closes roads that are open.
He sees it as a slippery slope issue, and thinks establishing such rules will make it easier to reduce other uses — including timber rights — in the future.
Evans is in the timber industry.
Indrieri agreed that flood management will be a critical issue in 2013.
"It will be a year of water," he said.
Exactly what will come out of the California Flood Management Plan, the first comprehensive effort to address flood protection statewide, is still uncertain.
Although some protective concessions were won during the construction phase of the plan, county officials remain cautious that the smaller, less populated areas will be sacrificed in favor of urban centers.
The fifth member of the board is Kim Dolbow Vann, who lost a bid for a Congressional seat to Rep. John Garamendi.