County may buy phones, vehicles

By Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate April 10, 2013 05:43 pm

Del Norte County supervisors today will consider using money received from the acquisitions of the Mill Creek and Goose Creek additions to fund an internal loan program, purchase new sheriff’s vehicles and install a new phone system.

Several years ago the county received $5 million when the Save the Redwoods League bought 25,000 acres of land in the Mill Creek Watershed belonging to Stimson Lumber Company, County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina said. That land became part of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. 

The county received another $500,000 when the Smith River Alliance purchased private land in the Goose Creek Watershed and added it to the Smith River National Recreation Area, Sarina said.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will discuss transferring $500,000 from those funds to its internal loan program. Supervisors will also vote on a loan request of $131,808.70 to purchase three patrol vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office, Sarina said.

The staff is also requesting an internal loan of $173,150.87 to cover a purchase agreement with Frontier Communications of America to initiate the second phase of a project to update the phone system at the Flynn Administrative Center and other county offices.

“We have an old system that needs to be replaced,” Sarina said. “You would think phones would be cheap, but there are so many phones we’ve got to buy. (The system) is expected to have a life of at least 15 years.”

The Stimson fund was created to offset the property tax revenue the county lost when both properties were incorporated into public land, Sarina said. Instead of using the fund for a one-time appropriation, supervisors established the internal loan program so the fund would offset the loss of future property taxes, he said. 

Money from the Stimson fund can be used for public safety and other departments paid for by the county’s general fund, Sarina said.

“The fund will maintain itself in the future,” he said. “We’re helping departments not spend as much in interest to an outside source, but also generating more money for the Stimson fund.” 

The request to purchase a new phone system will expand the system at the Flynn Center from 110 phones to 398 phones, which will cover all county departments except the Sheriff’s Office, according to the staff report. 

Before updating the phone system, the county had paid $2,900 a month for service at the Flynn Center, according to the staff report. The staff expects the new system to save the county about $600 per month.

The Sheriff’s Office has a rolling fleet, replacing vehicles every three to four years, Sarina said.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 10 a.m. today at the Flynn Administrative Center, 981 H St., in Crescent City. Agendas and staff reports can be found at www.co.del-norte.ca.us. Meetings are streamed live at media.co.del-norte.ca.us.

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