April 18, 2023 — Tulare County Board of Supervisors

Documented by Dani Huerta

 Here’s what you need to know

  • Fire Chief Norman and representatives of county departments gave an update on response efforts regarding the March 2023 flood. Currently there are 200 personnel assigned to the incident throughout the state, about 20,200 acres have been damaged and 263 deputies have been deployed. 
  • Agricultural  Commissioner Tom Tucker explained fee changes for phytosanitary certificates (international plant inspection), apiary(beehive) inspections, farm labor contract and other goods and services. These are flat fees instead of total fees as surrounding counties use. 
  • Rob Stewart, Tulare County HHSA Director of Fiscal Operations, explained the various fee adjustments to the public guardian, mental health branch, public health lab, health care centers, public health immunizations, environmental health and animal services. Most fees were increased, although few were decreased and some deleted. An item regarding food trucks’ prepackaged food was removed from the delete list. It will be brought back next year with an updated description. 

Follow up Questions

  • Why are the fees proposed by the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer’s Office a flat fee when surrounding counties use a total fee?

Board of Supervisors

  • Larry Micari – vice chair, District One
  • Pete Vander Poel III, District Two
  • Amy Shuklian, District Three
  • Eddie Valero, District Four
  • Dennis Townsend – chair, District Five
  • Jason T. Britt, County Administrative Officer
  • Jennifer M. Flores, County Counsel
  • Melinda Benton, chief clerk

The Scene

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting was held simultaneously both in-person and streamed via YouTube at 9 a.m. on April 18, 2023. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and its first invocation since its approval. Invocation registration can be found here. Lance Aimsworth, associate pastor at GatewayVisalia church, gave the invocation.


  • Board of Supervisors matters
    • Vander Poel
      • Upcoming is the Tulare County Farm Bureau Leadership Night, a meeting with CalSta and CalTrans, Tulare High School Foundation dinner and the Salt & Light golf tournament.
    • Shuklian
      • Last week was the California Association of Counties legislative conference. 
      • Upcoming is the meeting with CalSta, an Air Board meeting, a visit to the Armenian genocide memorial and the San Joaquin policy conference. 
    • Valero
      • Last week was the Tulare County Office Education family engagement resource fair, Museum Jamboree, Alta District Spring celebration and the Woodlake research fair. 
      • Upcoming is the Kings Basin Water Authority Board of Directors meeting , Multi Agency Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council meeting, National Parks Service Mineral King Preservation Society meeting, Cutler-Orosi Lions Club award dinner, Central Valley College Corps joint service day, Regional Transportation Authority board meeting, a community resource fair and the San Joaquin policy conference. 
    • Micari
      • Last week was the California Association of Counties legislative conference, meeting with Brooke Sisk, the Museum Jamboree, he was a judge at the Visalia taco truck food challenge, attended a Tulare County Association of Governments meeting and visited the disaster recovery center.
    • Townsend
      • Last week was the California Association of Counties legislative conference, Step Up awards, Tulare County Association of Governments meeting, met with Brooke Sisk of Tulare County General Services Agency.
      • Upcoming is the HR & D Supervisor Academy awards, Porterville Breakfast Rotary Club dinner, Sierra View Medical Foundation Board meeting, Jackass mail run, no Tulare Board of Supervisors meeting next week, a Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) check in, and the Springville Sierra Rodeo.
  • Presented a proclamation recognizing Maria Elena Grijalva for being a National Kidney Foundation award honoree.
    • Vander Poel presented the proclamation. Grijalva is the volunteer coordinator for the Tulare Kings Kidney support group, and has revived the highest honor of the National Kidney Foundation. Brandon Herrman from Rep. David Valadao’s Office presented a congressional record that was presented to the House floor. Grijalva was thankful for her time and opportunity to help people. She encouraged people to check with their doctor about kidney health. 
  • Presented a proclamation recognizing April 24 as a Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
    • Supervisor Shuklian presented the proclamation to the Rev. Father Mastoch Koshishen, Myran Sheklian, Visalia Mayor Brian Poochigian and Visalia Unified School District Board President Walta Gamoian. Some Armenians fled to Tulare County and named their land Yettem, which is the only town in the country with an Armenian name.
  • Receive an update from Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman and county departments on the status and response efforts regarding the March 2023 flood.
    • There are currently personnel assigned to the incident throughout the state. The flood advisory will continue along the Kings River for the foreseeable future. A slight snowmelt runoff is expected from warm weekend temperatures. 
    • Chris Greer, assistant agriculture cultural commissioner, explained the agricultural impact. About 20,200 acres have been damaged to date. There was not a large mortality issue with livestock.
    • Tara Freitas, assessor clerk recorder, explained how the county Assessor’s Office is helping by partnering with the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office on upcoming workshops.
    • Anita Ortiz, associate director of the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, said they have collaborated with staffing the storm hotline, the American Red Cross and the United Way of Tulare County. The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is located at 907 W. Visalia Road in Farmersville 9 a.m. through 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
    • Albert Cendejas, Tulare County parks manager, described the damage done to the parks. About 75% of Bartlett Park has been damaged. Kings River Park has received preventive flood measures. 
    • Cher Castellini, purchasing division manager, has been working with CalFire and CalOES to supply food, hydration, sandbags and other supplies to help with incident support. 
    • Reed Schenke, Resource Management Agency director, said there are still several roads closed but less than there were at the peak of the incident. There is an estimated total of $38,100 in road repairs needed. 
    • Tulare County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Harold Liles said the department has deployed 263 deputies and has recorded 6,772 hours of overtime. There have been no injuries and no damage to equipment reported. Some 308 law enforcement officers have come from outside departments to help. About 9,163 people were affected by evacuations. 
  • (Approved) Public hearing: Request from the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer’s Office regarding the proposed fee changes. Approve the proposed fee schedule, effective July 1.
    • Agricultural Commissioner Tom Tucker gave the presentation. Fee changes are mostly the result of post-pandemic adjustments of goods, servies, salaries and benefits. Surrounding counties charged a total fee rather than a flat fee. Greer explained the phytosanitary (international plant inspection) certificate flat fee. 
    • The current fee for a regular phytosanitary certificate is $51 and $89 for high intensity. The proposed fees would be increased to $60 and $95 for the respective certificates. The proposed hourly miscellaneous fees are $55 each for other services, nursery (industrial hemp hourly charge), noncommercial devices and apiary (beehive) inspection (per hour). The proposed direct marketing fee is $55 for certified producer certificate and for “Market Cert.” 
    • Farm labor contract and pest control business fees are proposed at $38 each. The rodenticide bait sales proposed fee is $2.20/lb. for treated grain .01, $2/lb. for treated grain .005, $2.35/lb. for wax bait blocks .005, and $3.70/lb. for gas cartridges.
    • Postcards were mailed to inform people of the increased fees and the county received no comments. 
    • Approved
  • (Approved) Public hearing: Request from Tulare County Sheriff’s Office to approve a $61.69 increase in the daily jail rate from $62.04 to $124.00 to take effect July 1, 2023. Adopt the fee recommended and authorize the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office to implement the fees.
    • Alfredo Parra, fiscal manager for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, gave the presentation. The current rate does not generate any revenue but the proposed increase may generate revenue that will vary over time. 
    • A correction was made to the item. It should read as a $61.96 increase.
    • Public Comment
      • Rena Rodriguez said she wants to see a commitment to help current inmates who are “ready to turn their lives around.” She advocated for more funding for services that help recently released and current inmates.
        • Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Torrez said many of the inmate services were closed during the pandemic and they plan to continue them when restrictions are lifted. 
    • Staff clarified that this rate increase does not apply to inmates of Tulare County. It is for inmates coming from other counties or other detention facilities. 
    • Approved
  • (Approved) Public hearing: Request from HHSA regarding proposed fee adjustments for the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency: Public Guardian, Mental Health, Health Operations, Environmental Health and Animal Services Divisions for fiscal year 2023/2024. Adopt the fees recommended to cover costs. Authorize the Tulare County HHSA to implement the fees beginning July 1, 2023.
    • Rob Stewart, Tulare County HHSA director of fiscal operations, explained the fee adjustment. The fee adjustment affects the public guardian, mental health branch, public health lab, health care centers, public health immunizations, environmental health and animal services. 
    • The public guardian representative payee requested fee is $52. The mental health branch IMD (Institution for Mental Disease) monthly client fee for those with SSI benefits is $965; and $985 for those with SSI/SSP benefits. 
    • Public health lab adjustments
      • $53 for detection test by nucleic acid for neisseria gonorrhoeae
      • $53 for detection test by nucleic acid for chlamydia trachomatis, amplified probe
      • $93 for tuberculosis test, gamma interferon
      • $20 for analysis for antibody to HIV-2 virus
      • $36 for detection test by immunoassay technique for HIV-1 antigen and HIV-1 and HIV-2
      • $7 for syphilis test, non treponemal antibody, quantitative. This fee is a decrease from the current amount.
    • Health care centers are proposing 24 fee adjustments, two fee description adjustments and 29 new fees. 
    • The public health immunization requested fees are $338 for Japanese encephalitis, $409 for rabies (pre-exposure) and $82 for Typhim VI.
    • The environmental health division proposed 17 fee deletions,10 new fees and eight fee adjustments. 
    • Animal Services proposes five new fees that are for services associated with the new spay and neuter clinic. The fees are $50 for basic radiograph, $135 radiology consult, $100 ultrasound, $190 ultrasound consult and $70 cherry eye repair (per eye). 
    • An item regarding food trucks prepackaged food was removed from the delete list. It will be brought back next year with an updated description. 
    • Approved
  • Public hearing postponed to a later date: Request from the Solid Waste Department to approve the franchise hauler’s maximum collection and ancillary rates for Service Areas A, B, C, D, E, G, H and J.
  • (Approved) Consent Calendar (Items 10-35)
    • Some of the approved items included the approval of the acceptance of funds from the California Department of Public Health, Tuberculosis control branch, to support tuberculosis prevention and control (item 21), a budget adjustment for the Department of Conservation, Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Grant Program (item 29) and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tulare County Agencies Regional Gun Violence Enforcement Team for a multi-agency task force for gun violence suppression (item 33).
    • Approved
  • (Approved) Request from the County Administrative Office to approve the Post-Retirement Employment of Fiscal Manager Angela Rose as an extra-help fiscal manager for the Tulare County Regional Transportation Agency, effective April 23. Waive the 180-day waiting period to return to work for the position.
    • Jason Britt, County Administrative Officer, explained that Rose would return from retirement while the department looks for a replacement fiscal manager.
  • (Approved) Request from the Human Resources and Development Department to approve the annual salary for the position of law library director in the amount of $75,000, as approved by the Board of Law Library Trustees, with the same standard benefits provided to Bargaining Unit 10 employees, effective April 23. Authorize the necessary budget adjustments.
    • Lupe Garza, human resources director said the position overlaps with the current law library director. 
  • Received the Library Advisory Board’s annual report. Recognized April 23-29 as National Library Week in Tulare County.
    • Darla Wegener, county librarian, and Teresa Saucedo, Library Advisory Board chair, and other members of the board gave the report,  updating the donation policy and meeting hours. There are 42 full-time staff, five book-lending machines and one book mobile. Last year locations were reopened, they continued offering meals at summer meal sites, launched 1,000 books before kindergarten and began Springville and Dinuba construction projects. There are over 30,000 registered borrowers. They have an online resource that gives access to ebooks and databases. For the future, they will be working on the Dinuba and Springville construction, bookmobile outreach expansion and operate with new branch hours. National Library Week is next week. 
    • Saucedo gave a short quiz to the Board about the Library Advisory Board.
  • (Approved) Received a presentation from the General Services Agency on the debris-removal bid results. Approved a contract with the lowest responsive and responsible bidder for debris removal. Authorize staff to issue the notice to proceed immediately.
    • Mike Washam, Resource Management Agency associate director, gave the presentation. Bids were due and opened April 17. Bids were received from Anvil Builders, J. A. Bamford, DRC Pacific and Ceres Environmental. Lowest bidder was Ceres Environmental at $528,250. Curbside pickups will start in Cutler.
    • Micari wanted to make sure that debris is picked up even if it is somewhat on private property. Washam said it is fine if it is a few feet on private property. Micari was also concerned about the low bid of the lowest bidder. Washam said they have looked into Ceres Environmental and said they are appropriate. 
    • Washam clarified that this is not a private property removal cleanup. Valero asked for street sweepers to be prioritized for residents affected by mud. Washam said street sweepers are included in this agreement.
  • There were no board matter requests

Public Comment

  • A member of the public who did not say his name, said he hopes someone who works at FEMA speaks Spanish. He also said he hopes funds go toward broadband for rural areas such as Allensworth and Three Rivers.
    • Supervisor Valero said three out of the four FEMA representatives spoke Spanish when he went to the FEMA outreach in Woodlake.
  • Mary Suppada thanked everyone for their help with the flood incident.

There is no meeting next week.

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