June 13, 2023 — Madera County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Matthew Carnero-Macias
Here’s what you need to know
- The board reaffirmed resolutions declaring five local emergencies: the closure of Madera Community Hospital, Fork Fire, tree mortality disaster, severe drought conditions, and February and March winter storms.
- The Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Chowchilla Subbasin is being amended and prepared for resubmittal to the Department of Water Resources.
- Madera County budget hearings are ongoing.
- What are the immediate impacts of the Local Emergency of Tree Mortality Disaster and what are state and federal agencies doing to restore the environment?
- How are the Supervisors going to provide a solution to healthcare needs in the county with the closure of Madera Community Hospital?
- What is the extent of drug-related criminal activity in the Sierra and Inyo National Forests and how are Madera County residents being informed of the county’s approach to the problem?
To open the regular meeting, District #3 Supervisor Robert L. Poythress reminded all in attendance of the celebration of Flag Day, observed Wednesday, June 14.
During the public comment period, Madera Ag Water Association (MAWA) board member Mike DeLaGuerra addressed implementation issues regarding SGMA, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. SGMA was passed in California in 2014.
DeLaGuerra said a letter was sent to the board of supervisors back in May expressing concerns about SGMA implementation issues.
“Our letter raises several issues that we believe are important to the effective implementation of SGMA in Madera County,” DeLaGuerra said. “We all know how difficult it is to implement SGMA, especially when we have droughts and floods.”
Succeeding DeLaGuerra was U.S. Representative John Duarte Field Representative Joshua Babcock. He shared notable legislation Duarte’s office sponsors. The Water Infrastructure Modernization Act and the Supply Chain Improvement Act are the two bills he brought forth.
“We would love to bring some of those items for our consideration as far as support,” said Chairman and District #1 Supervisor David Rogers.
Roman Noriega, Madera County human resources director, informed the board the employee satisfaction survey is returning. The survey aims to improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and performance and to promote wellness to enhance employee health.
The last attendee to comment was a Madera resident residing in District #2. He claimed the county is failing to address infrastructure challenges in his part of the district. Specifically, the Madera section of District #2 Road 23.
The board unanimously approved the sixteen items in the consent calendar. Consent calendar items are considered routine and may be enacted by one motion.
The board presented a public hearing for the Chowchilla Subbasin second amended Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).
Amending the Chowchilla GSP would enact a resolution to revise the current GSP and requires another submittal to the California Department of Water Resources.
The second part of the revised GSP requires the board to enter into an amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a domestic well mitigation program for the Chowchilla Subbasin of the San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Basin.
The amendment would revise and make eligible the “Domestic Well” term to include private domestic wells and shallow wells that supply drinking water users whose primary purpose is serving drinking water needs.
Stephanie Anagnoson, Madera County’s director of water and natural resources testified before the board.
“The hope is that we get the plan submitted to the state board and avoid a probationary hearing,” Anagnoson said. “At a certain point this changes from a technical discussion to a political discussion.”
To conclude the meeting, Chairman Rogers announced budget hearings are ongoing. The other supervisors had no reports to bring forth.
During the closed session, the board met with legal counsel to discuss two separate litigation items regarding the Madera Community Hospital bankruptcy case and the guardianship of a minor. The board also discussed labor negotiations with human resources and administrative personnel regarding all county employees except elected officials.
Karen Scrivner, the board of supervisors chief clerk, reported no action was taken in the closed session.
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