July 11, 2023 — Madera County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Matthew Carnero-Macias
Here’s what you need to know
- The theme of the meeting was health services and community infrastructure.
- All of the consent calendar items were approved.
- The Landflex application period closed on May 2. How will the local farming workforce be impacted? Are these farmhands – most of whom are immigrants or come from vulnerable and underserved backgrounds – going to be left without jobs for the season? What is the rationale behind paying farmers not to farm, where jobs become scarce or nonexistent, in an agricultural heartland like the San Joaquin Valley?
- Has the Avenue 25 Bridge Replacement Project Environmental Impact Assessment been performed? If so, is it accessible to the nearby residents of the bridge at the Ash Slough and the public at-large?
- During several past meetings, the Madera County Board of Supervisors has reaffirmed that multiple local emergencies persist, yet few reports have been made to the public during the supervisors’ meetings. How and when will the reports be presented? What is the public’s response to the local emergencies? Are residents still concerned and how are they impacted?
Four of the five Madera County Board of Supervisors were present for the regular meeting on July 11, 2023, which included District 1 Supervisor Jordan Wamhoff, District 2 Supervisor David Rogers, District 4 Supervisor Leticia Gonzalez and District 5 Robert Macaulay.
Before the regular meeting, the board went into closed session for items related to labor negotiations and existing litigation pertaining to the Madera Community Hospital bankruptcy case.
County counsel reported no action took place during closed session.
To open the public comment portion of the meeting, members from the Treasurer-Tax Collection Office provided updates on secured property tax bills and property tax assistance.
Also present were Madera County In-Home Supportive Services providers, who addressed the board regarding their unique experiences working with Madera County residents facing challenges as a result of age, blindness or other disabilities. IHSS District 4 providers reaffirmed their commitment to contributing to and supporting their fellow residents.
Discussion items reviewed by the board included a Housing Assistance and Prevention Program Round 3 Grant (HHAP-3) that would enable the board to enter into an agreement with the Community Action Partnership of Madera County for Community and Housing Outreach Services. The board unanimously approved the agreement.
The board discussed the American Rescue Plan Act Committee (ARPA).
County Counsel Regina Garza introduced a recommendation to reaffirm the appointment and composition of the ARPA Committee; the board unanimously approved the appointment and composition.
At 10:30 a.m. the board held a public hearing on a single item: adopting a resolution approving a collection of records fees related to the Assessor’s Office Property Characteristic Data File.
During the hearing, County Assessor Brett Frazier said “I just want to apologize to the board as well as to the public for any confusion the property characteristic made,” he said. “I want to reiterate that this fee is for our property characteristic data file.”
He added that raising the existing fee of $250 will ultimately provide a more accurate property assessment, and benefit property owners and the county as a whole; the proposed fee is set at $1,250, with an increase of $250.00 for the next five years.
Purchasers of the data are mostly businesses. Frazier clarified that Madera County residents may obtain property characteristic data files for free since it is public information.
The Board moved to unanimously approve the resolution.
- Projects underway in Madera County include Avenue 25 Bridge Replacement Project, Eastman Lake Fishery Habitat Enhancement and a Park and Ride lot in Oakhurst.
- Special meeting minutes for June 12 and regular meeting minutes for June 13 and June 20 were unanimously approved.
- “We highly recommend everyone who is having trouble paying their property taxes or defaulted on their mortgage contact the state of California to apply for the program [CalHFA]. It is free for them to apply. There is no fee, and they will cover up to $80,000 in deferred payments, defaulted mortgages and defaulted taxes,” said Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector Jacqueline Torres. “So from this program alone, Madera County did receive 40 tax payments for just over $200,000 that helped Madera County residents get caught up.”
- “Just an editorial: Because they are considered routine does not mean that your Board of Supervisors and staff have not thoroughly reviewed what’s on the consent calendar,” said Board Chair and District 2 Supervisor David Rogers.
- “I also wanted to call to the board’s attention that Yosemite National Park is working through a reservation system they’re looking to implement here in the coming years, and so they opened a public comment period last Thursday,” said District 5 Supervisor Robert Macaulay.
- “I wanted to announce that tomorrow and Thursday we will have the first of many scoping groups; our office is working on establishing a Women’s Commission in Madera County,” said District 4 Supervisor Leticia Gonzalez. “We have talked to the state and to several folks throughout the state of California to see what works for them. We want something that works for Madera County.”
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