May 2011 - Sierra Scoop Column

Over the past 4 months, I have written about some the County’s issues, including an increased budget, a dwindling reserve, the Solid Waste Program’s $80,000/month loss and salaries and benefits.

This month, I was asked to do a quick update. Nothing new came out of the mid-year budget discussion a few weeks ago. Even though I was hoping that someone would stand up and say “I can cut here to help save the County”, no one unfortunately did!

The Solid Waste Fund continues to bleed $80,000/month with no sense of any urgency to correct the problem. Supervisor Johnson keeps reminding the Board that we are losing ~$3000/day each day we wait to fix this problem. After attending many of the Task Force meetings on this topic, it appears to me that no one is really willing to make the hard choices. Such as – reducing the number of days at the transfer stations, increasing fees and cutting overhead costs. 

Negotiations are still going on dealing with the Union, At-Will and others. Did you know the Supervisors voted to give themselves a pay raise some time ago? Yes, they can give themselves a pay raise! I have been a firm believer that those at the top must set an example. So I challenge the Board to give up 10% of their pay and set an example for the rest of the County. Just as Supervisor Johnson did when he voluntarily gave up a part of his car allowance!

In today’s tough economic times, there are hard choices to be made. Not everyone is going to be happy, but the point is that “Something has to give”. If we do not make the tough choices now, then it will only be that much tougher in the future when it all comes falling down!

Wake up America! Apathy will get you nowhere! Read the agendas (available on Friday before the Tuesday meeting) which are available at

Contact your Supervisor at let them know how you feel about these and other issues. Here are their email addresses - District 1, Larry Johnson, District 2, Hap Hazard,, District 3, Vikki Bauer,, District 4, Tim Hansen,, District 5, Bing Hunt,

I’ll end this column with a quote from Chairman (Supervisor) Hazard’s March 8th statement, “Uncle Mono is broke!”

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