Meeting Time: November 08, 2022 at 9:00am PST

Agenda Item

3.06 Contract Amendment with Bamford Inc. for Abatement Services

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    John Stonebraker 21 days ago

    This item should not be on the consent agenda.

    On January 26, 2021, the board majority voting to approve the sloppy 38A amendments as presented said "it's not like we're carving it in stone" and "we're gonna look at it in a year." That must not have been clear direction to staff, because Chapter 38A itself has not been back on the agenda and its careless language remains law.

    Page 19 of the contract includes a table of 38A-6 obligations. Section (a)(7) does literally require Vegetation within 10 feet of a street or driveway to be cut to 4 inches or shorter. Not simply Hazardous Vegetation as defined in 38-A4(k). It was presumed that Butte Fire and Development Services staff would exercise discretion and not enforce this provision as written, but that unfortunate language is baked into this contract.

    Note also the hourly rates this contractor is charging compared to the hourly rates on page 19 of the 3.07 contract. Does the county wish to pay these rates to remove the dead trees from the right-of-way in front of my property within 100' of my neighbor's house? Or does the county simply wish to charge these rates for vegetation removal on my side of the line while leaving its own embankment untouched? Treating 1000 miles of right-of-way to the legislated standard would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Similarly, the cost 38A imposes on unincorporated property owners greatly exceeds its benefit. Proactive enforcement for this specific code violation but not others means a taxpayer could be taken to a hearing for not sufficiently protecting a neighbor's unsafe, unpermitted structure. Even if both neighbors would rather live and let live, 38A forces one of them to pay likely thousands of dollars for either demolition or vegetation removal and haulage -- because we still have no biomass plant nearby to defray that cost.

    The practical effect in burned areas is an upward wealth transfer where the benefit accrues to those able to afford expensive new homes and the cost befalls those who cannot. That is an injustice, and this contract enshrines that injustice. Chapter 38A needs to be modified in consultation with those it affects. Page 16 of the contract says the county's position is to preserve existing, living vegetation on properties. I would like that to be true, and I would like that to be law.