Two committees charged with making recommendations on how the city of Alturas should use $2 million it received from a trust fund for youth-related projects were formed at Tuesday’s Alturas City Council meeting.
The city last year received more than $2 million from the John L. Wall Trust fund. Wall was a lifelong Modoc County resident who died Sept. 29, 2014. The $9 million trust also provides $2 million to the two Alturas Rotary clubs and other large donations for the Cedar Pass Snow Park, Modoc Medical Center, Alturas Elks Lodge and Modoc County Sheriff’s Posse.
Converting the Alturas swimming pool into a year-round facility topped the wish-list at a previous community meeting, which included students from the city’s elementary, middle and high schools.
There also have been discussions of building a civic center.
Two ad hoc swimming pool and civic center committees were formed. Council members Mark Steffek and Cheryl Nelson will serve on the pool committee and select three at-large community members.
Mayor John Dederick and councilman Jim Irvin were appointed to civic center group and selected Carol Sharp, Heather Hadwick and Debbie Pedersen.
During the standing room only meeting, Noelle Knight of the newly formed Community Action Committee offered suggestions on how the money could be used. She also urged the council to not locate a possible civic center at the previously discussed site, near the junior livestock barn, but proposed it instead be located near the swimming pool, which she said might reduce staffing and overhead costs.
Knight also discussed a retractable roof for the pool, extending the current 10-week season and said two families have indicated a willingness to make substantial donations on behalf of the pool.
The council agreed the proposed civic center site, near the junior livestock barn is not feasible, but made no decisions on its possible location. Previous discussions have envisioned a facility that would have ADA approved restrooms, a large meeting area, basketball court and commercial kitchen. It’s hoped the facility can use geothermal heating and solar energy.
The council also discussed increasing city sewer rates. Mayor Dederick said the city is currently operating the sewer system at a deficit of about $10,000 a month. The current monthly basic residential sewer charge is $30.22. City officials said rate increase of $7 a month would allow the city to break even with operating costs while a $10 increase would help pay back existing debt.
City officials said operating costs have increased because of heightened state water quality testing requirements.
Public hearings on the increases will be scheduled at the council’s May meeting with increases possible later this year.
City planner Joe Picotte discussed water conservation requirements mandated by the state of California because of the ongoing drought. A 25 percent reduction in water use from 2013 is required.
It was noted the city experienced a 22 percent water use reduction last year, also a drought year, by asking for voluntary compliance. The city can impose various restrictions, such as limiting yard watering to two days a week and fining violators. No restrictions were imposed by the council pending further study.
In another matter, Terry Olson discussed possibly leasing the city-owned “Old Citizens Building” for use as a nonprofit educational facility.
Although still in the conceptual stage, Olson said he is investigating a Next Step Learning Facility where courses in trade skills, such as welding, furniture building and woodworking, could be taught. The building is currently used for storage and would require extensive repairs.