Placer County supes poised to disagree with grand jury on Burton Creek substation

No “lack of motivation,” draft letter to panel foreperson states
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Placer County supervisors are poised to dispute a grand jury report issued this summer that criticizes the county for inaction on replacing the Burton Creek substation. Supervisors are being asked to approve a response crafted by County Executive Office staff that disagrees with the grand jury finding that there is an apparent “lack of motivation” on the part of Placer officials at all levels to replace the aging facility. The report states that: “The county has simply replaced its previous excuse for not moving on the Burton Creek issue-money-with a new excuse-bureaucracy.” The grand jury criticism was issued in July and the county had 90 days to reply. It’s the 17th straight year the county has been criticized for not upgrading or replacing the 53-year-old facility, which includes a sheriff’s substation, jail and courts. The building is located east of Tahoe City. In a draft response to be considered Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, the county is disagreeing with the grand jury contention that it is intentionally dragging its heels. “The board recognizes the need to replace the Burton Creek facility,” the response states. “The grand jury citing a ‘lack of motivation’ on the part of Placer County officials as the main delay in replacing the facility is inaccurate.” Instead, the response to former grand jury Foreperson John Wilhelm is that the County Executive Office, Facility Services Department and Placer Superior Court officials continue to pursue development opportunities for a new Tahoe facility. The Burton Creek rebuild has been complicated this month by a recommendation to be considered by the Judicial Council of California to mothball plans for a $27 million courthouse in Tahoe City “indefinitely” because of a funding shortfall. The Placer County project is one of seven to be considered by the council for “indefinite delay” at its Oct. 26 meeting. “The county and the courts will reconvene to explore other options and funding strategies in the courthouse project is removed from the approved funding list,” the response states. The board will consider the grand jury response as part of a package of agenda items placed on the consent agenda and voted on as a package unless removed for discussion at the request of a supervisor or member of the public. The Board of Supervisors meeting is slated to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25 in the Board Chambers, 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn.