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Madera Supervisors to Hold ‘Special Meeting’ This Week

MADERA — The Madera County Board of Supervisors will hold a relatively rare “special meeting” this week (June 30) to deal with several issues requiring the board’s immediate attention.

First on the agenda for Tuesday’s 9 a.m. session: Sitting as the board of directors for Pines Tract Special Assessment District 89-1 in Bass Lake, supervisors will hold a hearing to approve an ongoing special assessment on area homeowners for road maintenance.

Over the years, more than 100 special districts have been formed in unincorporated parts of the county to provide one or more special services to residents — and Madera County supervisors spend a great deal of their time administering these special districts.

Pines Tract Special Assessment District 89-1 was formed in 1989 as part of a plan by Bass Lake homeowners to obtain title to land in the area owned by PG&E. The small parcel had been leased to Williams Resorts, and then subleased by Williams Resorts to area homeowners.

After formation of the Bass Lake Homeowners Association, a group approached the County with a plan to form a Special Assessment District. But at a public hearing held by the County to consider the District’s formation, a majority of homeowners in the area actually rejected the idea.

“This left the County with the responsibilities of maintaining the roads and public easements,” said a staff report given to supervisors in advance of this week’s special meeting. “However, since the roads did not meet County standards and were not accepted or included in the County’s maintained mileage system, the County’s Road Fund money could not be used to provide maintenance.”

“This issue was resolved by establishing a road maintenance assessment on all residential properties within Assessment District 89-1,” the report explains. “This assessment is authorized by sections of the California Streets and Highway Code also referred to as the Municipal Improvement Act of 1913.”

Since 1989, the 562 residential property owners within Special District 89-1 have been assessed an annual $100 “road maintenance fee.” The assessment generates $56,200 a year. According to the staff report, the annual average cost for routine maintenance of the 6.14 miles of roads in District t 89-1, including easements and drainage systems, is $50,000.

So each year on or before June 30, supervisors must hold a public hearing and adopt a resolution to continue to legally fund the $100 assessment — which is the primary reason next week’s special board meeting has been scheduled.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting according to the agenda, the board is expected to:

  • Amend an agreement with Madera Community Hospital agreeing to pay the hospital nearly $30,000 per month to provide medical treatment for indigent county residents.
  • Authorize County Administrative Officer Jay Varney to send a letter to state lawmakers voicing the County’s opposition to Senate Bill 474. That bill, authored by Los Angeles County State Senator Henry Stern, seeks to prohibit ANY development in areas designated as VHFSZs — or Very High Fire Safety Zones. Large portions of eastern Madera County have been designated by the State as VHFSZs.

“While we appreciate the spirit in which [SB 474] is offered, we oppose the economic hardship this would place on a large portion of Madera County,” the County letter states. “Prohibition of any development in Very High Fire Safety Zones places our mountain communities at an extreme disadvantage in regards to school improvement, business cultivation and quality of life. While recent drought years have contributed to the amount of fuels in our forests, it is actually poor forest management that has resulted in the fuels problem faced by many counties. We respectfully request that you direct your efforts towards fuel reduction measures and proper forest management, rather than this legislation which will kill our mountain community economies.”

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