August 10, 2006 - County wants its money back
Paper: Paradise Post (CA)
Title: County wants its money back
Date: August 10, 2006
Butte County still has to fight to be reimbursed for costs from the 2005 special election and must get the money back by the end of the month or lose it.
State legislation to refund has become stalled in the Senate, the Butte County Board of Supervisors was told on Tuesday, and counties are preparing a flurry campaign to get the bill pushed through.
Butte's share of the proposed money is hardly chump change if passed, the bill would send $422,575 the county's way.
Assembly Bill 1634 was originally written in February of 2005 by Assembly Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, to reimburse counties their costs for the special election that took place in November.
Since March, the bill has been bounced around the Senate without a vote taken on it.
It currently resides in the Senate Committee on Appropriations which is vice-chaired by Butte County's representative, Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley.
Bill Bird, Aanestad's communications director, said that the senator plans to support the bill.
"(The senator believes) if the state is going to require counties to hold the costs of a special election, then the state should also cover the costs of the special election," Bird said.
Aanestad's office has received calls from supervisors in Butte, Nevada, Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties about the bill, he said. He's re-assured the supervisors of Aanestad's support.
James Keene, the executive director of the California State Association of Counties, a county-interest lobbying group, wrote that the committee placed the bill on their suspense file.
"While it is customary for the committee to place spending bills on the suspense file until August, counties must continue to backfill the costs of the special election from their general funds," Keene wrote.
In total, the bill would reimburse $38,818,310 to counties, up from $27,810,094 in previous drafts of the bill.
Keene wrote that the earlier draft allocated $1.75 for each registered voter to counties. The rewritten bill reflects the actual costs to counties for the special election based on a survey done by CSAC.
"Counties' costs for the November 2005 special election varied widely due to a number of reasons: the type of voting system used, the geography of the county, the number of languages required on each ballot, whether there were regularly scheduled local elections already slated for Election Day, and more," Keene wrote.
During Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Starr Brown told the supervisors that CSAC was asking for an "all-out siege" of letters to the appropriations committee.
Supervisor Jane Dolan called the lack of reimbursement "a promise not kept" and that passing the bill and giving the money to counties is the right thing to do.
"I don't understand why it's stalled & It's a bill they must pay," Dolan said.
In information handed out to the media by Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs, California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson states that he supports passing AB 1634.
"It is imperative that California's counties be made whole with passage of AB 1634, to eliminate potential need to cut other essential services they provide, such as public safety, infrastructure needs and healthcare," McPherson wrote.
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Author: Robert LaHue - Staff Writer
(c) 2006 Paradise Post. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.