I was dismayed to see that County Service Area (CSA) 38 was dissolved by the County Board of Supervisors. This advisory committee always worked hard to keep Pine Cove safe: masticator for fuel breaks, fire hydrant improvement, over-the-side and EMT equipment, a concrete pad for hose cleaning, etc. Then I see criticism of committee members because they are so community minded that they volunteer for more than one committee. The critics should volunteer themselves instead of complaining. Is this a reason to eliminate one of these?
Understand that fire hydrants are not used by water districts. They are used by fire departments. On occasions, water districts check the hydrants and clear out adjacent water lines. At an Idyllwild Water District meeting, I heard an argument as to who should lubricate the hydrants: the water district or the fire department. In Pine Cove the water district does it.
To quote the Town Crier [Opal Hellweg, legislative assistant to Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington] “the dissolution of the advisory committee does not impact the funds collected for CSA 38 … without the need for an advisory committee and all the resources a committee needs.”
County oversight took 10% of the CSA funds and since the unpaid volunteer advisory committee is out, the county will take not only 10% but all of the funds without any input from the community. I understand that auditing of these funds is long overdue and that there is quite a discrepancy between the reports and the actual balance.
Did the county get tired of CSA 38 advisors asking where the funds had gone or where the equipment purchased with CSA 38 funds was being used? If the masticator is being used all over the county, the county should have bought it. I can remember asking for years: What does this line item mean? The county overseer responded that it is “just a place holder to make the balance right.” He said this every time I asked, and I never got a straight answer. With this attitude and without an audit, I can see how the county has a discrepancy.
The members of CSA 38 advisory committee are intelligent, experienced people committed to the safety and welfare of Pine Cove and the fire department. They advised the wise use of county tax funds for the benefit of the people of Pine Cove. Now, are our taxes just part of an unaudited slush fund to be used by the county at their whim?