Latest Posts

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | September 23

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | September 23

Have your voice heard – be sure to vote!
Most of us have heard by now that November’s election will be 100% vote by mail, and although it is correct that all active voters will be sent a vote by mail ballot, Placer County voters will also have the opportunity to vote in person if they prefer. If you are unsure about your registration status or you know you need to register to vote, please visit https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.  Vote by mail ballots will be mailed the week of October 5 and should arrive to you by October 15.  If you are registered to vote you will receive this ballot automatically – you do not need to fill out an application or request a ballot.

There are several options for getting your ballot to the Elections Division by the close of voting on November 3.  You can return your ballot by mail, drop it in a designated ballot drop box or you can vote in person at multiple locations throughout the county.

Beginning October 5 through Election Day voters can visit either the Placer County Elections Office in Auburn or the Placer County Elections Warehouse in Rocklin to vote in person, Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM and the last two Saturdays and Sundays before Election Day: October 24 and 25 and October 31 and November 1.

In addition to these two locations there will also be 28 voter service centers opened throughout Placer County for four days leading up to Election Day, from Saturday, October 31 through Election Day on November 3. Voter service centers in District 5 will be located in Auburn, Colfax, Foresthill, Alta, Tahoe City and Kings Beach. Please visit https://www.placerelections.com/vote-service-center-locator/ to find exact locations and hours. The information will also be included in your county voter information guide or with the ballot mailed to you. If you prefer to vote in person consider doing so prior to November 3 in order to avoid potentially long lines and wait times on Election Day.

Voters who are concerned about potential postal service delays are encouraged to drop their completed vote by mail ballot in one of the 27 drop boxes around the county beginning October 6. Ballots deposited in a drop box get to the elections office faster than using the mail, and because those ballots do not enter the mail stream, the county saves money on postage. The drop boxes are a secure and convenient voting option. Drop box locations can be found here: https://www.placerelections.com/drop-box-locations/.  Voters can also submit their completed vote by mail ballot at any of the 28 voter service centers beginning October 31.

I know there has been quite a bit of discussion regarding voting by mail, so I want to assure Placer County voters that voting by mail is safe, secure, and transparent. Before any vote by mail envelope can be opened and the ballots counted, state law requires the election’s office to perform a match of the signature on the outside of the vote by mail envelope against the signature that is on the voter’s registration card.  This is required for every envelope during every election. Any questionable signatures are compared by at least three staffers before they are verified by the Registrar of Voters. If the signatures do not match state law requires the election’s office to contact the voter by mail to find out why the signatures do not match. If the voter provides a telephone number or email address, the election’s office staff will call and email the voter as well. There are many safety nets in place to protect against vote fraud.  It is virtually impossible for someone to come across a random ballot and commit vote fraud. If you would like to see firsthand how the election’s office verifies voter signatures, stop by the Auburn office after October 5 to see how it is done. 

There has also been some discussion about the possibility of people voting twice by using their vote by mail ballot and voting in person, however there is a number assigned to the ballot for each registered voter, and once that voter’s ballot is counted the number is voided, so additional votes would not be counted.

Finally, voters can sign up with BallotTrax to receive confirmation when their ballot is counted at: https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/. Signing up takes about two minutes, and those who sign up are notified when their vote by mail ballot is sent out in the mail and again when their ballot is received by the election’s office.  When your ballot has been received BallotTrax will also let you know whether it was received as “good” and the envelope passed signature validation, or received as “challenged” and your ballot will not be counted without clarification. If you receive notification from BallotTrax that your ballot was received as challenged or you don’t receive any notification about your ballot please contact the Elections Office (530-886-5650) before polls close on Election Day to ensure your vote is counted.

Like so many other aspects of our lives, COVID-19 has changed how we go about voting. Placer County is taking steps necessary to ensure that in person voting is safe by adhering to state requirements regarding sanitization, physical distancing and face coverings, while also being respectful of the fact that certain voters may not be able to wear certain types of PPE.

If you have further questions, please contact the Election’s Office at election@placer.ca.gov or call us at 530-886-5650. 

District 5 Voter Service Centers

  • Alta Community Center, 33950 Alta Bonnynook Road, Alta
  • Placer County Elections Office, 2956 Richardson Drive, Auburn
  • Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High Street, Auburn
  • Foresthill High School, 23319 Foresthill Road, Foresthill
  • Sierra Vista Community Center, 55 School Street, Colfax
  • North Tahoe Event Center, 8318 N. Lake Boulevard, Kings Beach
  • The Old Fire House, 300 N. Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City

 

Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Oldham appointed as Placer County’s interim health officer

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint  Dr. Rob Oldham as Placer County’s interim health officer, effective Sept. 26. Oldham, who recently returned to the county as the new director of Health and Human Services and chief psychiatrist, previously served as health officer at Placer County for nearly six years.  Learn more


Bring ideas to improve air quality in Kings Beach

In collaboration with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, a virtual public workshop is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and will feature a short presentation on the Community Air Protection (CAP) Incentives program, air quality, and efforts to reduce localized air pollution in the Tahoe Basin.  Workshop participants are encouraged to share air quality-related community health concerns and provide feedback to help the District prioritize CAP funding among the eligible project categories
Learn more


Rental assistance available for low-income households impacted by pandemic

The Placer County Housing Authority and the Community Development Resource Agency HOME program are offering rental assistance to eligible low-income residents who are facing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Learn more


Placer County hiring election aides ahead of Nov. 3 general election

In preparation of the Nov. 3 general election, the Placer County Elections Office is recruiting election aide temporary positions for county voting centers in North Lake Tahoe. Learn more



Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | September 11

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | September 11

Crisis Versus Emergency – Action to Declare End to Public Health Emergency

At our September 8 meeting the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring the current end of Placer County’s local health emergency, and re-stating the ability for the County to quickly declare an emergency if conditions change and “emergency” status is again warranted. The County’s decision to remove the Emergency Health Order is based on the knowledge and preparedness we have gained over the last six months. We also considered Placer County’s current case rate, the availability of personal protective gear for health care and businesses, testing availability, and medical equipment and capacity at our hospitals.  The Resolution also emphasized that the State’s orders remain in place for businesses and individuals, and that the Board of Supervisor’s actions do not change those limitations on businesses and activities.  It also again reemphasized that personal responsibility is critical to dealing with this dangerous virus.   

The intent of the board’s action is to convey concerns that the state’s framework for measuring COVID-19 mischaracterizes the current state of the disease, specifically in Placer County, and harms the community’s economic, health, mental and social well-being. The State’s own statistics demonstrated that other counties had higher rates than Placer but were allowed to advance to the next stage of reopening ahead of us.  This inconsistency and the changing metrics being used, continues to create concerns for those trying to plan for their livelihoods and families.

Supervisor Gustafson speaks during the September 8 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Since the beginning of the pandemic I have shared my concerns that we all need to consider the additional effects of COVID-19.  It is critical that we find a balance between addressing COVID-19 and all the other significant public health impacts created when people can’t provide for themselves and their loved ones.  Mental health issues, homelessness, and crisis calls are all critically important overall and must be considered.  

If we assess the situation in Placer County based on facts, it is clear we do not currently have a health emergency. I do not agree with a lot of the politicization of this issue – during the meeting I successfully pushed for changes in the resolution to decrease unnecessary rhetoric and to add language giving the board the ability to reinstate an emergency order if our case rate escalates (see video above) – but I stand behind my decision to vote for this resolution. I will continue to work to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities, taking into consideration all the public health issues that this virus has inflicted on our residents.

Let me assure you, just because we aren’t in an emergency situation today doesn’t mean that Placer County residents can go back to the way things were pre-COVID-19.  This virus continues to create a crisis for us all – it is extremely dangerous, and we must be vigilant. As a Placer County Supervisor I remain dedicated to making sure we continue to follow guidelines, monitor cases, increase testing, protect our vulnerable residents, and be prepared to take further actions as required.

Additionally, as you may have heard, Dr. Aimee Sisson resigned from her position as Public Health Officer earlier this week. I want to share my deep appreciation for Dr. Sisson’s hard work during this pandemic. Much of the progress Placer County made through the state’s various requirements for safely re-opening is a result of the efforts of Dr. Sisson and her team. I wish her the very best in her future endeavors.  

Finally, we are also very happy to welcome back Dr. Robert Oldham, who will be taking the helm as our Director of Health and Human Services (see news release below for more information). Dr. Oldham served as Placer County’s Public Health Officer from 2014 to 2019 and we are grateful that he will temporarily serve as our Public Health Officer as we search for Dr. Sisson’s replacement. His previous experience in this position will help to ensure a smooth transition, which is so important during this time.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

– Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Oldham to return to Placer as new Health and Human Services director, chief psychiatrist & Interim Public Health Officer

While we are saddened by the resignation of our current Public Health Officer, Dr. Sisson,  Placer County will soon have a familiar face as its new director of Health and Human Services and chief psychiatrist: Dr. Rob Oldham.  Dr. Oldham previously served as Placer County’s Public Health Officer for 4 years and will also be serving as our interim Public Health Officer.  We are very excited to welcome Dr. Oldham back to Placer County.  Learn more


Placer County moves into the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy ‘red tier’

On Sept. 8, the State of California moved Placer County into the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy ‘red’ tier’ – further easing restrictions in the county.


Placer County ramps up fire awareness messaging through new Red Flag Awareness Program

The program will have participants display red flags on red flag warning days, in conjunction with an information campaign on what red flag warnings mean for fire agencies and residents.  Learn more



Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | September 4

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | September 4

New State COVID Metrics and Reopening Plan

On August 28, Governor Newsom released a new plan for reopening.  Based on two key indicators, test positivity and case rate per 100,000, counties are now assessed by color, ranging from the most restrictive purple tier to a less restrictive yellow tier. Placer County’s test positivity rate and cases per 100,000 have remained consistent for the past couple of weeks. We were discouraged to learn that Placer County is currently classified under the purple tier. However, if our numbers remain steady, we will be able to move into the red tier on Tuesday, September 8th, which will allow many of our small businesses to begin to operate indoors or at increased capacity. I have heard from many members of our community whose businesses are struggling due to the COVID restrictions. Please know that I and the whole Board of Supervisors hear you and are doing all we can to be your advocates to the State.

 

Groundbreaking for Auburn Interfaith Food Closet’s New Facility

On Thursday morning, I was honored to attend the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet’s (AFIC) groundbreaking ceremony for their new facility to be located on Auburn Ravine Road in Auburn. This new facility is a direct result of years of extraordinary volunteer work, fundraising, and significant donations from many in our community. AFIC began as a Food Closet run by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and through the years have expanded to include 17 churches whose mission is to provide food to those in need, preserving their dignity and encouraging self-reliance. Currently, the AFIC serves 500-700 families a month in their facility on Earhart Avenue in Auburn. The move to the new facility next year will put them right next to Interstate 80 and increase accessibility for services and donations. This month is Hunger Action Month – please see the following link for ways to donate. Learn more

 

Placer County Conservation Plan

At its meeting last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Placer County Conservation Program (PCCP), which will protect and conserve a large portion of open space and agricultural land in Western Placer County to enhance and restore natural resources. It is a comprehensive approach to protection and restoration that has been widely acknowledged by State and Federal experts as a model for other regions. This program is a culmination of over 19 years of vision, leadership, collaboration and planning. The PCCP will help to balance growth with ensuring the support and protection of sensitive species of plants and wildlife currently represented in Placer County. Supervisor Robert Weygandt, volunteer Joanne Neft, Loren Clark and Greg MacKensie were all recognized, along with many others for their outstanding efforts in moving the program forward.

 

Negotiations with the Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA)

Despite the social media reports and hundreds of emails we have received, I want to assure you that there is NO proposal by the Board of Supervisors to cut the Sheriff’s budget.  In fact, my commitment to you is that we will continue to fully fund the Sheriff’s department just as we did this year. Our Board and our community has strongly supported our law enforcement professionals by increasing the Sheriff’s budget on average 8.8% annually the past twenty years and 8.2% this fiscal year.  Part of that increase, as tied to the voter approved Measure F, provided deputies with a 5.15% increase in February, and sergeants received a 5.46% increase.

The Board’s goal is to ensure that we are protecting your tax dollars by anticipating and planning for the long-term financial implications of the growth in law enforcement costs. Our responsibility is to make sure that we as taxpayers can afford these future cost escalations. Because of voter approved Measure F, Deputy Sheriff annual salary increases (just under 4%) have outpaced both the Placer Public Employee Union’s annual increases and Consumer Price Index for the last 20 years. Please see the graph below.

* PPEO – Placer Public Employees Union

Currently the TOTAL compensation for our employees is 14-18% above their peers in surrounding counties.  This is due to some of the incentives and special pays that have been allocated to boost total compensation in years past.  As we look at ways to control the cost escalations I want you to know how committed we all are to finding a good resolution. As I stated at the Board meeting, our community should be proud — we have the best, we want the best, and we will continue to pay the best.

 

Upcoming Board of Supervisors Meeting on September 8th

At the September 8, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting, we will hear presentations from Health & Human Services on an amended agreement for laboratory testing for COVID-19, from the Agriculture Commissioner on the 2019 Crop Report & 2018 Crop Report Plus. We will also hear a presentation from the CEO’s office on a resolution proclaiming termination of the Placer County Declaration of Local Health Emergency. Click here to access the full agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.


 

Placer Shares Grant Applications Due Monday, September 7th

Monday, September 7th is the final day to submit your application for Placer Shares.  Placer Shares is a grant program for eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Placer County to offset impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting state shutdown order.

Placer Shares, could provide awards of up to $10,000 to cover eligible COVID-19 expenses. The grant portal is open for two weeks (Aug. 25 – Sept. 7) and consideration is not on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more

 


Hidden Falls Regional Park closed Sept. 5-8 due to extreme fire weather conditions

Hidden Falls Regional Park in North Auburn will be closed Sept. 5-8 due to extreme fire weather conditions. Learn more


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 28

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 28

September 1st Board of Supervisors meeting open for in-person public comment

For the first time since March the board chambers will be open to in person attendance at the Board of Supervisors September 1st meeting. To remain in compliance with the state’s public health guidance, the county will limit attendance to 25% of the room’s capacity and will require 6 feet of physical distancing inside and outside the board chambers. Per State Public Health Guidance the county will provide face coverings. The meeting’s audio will be broadcast outside, near the entrance of the building so people attending in person are able to hear the meeting while waiting for their turn to speak.

Due to the limited capacity in chambers, and the ongoing need for physical distancing, the public is still encouraged to participate virtually. A news release with information on how to participate virtually was posted online yesterday, and the information can also be found on the meeting agenda

 A different health risk to consider
As I shared in last week’s newsletter, the county continues to work toward finding a way to safely balance public health with an economy that sustains our residents through this pandemic. In addition to recent communication our Board of Supervisors has had with state officials, Supervisor Bonnie Gore and I joined local leaders from several jurisdictions in Placer County in sending a letter to Acting State Public Health Officer, Erica Pan requesting that our businesses be permitted to resume indoor operations as soon as possible given the poor air quality in our area.

As we have all experienced, the fires burning in communities around us have resulted in a significant amount of smoke in the air, which has left air quality at an unhealthy level. It is not recommended that anyone remain outdoors for an extended period when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is above 150, and our population centers have seen an average AQI of 171, with projections for air quality to remain at this level for at least another week. This comes as so many businesses are prohibited from offering services indoors, forcing people to spend additional time outdoors in this unhealthy air.

Placer County has done an excellent job of slowing the spread of COVID-19, as evidenced by our removal from the state watch list, yet our businesses continue to struggle to stay open, which is made increasingly difficult considering the poor air quality. Throughout the county I have seen residents who are dedicated to supporting our businesses in a safe manner – they are wearing masks, physically distancing and washing their hands regularly. We are asking the State to allow businesses to open for indoor services in order to protect residents from the additional risks associated with poor air quality

The state released it’s updated Blueprint for a Safer Economy today, however it is still unclear exactly what effect the updated guidelines will have on Placer County. The Board of Supervisors and county staff continue to advocate for the safe reopening of our businesses. I will continue to keep you updated on any  new developments. In the meantime, please continue to support your local businesses safely by wearing your mask, physically distancing yourself from people outside your household and washing your hands frequently.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Placer Shares small business and nonprofit grant funding program opened August 25th

Beginning August 25th, eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Placer County can apply for grant funding to offset impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting state shutdown order.

The grant program, Placer Shares, could provide awards of up to $10,000 to cover eligible COVID-19 expenses. The grant portal is open for two weeks (Aug. 25 – Sept. 7) and consideration is not on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more

 


 

Resource Conservation District’s Chipper Program to continue this fire season

Great news! The Resource Conservation District is working to get the Chipper Program back online after cutting services due to a shortage of crew members. Although this is not a Placer County program, many residents have been asking about the future of the program. Click here to read the full story published in the Auburn Journal on August 25th. 


 

2020 Census Events in Tahoe & Truckee

Need to complete your 2020 Census?  Stop by one of the scheduled U.S. Census Bureau events in Tahoe or Truckee and fill out your census form on-the-spot.  Sierra Community House will be on hand to provide assistance. To find out about upcoming events please visit the Placer Counts calendar of events

 

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 21

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 21

Staying informed and making our voice heard

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we have all been trying to sift through the information available to us from different sources, which is a difficult task given that the information is not always consistent. One of the main goals of the Board of Supervisors has been to make sure you are getting the most accurate and up to date information on the virus, any local and state orders affecting you and resources that are available.  This week the Board of Supervisors held a special meeting and invited noted experts with varied opinions and backgrounds to provide their research, views and insights about the COVID-19 pandemic.   As we all know, there is not one easy answer to the current situation.  Gathering as much information from as many reputable sources as possible can help us all make the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our communities.  You can access the presentations here: https://vimeo.com/449801762

County staff and the Board of Supervisors have been in contact with the Governor’s office and the California Public Health Officer to advocate for our county services, businesses, and residents. Our communications have focused on a range of topics from access to federal CARES Act funding to requests that the state consider allowing counties with lower case numbers and plans for safe re-opening to do so.

In early August the Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the Governor requesting additional clarification on the method for determining which businesses are permitted to remain open and which are not. We have received many questions on the state’s strategy as some businesses are forced to close while others are permitted to open, even though the risk of spreading the virus is virtually indistinguishable between the two businesses. Further, the Board shared concerns that you cannot keep businesses closed without imparting lasting and devastating impacts on our society, including serious impacts to people’s physical and mental health as well as to the overall economy.

Our Health Officer and the Board of Supervisors have also reached out to the California Director of Public Health requesting a revision to the Public Health Order which currently does not allow businesses to reopen even after the County is off of the  State Monitoring List.  Placer County is advocating that affected businesses be allowed to resume indoor operations once a county has been off the Monitoring list for two weeks.  This creates an incentive for businesses to comply with restrictions, and would also be consistent with recent State guidance for reopening of schools for in-person instruction.

As you might remember Placer County was placed on the State’s Monitoring List in early July, however we learned earlier this week that Placer County successfully met established thresholds that allowed us to be removed from the List. This is great news because, first and foremost, it illustrates that our community is committed to slowing the spread of the virus and taking public health seriously. Being off the list allows Placer County schools to begin the 14-day countdown to resume in-person instruction if they choose. Although there are multiple issues facing schools when making this decision, being off the list and at least having the ability to reopen is a positive development. As mentioned above, the County has requested that businesses be allowed the same path forward.

I will continue to work with our staff and the Board of Supervisors to ensure the interests of our businesses and residents are represented at the state and federal level. I remain committed to working toward finding the balance between public health and limiting impacts to our economy wherever possible. I will also continue to implore all our residents to take the precautions recommended:  wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently, and physically distance from those outside your household.   We will get through this, in the meantime it’s important that we continue to work together.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Placer Alert: Sign up to receive emergency notifications

With wildfire season upon us it is important that we take steps to be prepared. First and foremost, please take a moment to sign up for emergency notifications from the PlacerAlert system. You can also find more information on how to prepare for wildfire and other natural disasters by visiting our Office of Emergency Services website where you will find links to information on wildfirepower outagesextreme heatair quality and other issues as well. 

 


 

Placer County and Mercy Housing break ground on 79-unit affordable housing development

Placer County has broken ground with developer Mercy Housing on an affordable housing project at the Placer County Government Center in Auburn. The 79-unit apartment and townhome development, known as Mercy North Auburn, is a collaborative effort.

The county has contributed 3 acres of county-owned property to the project along with housing vouchers and funding from two state grants totaling more than $4.5 million. Placer County Housing Trust Funds are also being used to cover development and processing fees. With financial support from California’s No Place Like Home Program, the Placer County Adult System of Care will provide referrals and case management for residents of 20 of the new homes. Learn  more

 


 

Colfax Library to open for limited services

The next Library to accept returns and welcome library users back with “walk thru” Library Services is the Colfax Library. Beginning August 24, the Colfax Library will be open to accept returns Monday through Friday between 9AM and 4PM. The branch will also offer Walk Thru Service Thursdays and Fridays from 9AM to noon beginning August 27. Learn more

 


 

CARES Act funding available through Placer Shares programs

Placer Shares: Eats & Drinks   
This program offers rebates for the annual Environmental Health inspection fees for restaurants and bars that were subsequently closed by the State’s July 13 public health order. Learn more

Placer Shares Outreach
Beginning August 25 and running through September 7, applications will be accepted for Placer Shares grants, a small business/non-profit assistance program for COVID-19-eligible expenses.  Learn more

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 14

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 14

Board of Supervisors Updates

Mercy Housing Groundbreaking
On August 12 the Board of Supervisors kicked off construction of Mercy North Auburn with a groundbreaking ceremony. The project is a 79-unit, affordable, multifamily and townhome project located in the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn. The project will be constructed on three acres of land leased to Mercy Housing by the county for $1 a year. Understanding the importance of attainable affordable housing in our communities, the county made it a priority to collaborate on this project and provide resources where possible.

Mercy North Auburn will offer a range of housing options for various income levels and will also include units for the “No Place Like Home” program. The project will also include community facilities such as a multipurpose building, open space areas and a play area for kids.  The project is due to be completed by the end of September 2021.

Special Meeting August 18
At a special meeting on August 18 the Board of Supervisors will be asked to approve a $1.2 million grant program to assist restaurants and bars in Placer County impacted by COVID-19. If approved, eligible restaurants and bars could receive a $1,000 grant.  Funding for the grant comes from the Federal CARES Act funds allocated to Placer County by the State of California. Placer County recently approved an $8 million grant program for small businesses and non-profit organizations in Placer County, and restaurants and bars could be eligible for funds from that grant program as well. Information on grant programs will be available on a soon-to-be-launched Placer Shares website. 

The Board of Supervisors will also receive an update on COVID-19 from Public Health Officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson at the special meeting.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

– Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Hidden Falls Regional Park closed Aug. 15 and 16 due to extreme fire weather conditions

Hidden Falls Regional Park in North Auburn will be closed Aug. 15-16 due to extreme fire weather conditions.

“Wildfire prevention is at the top of our priority list,” said Placer County Parks Administrator Andy Fisher. “We truly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding about the decision to close the park for a couple of days due to extreme fire weather conditions.”

Visitors with reservations during closure days will be given credit for the purchase price of their reservation towards a future date. Learn more

 


 

Placer County temporarily increases trash service in North Lake Tahoe

Placer County has temporarily increased trash service in North Lake Tahoe due to increasing demand in the region.

“Frustrations in our area have run high due to overflowing trash bins and litter in outdoor areas,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “We’ve been working with partner agencies, including land managers and Truckee Tahoe Sierra Disposal, to address these issues by increasing service throughout North Lake Tahoe.”  Learn more

 

 


 

Beat the heat and stay cool

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning through the rest of the week, with temperatures expected to soar above triple digits. Be sure to practice heat safety and know the signs of heat-related illness. Learn more

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 7

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | August 7

Visitation Impacts
As a result of COVID-19 we are all facing new situations every day that affect different aspects of our lives. In addition to the primary health impacts of the virus and the impacts to our economy, COVID-19 has created other impacts – one of which is increased visitation at our local public recreation facilities from county residents and people from outside areas.  Whether because businesses have been shut due to state orders or because people are choosing recreation options that allow for greater physical distancing, much of the focus of recreation has shifted to outdoor activities as result of COVID-19. Although we welcome outdoor use of our beautiful area, the number one concern is the health and safety of our residents. We also need to make sure that there are no impacts to our natural resources.

As the summer months have progressed there has been growing public demand on canyon access points, parks, trails, rivers and lakes on public lands in District 5 from Auburn to Tahoe.  We are not alone.  Public lands throughout the nation are experiencing high volumes of visitors, and in many cases public land managers are reporting record-breaking numbers of guests. Frustrations in our area have run high due to well-over-capacity parking, over-flowing trash bins and litter, and overcrowding of outdoor areas that have historically seen very few visitors.  Sometimes these issues are nuisances, other times they can become life and safety issues. 

Aerial photo of Yankee Jims Bridge.

Recently the Yankee Jims area made headlines due to unsafe conditions as people poured in from out of the region, blocking access along Yankee Jims Road. The parking area at the Yankee Jims Bridge allows for 12 cars to park legally, and on one day there were more than 300 vehicles packed in along the narrow canyon road. This made it impossible for emergency vehicle access to the area – which is particularly concerning as we are in wildfire season – and caused a traffic jam that lasted for hours.

As a result of this hazardous situation, public safety officials from multiple agencies have been working together to find a solution. The California State Parks Department closed all parking in the area and began issuing citations to illegally parked cars, and the Placer County Department of Public Works placed “No Parking” signs along the roadway. The Auburn State Recreation Area also issued a news release alerting people of the parking lot closure and parking restrictions along Yankee Jims Road.  State Parks personnel issued 117 citations the first weekend of enforcement, and as a result of increased signage, including the placement of electronic signage well in advance of entry points to Yankee Jims Road, the number of citations dropped to 70 this past weekend.

The situation at Yankee Jim’s Bridge and other heavily-visited areas in District 5 remains an ongoing issue, but the coordination between state and local agencies has resulted in progress toward addressing the problems. I have received calls and emails from people who want the county to prohibit access by non-residents to these areas, but unfortunately it is not simple.  We do not have the ability to close the state or federal highways that lead to our areas, so we need to focus on addressing the issues that arise with increased use of these public facilities. Failing to take a broader approach to addressing these situations would literally push the problems down the road to the next open spot.

We will continue to partner with personnel from State Parks, California Highway Patrol, CAL FIRE, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, and staff from our Department of Public Works to develop solutions for issues in our area as they arise. We also continue to rely on public education to encourage visitors to plan ahead and make sure the area they want to visit is open, to make alternative plans, and to visit these areas on non-peak days.  

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

– Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


SURVEY: Has your business been impacted by COVID-19?

If your business has been impacted by COVID-19 please take a moment to complete this survey. We can use your valuable input to help enhance the way we assist businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Your answers will guide us in developing more resources to aid businesses in Placer County. Just a few minutes of your time can make a big difference. TAKE SURVEY

 


 

Gypsy moth warning issued in the Foresthill region

Placer County is issuing a gypsy moth warning in response to finding a moth in the Foresthill area last Thursday. Gypsy moths are an invasive species whose caterpillars feed on tree leaves, threatening forested areas especially. Though findings are extremely rare in Northern California, Placer successfully prevented a gypsy moth infestation several years ago in the Dutch Flat area. Learn more

 


 

Input sought on transportation plan in North Lake Tahoe

The community is being asked to provide input on the Resort Triangle Transportation Plan, which is a regional effort to make traveling around North Lake Tahoe easier. There are several opportunities for input, including an online community survey and a virtual community workshop that is available through August 10th. We hope you will take some time to learn more about this project and share your thoughts. Learn more

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | August 3

Eastern District 5 Bulletin | August 3

IS THIS THE PEAK?
The six weeks between the beginning of July into early August are traditionally our busiest time of the year in Eastern Placer County and this year part-time residents and visitation numbers may even be higher. We may also experience these higher occupancy numbers for a longer period of time this year, given changes in school schedules and workplace telecommuting allowances due to COVID-19.

VIRUS SPREAD
Many people I hear from express their concerns that “outsiders” of any kind – part-time residents, overnight and day visitors – are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in our community.   Although we can contract the virus from any infected person we come into contact with, contact tracing efforts indicate that family gatherings of local residents remain the greatest source of transmission.   I urge you to review the reports that are published by Placer County, Nevada County and Tahoe Forest Hospital.  While the virus will continue to spread until we reach “herd immunity” through exposure and hopefully vaccination, our numbers in Eastern Placer have not grown in proportion to occupancy and visitation.  

Recent information shows we are averaging approximately one new case per day (see chart below).   These new cases bring our Eastern Placer total infections since March to somewhere between 0.3-0.5% of our total population. 

Despite increases in occupancy by part-time residents and visitors, our growth rate is below the other areas of Placer County.

Cases summarized by date of receipt with the exception of 14-day case rate, which is calculated by date of specimen collection to more closely align with CDPH reporting.*The 14-day case rate per 100,000 is the sum of new cases with specimens collected in the past 14 days per 100,000 residents (e.g., total new cases by specimen collection date for past 14 days/398,843 *100,000 for the County). This figure is lagged by 3 days as new cases continue to be received. Note: North Tahoe population used is year-round census population. Created 7/31/20 by Placer County Public Health

COVID-19 is a serious threat and we must stay focused on slowing the spread.  Physical distancing and face-coverings continue to be the best advice for protecting yourself and your loved ones. 

TENSION 
With that high level of occupancy and visitation, I continue to receive many emails, calls, and social media posts with suggestions and stronger, that Placer County shut down certain businesses and lodging, and/or close Tahoe to outside visitors. One of the things that makes the Tahoe area such a desirable place to live is that we are surrounded by public land. This is also what makes the Tahoe area such a desirable place to visit, and the County cannot prevent the public from using federal and state highways to access these public lands.  Federal and state funding and resources have been heavily invested in our region for the benefit of visitors as well as local residents.  We cannot take action on our own without the support of State and Federal leaders.  The only action the County could take would be enacting ordinances and restrictions that would close the businesses and services local residents rely on to make a living and try to carry on with daily life.  Any action at the County level would need to be based on evidence directly tied to the source and fortunately at this point we are not seeing a spread of the virus commensurate with the exceedingly high visitation levels.  Such action would also require a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors and we would consult with law enforcement and our District Attorney to ensure that they could and would enforce such closures. 

ENFORCEMENT
In our free society, law enforcement resources focus on a very small percentage of the population. We maintain peace and order because the vast majority of people are following the law.  As a nation, we do not staff law enforcement at the levels that would be required to enforce every ordinance and law for every incident of violation.  The Placer County Sheriff is an independently elected official dedicated to serving the community under local, state and federal laws.   Under the Sheriff’s direct authority, the Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement services based on the highest priorities for public protection and safety.   While behaviors of some are very troubling and need to be addressed, the Sheriff’s Office must be trusted to focus on the greatest risks to overall public safety. 

EDUCATION
Understanding that we can’t enforce our way out of some of the issues we are facing, many organizations and volunteers have recognized that expanding the focus of education efforts is the best way to let visitors know how to safely and respectfully enjoy the Tahoe area. Many local groups have come together to create public education campaigns on COVID-19, stewardship of the environment, and being a “good neighbor”.    The Take Care Tahoe program evolved a number of years ago to educate the public on stewardship of the region’s environment.   The incredible efforts of the 45 public and non-profit organizations participating in the Take Care program are remarkable, and have now been expanded to include efforts to educate on COVID-19, with a series of billboards, signs, and information directed to those visiting the region.  In addition, Placer County created the “Good Neighbor” campaign focused on short-term rental issues in the community.  Repeated messaging to owners, posting of Good Neighbor policies, and a 24/7 hotline have assisted our enforcement efforts.   Placer County and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association have also worked closely to develop the Stronger Together, Know Before You Go, and Mask Up Tahoe campaigns, focused on educational messaging.   

HELP KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE
We are also currently developing an Ambassador program in partnership with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to address issues we are witnessing throughout the community. Volunteers can help with visitor and community education, trash pickup, distribution of face coverings and hand sanitizer and more. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Erin Casey with the County Executive Office in Tahoe at 530-369-1950 or ecasey@placer.ca.gov for details.

PROBLEM SOLVING and RESPONSE
I appreciate the many suggestions and questions.  I can’t possibly respond to each one but am trying to use these bulletins to explain the issues and questions that are most frequently raised.

Stay safe, physically distance, be considerate to all, use a face-covering, and help educate everyone in our community.  

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

-Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Extension of Truckee River alcohol ban until Oct. 15

Due to health and safety concerns resulting from a recent increase in activity along the Truckee River, the Placer County Board of Supervisors July 27 to temporarily extend an alcohol ban on the Truckee River until Oct. 15. Learn more


Placer County approves new rebate program for lodging projects

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a new transient occupancy tax rebate program intended to spur investment in lodging projects in North Lake Tahoe. Learn more

 


Supervisors provide direction on guidelines for proposed deed restriction program

The California Department of Public Health released additional guidance this week for some personal services to begin outdoor operations; including hair, massage, nail and skin care services. They also offered new guidance to help restaurants adapt to providing outdoor dining service. Find all the latest reopening guidance on our Reopen Placer website

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | July 31

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | July 31

New and Improved COVID-19 Dashboard

I hope you have had a chance to visit the County’s online COVID-19 dashboard, which provides up-to-date information on the virus in Placer County.  The dashboard was originally launched in April and last week Placer County launched an updated version that provides additional information in a format that is easier to read. You will find the updated dashboard on the county’s Novel Corona Virus COVID-19 page under the “Cases in Placer” tab.  

One important change to the dashboard is how the number of confirmed cases are reported by day. Previously the number of cases per day was based on the day a case was reported to Public Health, but the new site reports the number of cases by the date the test was conducted. This update will more closely reflect the actual spread of COVID-19 in the community and also brings Placer County into line with methods used by many other California counties.

Another change you will see on the new dashboard is that cases are now identified by region based solely on zip code. The dashboard originally split Placer County into three regions, South Placer, Mid Placer, and East Placer, and in some instances zip codes crossed into multiple regions. Identifying cases by region based on zip code allows for greater efficiency and simplicity of reporting regional case information.

Finally, the updated dashboard includes additional tabs where specific data can be found. For example, information on cases broken down by region can be found on the ‘Cases by Zip Code’ tab. You can also toggle between the ‘Zip Code’ and ‘Region’ options on the map to see cases by zip code versus cases for each Placer County region.  Another important tab to be aware of is the ‘Data Notes’ tab, which contains definitions and information for the data presented, and this tab also includes answers to many questions about the data.

State Monitoring List
I have received a lot of questions regarding whether or not Placer County is still on the State’s COVID-19 Monitoring List. The answer is yes. Although our metric for hospitalizations fell below the State threshold for two days last week, our rate of new COVID-19 cases still exceeds the State threshold. Additionally, the California Department of Public Health has stated that once a county is placed on the Monitoring List, indoor business operations will continue to be restricted until the order is amended or rescinded by the State health officer – not just until that county is removed from the Monitoring List. 

At our meeting on July 28 the Board of Supervisors asked the Public Health Officer to address this requirement with the State, as businesses in the county should be permitted to resume indoor operations, using physical distancing and requirements for face coverings, if our numbers drop below the threshold for the Monitoring List. The state’s order does allow for schools in counties that are on the Monitoring List to resume in-person instruction once county metrics fall below Monitoring List thresholds for 3 consecutive days and remain below thresholds for 14 additional consecutive days.

Looking Ahead
I will continue to encourage people to wear their face coverings and practice physical distancing. We do not know how long this will go on, but we need to find a way to balance public health and safety with a sustained economy. I am confident we can do this by working together and focusing on our common goals.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

– Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Placer County approves alcohol ban in two locations

The Placer County Board of Supervisors this week approved ordinances restricting alcohol in two separate locations in Placer County. At its July 27 meeting the Board extended the Truckee River alcohol ban until October 15, and on July 28 the Board approved and alcohol ban at the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn. Find more information about these Board actions in our online newsroom

 


 

Board of Supervisors renews CAL FIRE contract

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution today authorizing a $13.6 million CAL FIRE contract, which includes first-time funding for a new fire marshal and provides fire service and medical response to nearly one-third of the county. CAL FIRE has been acting as the Placer County Fire Department for nearly 50 years under a cooperative fire protection reimbursement agreement. Learn more

 


 

Eligible small businesses and nonprofits may begin applying for grant funding Aug. 25

Beginning Aug. 25, eligible small businesses and non-profit organizations in Placer County can begin applying for Placer Shares grant funding to offset impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting state shutdown order. Learn more

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | July 24

Placer County District 5 Newsletter | July 24

Safely Support Local Business

We are all struggling to get through this crisis, and as we have seen, some people have been impacted more than others. Many of the people who are being hit the hardest by the effects of COVID-19 are the owners or employees of locally-owned small businesses. The good news is there are things we can do to help support our local businesses, even if we can’t do so in the same way we used to.

Many restaurants are offering their full or modified menu for pick up or delivery, so if you are able to do so, order take out and let someone else do the cooking a couple of nights a week. This is a safe way to support your favorite local restaurants and take a little bit of the load off of yourself. You can also dine in – outside – as many restaurants have adapted to outdoor seating and reservation-only dining to meet current guidelines issued by the state.

If you need a little retail therapy, many stores have reopened for business, so be sure to wear your mask and maintain the appropriate distance between yourself and other shoppers. Many stores are also limiting the number of people permitted in at one time and offering curbside pick up or delivery in order to ensure the safety of their customers.

There are also plenty of service providers who have adapted their operations to allow for virtual sessions or classes, including yoga instructors, therapists, financial planners and even music teachers. You can purchase gift cards, post about a positive experience with a local business on social media, and tip service providers extra. Anything we can do to help our local businesses will benefit our community by keeping the economy afloat.

Businesses are taking extra steps to ensure we can safely visit them.

Here in District 5 our business organizations have compiled helpful information on which local establishments and service providers are up and running. The Colfax Chamber of Commerce has created a list of businesses with information on what services are currently being provided. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce also put together a working list of restaurants that are  open for business, with information on hours and available services. You can also visit Auburn’s Downtown Business Association and Old Town Business Association websites for a list of open businesses. The Foresthill Divide Chamber of Commerce has also posted a list of open businesses on its website.  

If you are considering heading up to the mountains, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association has created a Safe Travel page on its website, which includes COVID-friendly itineraries and information on the Mask Up Tahoe campaign.

For information on businesses in our smaller communities such as Meadow Vista, Applegate, and the Alta/Dutch Flat area be sure to look at social media sites specific to those areas as that is often the best way to find up-to-date information.

Signs like this help businesses inform the public about their efforts to keep customers safe.

Finally, one of the most important ways we can support our local businesses is to adhere to guidelines and respect their requirements that you wear a mask and practice social distancing. Remember we are all in this together and anything we can do to help our local businesses succeed will help all of us in the long run.

Upcoming Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Board of Supervisors meet on Monday, July 27 and Tuesday, July 28. The Board Chambers continues to be closed to public attendance, but the public may participate online or via telephone.

Monday’s meeting begins at 1pm and is a Special Meeting focused largely on Tahoe-area items and updates, including an update on the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association’s response to COVID-19, a proposed Workforce Housing Preservation Program and a proposed amendment to the North Lake Tahoe Economic Development Incentive Program. At Monday’s meeting the Board of Supervisors will also consider an Urgency Ordinance to ban alcohol on portions of the Truckee River from July 27 to October 15.

On Tuesday the Board’s regular meeting begins at 9am and we have a full agenda including an ordinance aimed at banning alcohol within the Placer County Government Center, allocation of CARES Act funds, and an update from Placer County Public Health Officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson on COVID-19. Please take a look at the agenda, which also provides information on how to participate in the meeting.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.

– Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor

 


Guidance for outdoor operation of personal services

The California Department of Public Health released additional guidance this week for some personal services to begin outdoor operations; including hair, massage, nail and skin care services. They also offered new guidance to help restaurants adapt to providing outdoor dining service. Find all the latest reopening guidance on our Reopen Placer website

 


 

Negative COVID-19 test not required for return to work

Placer County Public Health has announced that employees diagnosed with COVID-19 do not need to be retested after their initial positive test. Instead, following guidelines from the CDC, someone with COVID-19 can return to work using criteria based on time and symptoms. This will help keep testing available for those who need it most. Learn more

 


 

Senior peer counseling program available

Are you 55 years or older, and feel like you could use someone to talk to who really understands what you are going through? Senior Peer Counseling is a free, voluntary, peer support program for Placer County residents aged 55 years or older, who are dealing with age-related adjustment issues.

COVID-19 is not slowing us down! We are currently providing services via phone and accepting new client referrals. Learn more

 


 

Contact information:

 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603 

Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@placer.ca.gov

District Director Lindsay Romack: lromack@placer.ca.gov

District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.ca.gov

Temporary Assistant District Aide Judy Friedman: jfriedman@placer.ca.gov