Lack of Board of Supervisors quorum causes loss for city

By From page A13 | July 12, 2013

The city of Placerville stood to save approximately $300,000 on the Western Placerville Interchanges Project, but because of an inability of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to achieve a voting quorum, that savings is a moot point.

“We can’t move this project forward, “said El Dorado County Supervisor Brian Veerkamp, who attended the July 9 Placerville City Council meeting. Veerkamp was responding to a question during public comment about whether the Board of Supervisors had been able to vote approval for a land transfer for the Western Placerville Interchanges Project which would save the city $300,000.

A change order in the Western Placerville Interchanges Project involved a slight relocation of  the onramp from Ray Lawyer Drive to Highway 50. “We saw that we wouldn’t need to build a retaining wall if we could get right of way land from the county,” said City Manager Cleve Morris.

The relocation involved access to a parcel of land owned by the county. The new location meets the slope requirement, meaning that the proposed retaining wall in the original plan would be unnecessary. The net savings to the project was about $300,000.

“Since this involved a transfer of land, it requires a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors,” said Morris.

At the June 25 Board of Supervisors meeting, the change order was on the agenda. Supervisor Ron Briggs recused himself from the vote as the project is adjacent to property he owns and Supervisor Brian Veerkamp recused himself from the vote because his brother is the contractor for the project. Supervisor Ray Nutting has been indicted by the Grand Jury for felony offenses and cannot vote on any project that is federally funded.

“We couldn’t even use the Rule of Necessity,” said Veerkamp. The Rule of Necessity comes into play when a quorum isn’t able to be formed and instead, straws are drawn. “Our county counsel ruled that the Rule of Necessity couldn’t be used in this case.”

This situation could happen again on the Western Placerville Interchanges Project, said Morris, if another 4/5 vote is required. “You’ll have to talk to the county about next steps,” said Morris. “We are back to the retaining wall.”

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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