At Tuesday’s Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting, Praxis CEO Michael Ort gave an update in the Digital 395 project that his company is overseeing.
Digital 395 is the infrastructure project expected to bring more broadband to the Eastern Sierra.
Ort reported that of the more than 600 miles of conduit that needs to be laid, 223 miles has been installed. Of the 84 project segments, 20 have been completed. Plus 135 miles of cable has been installed.
“You’ve got a lot of rock here,” Ort commented of the time-consuming drilling that the project workers have experienced.
When asked if thought he would make the July deadline this year, Ort said, “It’s going to be a close one, but I’m confident we’ll get the work done by the deadline.”
The deadline is tied to the project’s grant funding that was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the California Advanced Services Fund.
Treasury Oversight Committee
The Mono County Board of Supervisors is considering appointing a Treasury Oversight Committee, which would oversee investment policy at the County.
“They wouldn’t make the policy, they would just oversee it,” explained Rose Glazier, County Assistant Director of Finance, Treasurer/Tax Collector.
The Board, while receptive to the idea felt the conversation was premature.
“We need to get a CFO in place first and then review this,” said Board Chair Byng Hunt.
Supervisor Larry Johnston, who had asked for the discussion to be brought to the table, reminded the Board that he had questioned former Finance Director Brian Muir about the efficacy of Muir being the only person overseeing the County’s budget of $60 million-$70 million. “This needs to be done sooner rather than later for public transparency,” Johnston added on Tuesday. He conceded, however, to wait to make a decision until a new Finance Director or CFO was brought on board.
Heading to Vermont
After a lengthy discussion about the merits of the peer resort tour being planned by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the Mono County Board of Supervisors approved (4-1, with Supervisor Tim Fesko voting no) to allow Supervisor Larry Johnston as well as one staff member from the Economic Development Department to go on the trip on the County’s dime. Supervisor Tim Alpers will also be attending the trip, but he will pay for the trip out of his own pocket.
The Board decided to pay the entire amount of the trip for both Johnston and the staff member in order to avoid any conflict of interest with MMSA.
“We could run into gift limitation issues if MMSA picks up the entire bill,” said County Counsel Marshall Rudolph. The gift limitation applies to staff as well.
The purpose of the trip is to study other resorts to come up with redevelopment ideas for June Mountain.
With the approval, Hunt warned that the supervisors and staff attending should not “get carried away with the perspective of the Mountain. Look at how things can help the County. The Mountain wants buy in for what it wants to do but that may not be the best for the County.
“Until MMSA divest and we have competition between the two mountains, nothing is going to change,” he added.