​​These are the Summaries, Findings, Commendations, Recommendations, and Requests for Responses only. For the full Report, click here. Alternatively, all of the full Reports including this one can be found on the Shasta County Grand Jury's website here.

 
2013-14 Cover
 

Looking Back...

Responses to the Shasta County Grand Jury Report Fiscal Year 2012-2013

SUMMARY

This report addresses the responses received to the findings and recommendations concerning the investigations completed and published by the 2012-2013 Grand Jury. Section 933 of the California Penal Code requires that responses to the final report of a Grand Jury be submitted to the court no later than 90 days after the report’s release to the public if the respondent is a governing body or 60 days if the respondent is an elected official. The responses must be sent to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.

FINDINGS

None.

RECOMMENDATIONS

None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

 

Not in my backyard!

Code Violation Management

SUMMARY


The Shasta County Grand Jury received a complaint regarding the ability of Shasta County to enforce its Medical Marijuana Ordinance and the untimeliness of the County to follow up on building and land use code violations. After we began an investigation, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors revised the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance. Subsequently, the revised ordinance qualified for a ballot measure. To avoid any involvement in the political process, the Grand Jury limited its investigation to general code enforcement for land use and building violations.


As of March 25, 2014, there were 1,728 open and unresolved building and land use code enforcement cases dating back to 1997. This report highlights the need for increased management and oversight of code enforcement. Based on complaints and news articles, the Grand Jury became concerned that the County does not effectively enforce its adopted rules and regulations. Our recommendations include the establishment of protocols and procedures to address the backlog and to manage the current and future workload.

FINDINGS


The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the lack of timely application of the County’s current code enforcement process has contributed to the existing backlog of cases. As of March 25, 2014, the County has a backlog of 1,728 building and land use code violations, of which 611 are over ten years old;

F2. there is a lack of specific timelines for the steps within the code enforcement process (Figure 1). As a result, the County does not conduct timely follow-up action to move cases to conclusion;

F3. the County’s permit tracking system (Permits Plus) is not providing enough information to clearly understand the type and the nature of the violations occurring within the County or which open cases still need remediation;

F4. the Board of Supervisors cannot provide effective oversight of the code enforcement process because it does not receive written reports regarding code enforcement activities and statistics; and

F5. the total cost of code enforcement is not clear from the County Budget.


RECOMMENDATIONS


The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. the County develop a focus and commitment to resolving the backlog of existing violations by adopting a policy within 90 days that will require Resource Management staff to evaluate and prioritize violations;

R2. the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive Officer and the Director of Resource Management work together to establish specific timelines for implementation of code enforcement measures, and that this be accomplished by January 1, 2015;

R3. the County assess the capabilities of its current permit tracking system to determine if it is able to allow managerial oversight of the code violation process. If it is found inadequate, Resource Management staff submit to the Board of Supervisors a proposal to obtain an appropriate permit tracking software system for consideration as part of the budget process. This software should include the ability for staff in all affected departments to view outstanding violations prior to building and land use permits being issued;

R4. a quarterly written report be submitted to the County Executive Officer and the Board of Supervisors, beginning October 1, 2014, showing the progress made on resolving the backlog of violations. An annual written report be submitted to the County Board of Supervisors and County Executive Officer, prior to budget consideration, classifying the nature and type of violations and backlogs of cases; and

R5. beginning in Fiscal Year 2014-2015, there be separate cost accounting of both expenditures and revenues associated with code enforcement so that the true cost to the general public and County may be calculated, including the costs from all departments that are involved in code enforcement activities.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1 through F5

R1 through R5


County Executive Officer (invited):

F1 through F5

R1 through R5


Director of Resource Management (invited):

F1 through F5

R1 through R5

 

Wheels on the Bus

Redding Area Bus Authority

SUMMARY

For many people in Shasta County, the Redding Area Bus Authority (RABA) is an essential service upon which they rely for daily transportation or for transportation to obtain needed services. This report provides an overview of RABA, explores issues RABA faces today and makes recommendations regarding board meeting schedules, citizen participation, use of technology, exploring partnerships, and posting of bus schedules.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. because 52% of the regular Board meetings are cancelled, the public’s ability to monitor RABA Board activity is compromised;

F2. RABA does not have broad based citizen input to reflect the community as a whole;

F3. the on-time tracking of buses is done by the bus operator and is not verified by RABA;

F4. there is potential for greater coordination of Demand Response type services within Shasta County and potential for partnerships with buses running along state highways from out of county;

F5. bus schedules and route maps were not available to the extent stated on the RABA website which inhibits casual ridership and ability of riders to use the system;

F6. RABA cannot keep pace with operating cost increases without increasing ridership, raising rates, cutting service or a combination of these actions; and

F7. RABA continues to look for efficiencies in operating its Fixed Routes.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. RABA change its by-laws to hold bi-monthly or quarterly meetings;

R2. whenever route changes are proposed, or at least every two or three years, RABA appoint an ad hoc committee representing business, social service agencies, riders, non-riders, and governmental agencies to review community issues related to RABA over a set time period. This committee’s membership should reflect the divergent views of the community as a whole, not just riders and social service agencies, and provide a public forum for discussion of RABA issues and possible changes;

R3. RABA incorporate GPS technology to track buses for on-time performance before the next bus operator contract extension;

R4. RABA develop partnerships that benefit RABA and its customers in the areas of Demand Response and regional bus service with SRTA that could help reduce operating costs;

R5. within one year, RABA needs to have bus arrival times posted at locations used by its riders and update the information on locations stated on the website where schedules and maps are available and insure distribution of and post schedules and maps at service agencies, schools, high volume rider destinations and transit stops; and

R6. RABA explore partnerships to help increase ridership.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

RABA Board:

F1 through F6

R1 through R6

 

Calling all cars....

Calls for Police Service and Response

SUMMARY

The Grand Jury investigated the process and protocols regarding how calls for services are received from citizens and the resulting response by the Redding and Anderson Police Departments. This report is limited to these two police departments. We received complaints stating that some calls do not result in a response and/or a report being written. Included in the investigation was how the Shasta Area Safety Communications Agency (SHASCOM) interacts with and manages calls from the public to the Redding Police Department (RPD) and the Anderson Police Department (APD).


It was found that the length of time it takes an officer to arrive on the scene after a call for service is received is the result of:

  • the policies and procedures employed by SHASCOM as established by the local police departments involved;

  • the number of calls directed to the officer at any given time;

  • the availability of officers; and

  • the nature of the incident.


For the public who need to report a crime but do not require personal contact by an officer, RPD developed an “online reporting” system to report non-emergency incidents. This enables the public to report non-emergency incidents that they want logged or investigated at the RPD police website: www.reddingpolice.org. [Editor's note: we have updated this link to take you to the current Redding Police Department web page, which has since been organized under the City of Redding's website.]


Law enforcement personnel stated that the computer system presently used to gather and analyze crime statistics cannot interpret all the information currently available to enable optimal use of staff and resources. RPD and APD are currently developing a joint proposal to acquire a modern system which would allow for better collection of crime data and more efficient use of police resources. We also found that the volume of calls received by SHASCOM does not correspond to the crime statistics publicly reported by the Bureau of Crime Statistics. This is because the Bureau of Crime Statistics only reports specific types of crimes.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the Redding and Anderson Police Departments are unable to fully utilize available crime information because of the limitations of their present computer system; and

F2. the response time for 911 calls in Redding and Anderson depends on the nature and volume of the calls, officer availability, and the response priorities established by the Redding and Anderson police departments.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. Redding and Anderson Police Departments should continue to explore avenues to improve upon present crime analysis capabilities through grant applications under AB 109 as funds are available.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

Anderson City Council:

F1

R1


Redding City Council:

F1

R1

Anderson Chief of Police (invited):

F1

R1


Redding Chief of Police (invited):

F1

R1

 

Open Parks - Closed Meetings

Calls for Police Service and Response

SUMMARY

In August 2013, the Redding City Council considered a proposal regarding development impact fees, including a proposal to increase the Park Development Fee from $3,996 to $6,773 for a typical new single family residential development and $3,115 to $5,403 for a typical multi-family dwelling for new residential development. The proposed increase did not pass and the fees were left at the existing level. This report focuses on Redding’s Park Development Fee. Other development impact fees are addressed in a separate report issued by this Grand Jury.


The “Development Impact Mitigation Fee Nexus Study Assumptions and Methodology Report” dated August 20, 2013, prepared for the city by two private consulting firms found that Redding’s current Park Development Fee is not high enough to maintain the adopted Level-of-Service (LOS) of 7.04 acres of parkland per 1,000 city residents. Accordingly, keeping the fee at the current level will result in a decrease of the existing LOS park space if population growth continues and as development occurs.


The Shasta County Grand Jury examined the funding methodology and funding sources necessary to maintain the August 2013 LOS. We also investigated City staff’s appointment of individuals to an ad hoc Advisory Group which gave input and recommendations to the City Council about park funding. We concluded that the ad hoc Advisory Group’s activities were duplicative, as the Community Services Advisory Committee (CSAC), established by the Redding Municipal Code, has the authority to provide input and make recommendations regarding park funding. We also found that the ad hoc Advisory Group’s meetings were not noticed or open to the public. In addition, we concluded that the Master Plan Goal of 10 acres per 1,000 city residents is not supported, and that the City needs to consider supplementing its existing park fees from other new sources.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the current City of Redding Park and Recreation Facilities Impact Fees will not financially support the LOS of 7.04 acres per 1,000 residents in the future;

F2. if the park development fee stays at its current level, the LOS will decline as the population increases and residential development continues;

F3. the City of Redding is not supporting the 2004 Park Master Plan Goal of 10 acres per 1,000 residents;

F4. a fee assessed on non-residential development would be an additional funding source to support and prevent decline of the current LOS and reduce the burden on residential development;

F5. the Community Service Advisory Committee has specific powers established in the Redding Municipal Code for making recommendations regarding city park funding. City staff selected an additional volunteer committee (the ad hoc Advisory Group) which duplicated a function of CSAC and resulted in different input and recommendations to the City Council; and

F6. city staff appointed an ad hoc Advisory Group that was not subject to the Brown Act to review five development impact fees that affect City residents.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. the City Council adopt fees to support the City’s current LOS of 7.04 acres per 1,000 residents;

R2. the City Council consider maintaining its current LOS through the Park Development Fee from new development to prevent decline in the LOS;

R3. as part of the Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan ten year review in 2014 the City Council adopt a plan that can be realistically funded by the City;

R4. the City Council implement a non-residential park development impact fee to support the current LOS in order to share the cost burden with residential development;

R5. staff-appointed committees do not duplicate the role of standing committees appointed by the City Council; and

R6. any committee having input to the City Council regarding impact fees be formally approved by City Council and subject to the Brown Act to allow for public participation and transparency in local government.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

Redding City Council:

F1 through F6

R1 through R6

Redding City Manager (invited):

F1 through F6

R1 through R6

 

Price of Admission

Comparison of Building Permit Fees

SUMMARY

The Shasta County Grand Jury investigated the disparity in development and building fees charged for the same services by the cities of Anderson, Redding and Shasta Lake. These fees include the costs for building permits, traffic impacts, water and sewer connections, park development, storm drains and water meters. The park development fees for the City of Redding are discussed at length in a separate report by this Grand Jury.


Each city sets and imposes its own development and building fees. All three cities provided the Grand Jury with the schedule of fees that would be imposed for the construction of identical single family dwellings (2,100 square feet, 3 bedroom/2 baths with an attached 20' x 20' garage). These fees vary considerably from city to city.


The Grand Jury reviewed the information provided by the cities, and determined that the data supported the various fees. We also determined that there was a structured decision making process utilized in each of the three cities that resulted in adoption of their fee schedules.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the differences among the various development and building fees charged by the cities of Redding, Anderson and Shasta Lake were justified by well documented factors; and

F2. a structured decision making process was followed by all three cities.

RECOMMENDATIONS

None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

 

Not Your Ordinary Bracelet

SUMMARY

The Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 (Assembly Bill 109) began assigning the custody and supervision of certain felons released from state prisons to their home counties in October 2011. Those who break the conditions of their post-release supervision or commit a new crime may then be incarcerated in the county jail which can result in overcrowding. When this occurs, inmates must be released to comply with maximum incarceration levels. One remedy that allows these felons to remain supervised is the use of electronic Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) monitored ankle bracelets.


The Shasta County Grand Jury found positive results in the County’s use of GPS monitored ankle bracelets.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. electronic monitoring is increasing attendance at court hearings and work release assignments for those wearing the ankle bracelets.

RECOMMENDATIONS

None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

 

Incarceration in Shasta County

Shasta County Jail
Sugar Pine Conservation Camp
Shasta County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility

SUMMARY

The Grand Jury is authorized under Penal Code sections 919 and 925 to inquire into the management and condition of local prisons, jails and other correctional facilities located within the county. The purpose of these inquiries is to determine the safety and security in operating those facilities and to ensure inmates are treated in a safe and humane manner. In Shasta County, those facilities include the Shasta County Jail and the Sugar Pine Conservation Camp, a prison jointly administered by the State of California Department of Corrections, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire (Cal Fire). This report details the findings and recommendations made regarding each of those facilities. In addition, the Grand Jury toured the new Shasta County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility but did not feel a formal inspection was appropriate, as Shasta County Probation staff were in transition to their new facility at the time this report was written.


SHASTA COUNTY JAIL

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. There are no educational services available for illiterate inmates.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. The Shasta County jail administration should determine within the next 60 days of the issuance of this report if there is a need for educational services targeting illiterate inmates. If so, the program should be put in place by October 1, 2014.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

Shasta County Sheriff:

F1

R1

Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1

R1

SUGAR PINE CONSERVATION CAMP

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. Sugar Pine Conservation Camp provides an opportunity for low-level inmates to acquire skills to enable them to transition to the workplace after release;

F2. Sugar Pine Conservation Camp provides a desirable environment when compared to state prisons, and prison inmates recognize that it is a privilege to be there.

RECOMMENDATIONS

None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

SHASTA COUNTY JUVENILE REHABILITATION FACILITY

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the mission of the new Shasta County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility is to focus on long-term outcomes and to transition from incarceration to rehabilitation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

 

Final Observation

Shasta County Coroner's Office

SUMMARY

At the request of the Shasta County Sheriff/Coroner, the Grand Jury may provide a minimum of two Grand Jury members to attend death inquests and autopsies. The Grand Jury participates in these proceedings in order to enhance the transparency of the proceedings and to ensure full disclosure of the findings related to the deaths of inmates who have died while in custody or for individuals who have succumbed while interacting with law enforcement personnel.


At the time this report was written the Grand Jury had observed two autopsies, both conducted on behalf of Shasta County by the California Forensics Medical Group. The autopsies took place in the Yolo County Coroner’s Office. There is a standard process that is followed in the case of autopsies. The Grand Jury members observed this process and concluded that law enforcement and medical staff conducted themselves professionally, and the deceased were treated with respect and dignity throughout the entire process.


This report details our findings and makes recommendations regarding the process.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the procedures utilized in the Yolo County facility, which do not allow the persons in the observation room to hear what is being said in the autopsy room do not align with Shasta County’s autopsy protocols. This hindered observers from fully understanding the procedures that were being conducted and the findings that were made during the autopsy;

F2. observers were not made aware of an option to view the autopsy from inside the examination room; and

F3. the attendance by Grand Jury members at these autopsy procedures assures transparency, accountability and due process.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. the Shasta County Sheriff/Coroner ensure that audio is present in all observation rooms where autopsies are being performed on behalf of Shasta County;

R2. the Shasta County Sheriff/Coroner ensure that observers are given the option of staying in the examination room with the medical examiner or observing from the observation room during autopsies performed on behalf of Shasta County.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

Shasta County Sheriff/Coroner:

F1, F2

R1, R2

Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1, F2

R1, R2

 

An Evolving Mission in a Changing County

Volunteer Fire Companies

SUMMARY

Volunteer Fire Service (VFS) in Shasta County was investigated by the Grand Jury in 2006-2007 and 2011-12. Both reports indicated that a variety of problems negatively affect the functioning of volunteer fire companies in the county, including difficulties in recruiting and retaining volunteers. These ongoing problems call into question the premise that volunteers can be the primary and timely resource for the suppression of structure fires and the provision of emergency medical response in the rural areas of the county. Rural area fire protection is not just for the residents of rural areas; it also benefits visitors vacationing in these areas and the traveling public who use federal, state or county roads.


The current Grand Jury wanted to know if changes made by Shasta County after the last Grand Jury report had mitigated the concerns identified in the two earlier reports. We found that the volunteer service continues to be adversely impacted by diminishing response capacity. Shasta County needs to face the possibility that in some areas of the County, the volunteer fire service may become unable to fulfill its purpose, resulting in a greater need for paid fire personnel unless rural areas are ready to accept lower service expectations. Therefore, Shasta County should plan to develop and implement an alternate system of emergency service for those unincorporated areas that rely on volunteer fire response for initial fire and medical emergency response that will include paid personnel in key locations.


In 2014, the Board of Supervisors and the residents of the unincorporated area will be considering the big picture of volunteer emergency fire and medical response service with the development of a new Master Fire Plan. The choice for the County will be to either get in front of the topic by proactive planning or continue to react to the problems associated with the current system. The County and the Shasta County Fire Department need to involve the people dependent upon these services and the service providers to build community support for creating an improved system. It won’t be easy, but if ever there were an opportunity to formulate a new direction, the development of a new Master Fire Plan would be the vehicle.


The role of the Grand Jury is not to set policy for the County; however, we feel strongly that with the development of a new Master Fire Plan, the Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to set policy for the next ten years to ensure that Shasta County Fire is being operated so that funding is stable and sufficient, expectations versus reality are understood and a minimum level of protection is provided for the resident, visitor or traveler.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. the development and consideration of a Master Fire Plan can provide a forum for the community and County staff to discuss emergency fire and medical response expectations, realities and opportunities for the area served by Shasta County Fire.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Grand Jury recommends that:

R1. Shasta County use the development and consideration of a Master Fire Plan by July 1, 2015 as a vehicle to explore any or all of the issues, problems and options outlined in this report on the future of Shasta County Fire.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1

R1

Shasta County Executive Office (invited):

F1

R1

Shasta County Fire Chief (invited):

F1

R1

 

GRAND total:

Audit and Finance

SUMMARY

Penal Code section 925 requires the Grand Jury to annually examine the accounts and records of Shasta County, while Government Code section 25250 requires the Board of Supervisors to conduct an annual audit of all County accounts. The audit itself is conducted by a “contract auditor” pursuant to Government Code section 31000. Oversight is provided by a Joint Audit Committee, comprised of members of the Grand Jury, County financial/audit staff, elected officials, County administrative staff and County Counsel.


The Grand Jury reviewed the fiscal year 2012-2013 audit report in which no exceptions or findings were noted by the contract auditor.

FINDINGS

The Grand Jury finds that:

F1. concurred with the conclusion of Gallina, LLP’s 2012-2013 audit that the County is performing its financial duties in an acceptable manner;

F2. found that its budget to actual accounting information and charges to these accounts are correct and complete.

F3. found that all grand jury per diem and mileage reports and the associated charges reviewed are accurate and complete.

RECOMMENDATIONS

None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

 

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