Glenn County not eager to improve East Park, Stony Gorge facilities
Glenn County is not eager to spend money on improving recreational facilities at East Park or Stony Gorge reservoirs, and appears ready to leave that up to Colusa County.
"We don't have to be involved," Glenn County Supervisor Steve Soeth said at the board meeting on Tuesday. "There is nothing to stop the Orland Unit Water Users and Colusa County from going ahead on their own."
Soeth noted Glenn County benefits primarily from the water in Stony Gorge Reservoir, while Colusa County benefits the most from recreation opportunities at East Park Reservoir.
Colusa County Supervisor Gary Evans attended the meeting and believed the Glenn board is split, and understands the supervisors' position.
However, he also believes there is an obligation to protect the businesses that rely on the revenue generated by use of the lakes — upward of $1.5 million according to a study Colusa County had done.
"It is my position we have some responsibility there to keep the money coming to the merchants," Evans said in a phone interview Friday.
Evans' biggest concern is if the Orland Unit Water Users Association is successful in getting title to the reservoirs from the federal government that they will just lock up access.
The association has made it very clear it does not want to operate recreational facilities, current or improved, as being proposed.
Evans said that means Colusa County needs to find away to take on that responsibility through a joint powers agreement or some other avenue.
Colusa County hired consultant Scott Lampier with Parsons Brinkerhoff to do a feasibility study on improving recreational opportunities at the two reservoirs, and in turn, creating additional revenue for the counties.
The original idea was that Colusa and Glenn counties would share in the cost and the benefits.
East Park is in Colusa County, while Stony Gorge is in Glenn County, although East Park provides the biggest opportunity.
Both reservoirs have some boat ramps and camping sites, but Stony Gorge is less developed.
Capital improvements to the reservoirs could range from $379,000 to $1.63 million during the first year, Lampier added, depending on what kind of new facilities the counties want to put in.
A study presented to the Colusa County Board of Supervisors indicates that a survey of people who go to the lakes are willing to pay additional fees for improvements and added services — between $5 and $24 depending on the improvements and new facilities.
According to the study, operational costs would exceed current revenue, so a fee increase would have to cover those annual expenses as well as the improvement costs.
Officials anticipate whatever fees are generated will need to offset the costs of improvements, and officials have said there may be grant funding available to help, although Glenn County officials are not convinced the federal money will be available — especially in the wake of the across-the-board federal budget cuts happening now.
It is something that Glenn and Colusa officials have been working on since late 2011, and Colusa County has been in talks with the US Bureau of Reclamation about taking over the recreation facilities at East Park.