By Daniel Borsuk
The first shovel may not plunge into the ground for the expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir until 2022, but the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors have signed on to back state financing of the Contra Costa Water District’s reservoir project.
With District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia absent Tuesday, supervisors voted 3-0 as a consent item to send a letter of support for the reservoir to the California Water Commission to tap into 2014 voter approved $2.7 billion of state Proposition 1 funds so that the Contra Costa Water District can enlarge the reservoir’s capacity from 160,000-acre feet to 270,000-acre feet.
The Proposition 1 funding would pay 50 percent, or about $450 million of the estimated $900 million price tag with the CCWD and other participating water agencies and their customers picking up the construction price tag.
Although supervisors did not hear either opposition or support concerning their letter, the supervisors’ letter did acknowledge the reservoir project could present an environmental problem unless the CCWD takes action to address it.
Supervisors expect the CCWD to resolve an issue about a proposed alignment of the Transfer-Bethany Pipeline that could upset the environment to a portion of 13,000 acres to the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservation Plan, a state funded part of the Natural Community Conservation Plan. Contra Costa County and the cities of Brentwood, Clayton, Oakley and Pittsburg adopted the ECCC habitat conservation plan in 2007.
“Nothing has been decided on the pipeline’s alignment, “said CCWD Public Affairs Director Jennifer Allen. “We still have a lot of steps to go through including the pipeline alignment.”
“With this being a big rain year, I think this is a great thing to move forward on,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, whose District 3 encompasses much of Los Vaqueros Reservoir. “If we’re going to spend this kind of money, it’s better to build something that stores water during the rainy years.”
“This is an opportunity to invest against future droughts by adding to our water storage,” said board chair Federal Glover.
Supervisors Adopt New Cardroom License Ordinance
Supervisors also approved a cardroom ordinance that lays out a procedure to ensure that business operations are not interrupted following “an unforeseen event” including the death of the current licensee.
Under the new ordinance, the Sheriff’s Office is designated as the department responsible for licensing gambling establishments locally, is to be notified of the event within 10 days of the event occurrence and identify the appropriate party that should obtain a license. The successor party is required to obtain a license within 30 days of the event.
In Contra Costa County, the California Grand Casino at 5988 Pacheco Blvd. in Pacheco and the 19th Hole Casino and Lounge at 2746 W. Tregallas Road in Antioch are the only licensed cardrooms, according to the State Attorney General’s Office.
In other business, supervisors gave the green light for the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff to 21 Lehr Automated License Plate Readers for $225,000 for use in unincorporated Alamo to help curb property crimes.
Automated License Plate Readers
Installation of the Lehr ALPRs will begin at the end of August and should be completed in September, said Sheriff Lt. Jason Haynes of the Alamo Sheriff Office. The ALPRs will be installed at seven intersections.
Sheriff David Livingston said while a review of crime statistics in the Alamo area does not show a significant increase in reported crime over the last several years, “there was an increase in property crime and residential burglaries specifically in the Contra Costa central 680 corridor.”
The county will not pick a dime on the acquisition of the ALRs because the funds are donated through three private sources. One unnamed contributor donated $95,000. Members of the Alamo Police Services Advisory Committee are providing $50,000 and P-6 Alamo-Las Trampas has contributed $80,500.
Alamo will join Danville, Orinda, Lafayette, Clayton and Pittsburg that have Lehr ALPRs installed on city street intersections, Lt. Haynes said.
Lt. Haynes said the license plate readers have proven to work effectively in solving especially property crimes. He said the Sheriff’s Department has made 25 arrests in connection with Danville stolen vehicle heists over a 12-month period.