Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, June 18 @ 4:14 p.m.

Though A Technicality At This Point, Crescent City's Tri-Agency Termination Vote Was Not Unanimous

The Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority included the city, county and harbor district.


Unable To Agree On Offshore Wind Energy Issue, Del Norte County Supervisors, Crescent City Harbor Vote To Terminate Tri-Agency


Nearly a week after their counterparts at the county and harbor district dissolved the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority, Crescent City councilors followed suit at the advice of their lawyer.

Pointing out that a joint powers authority can’t exist with only one entity, City Attorney Martha Rice advised councilors on Monday to agree to the mutual termination of the Tri-Agency. This is one of two methods outlined in the Tri-Agency’s joint powers agreement for dissolution, she said.

Rice noted that on June 11, a motion from Mayor Blake Inscore to dissolve the Tri-Agency had died due to the lack of a second. This means the city is the only agency that hasn’t agreed on the Tri-Agency’s mutual termination, she said.

“Under a mutual termination it will be the responsibility of all the agencies to come up with a way to pay the outstanding liabilities and/or debts and costs of winding up,” she said. “Under a unilateral withdrawal, where an agency is required to give 180 days notice, the withdrawing agencies are by agreement not liable for any of the debts or liabilities, only the remaining agencies that make up the Tri-Agency would be responsible. I think it would be in the city’s best interest to make it clear what path we’re moving forward on.”

Councilors on Monday voted 3-2 in favor of the mutual termination of the Tri-Agency. Councilors Kelly Schellong and Jason Greenough dissented.

Schellong and Greenough allowed Inscore’s June 11 motion to terminate the Tri-Agency to die by staying silent. On Monday, they mourned the inability of the three member agencies to work together.

“I’ve always thought the Tri-Agency had a lot of power to do good for our community. And what better way to do that than to have all three entities have one voice to work towards that,” Schellong said. “Obviously it’s not going to work out. I was disappointed.”

It was an exclusionary clause prohibiting the Tri-Agency from supporting or pursuing activities related to offshore wind energy development that led to the impasse between the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, the Crescent City Council and harbor commissioners.

That exclusionary clause was inserted into the joint powers agreement in January at the request of county supervisors Joey Borges and Darrin Short.

On June 11, that impasse continued even after Kevin Hendrick, chairman of the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee, suggested a modification that would have required each member agency to vote before the Tri-Agency took a policy position regarding offshore wind energy development.

With its president Harry Adams, absent, the Crescent City Harbor District Board deadlocked over the issue. This ultimately led to the Board of Supervisors and harbor commission voting to terminate the Tri-Agency.

Following the decision on June 11 to terminate the Tri-Agency, the discussion turned to divvying up the expenses related to a lawsuit against the joint powers authority by county resident Linda Sutter.

On Monday, Sutter said her lawsuit will remain open until all three member agencies agree to terminate the Tri-Agency. According to her, those agreements have to be filed with the California Secretary of State and the State Controller’s Office for her lawsuit to end.

On June 11, the Tri-Agency’s attorney, Bob Black, said the costs associated with finalizing the litigation and dissolving the agency is about $15,000 total.

According to the city’s staff report on Monday, the approximate cost to the city is about $5,000.

Greenough lamented that the Tri-Agency is ending because the city, county and harbor couldn’t agree on language in a memorandum of understanding. He said he was looking forward to resurrecting an entity that had been beneficial, but had floundered for a decade.

“We got caught in the weeds at that meeting and it’s unfortunate and frustrating,” he said. “My hope in the future is we are able and willing as the largest public organizations in the community to come together and figure out what we want to do to promote economic development together.”

The Tri-Agency was created in 1975 to help the community continue to recover after the 1964 tsunami. Before last week’s meeting, the Tri-Agency Board had agreed to return the $110,000 in contributions each member agency kicked in to resurrect the joint powers authority.


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