Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, May 14 @ 4 p.m. / Community, Economy

Three County Supervisors Keep Tri-Agency On Life Support, Agree To Joint Meeting With City, Harbor

The Tri-Agency consists of the city, county and harbor district.


Tri-Agency May Dissolve; Board Agrees On Joint Meeting With City, County, Harbor To Decide


Three Del Norte County supervisors were unwilling to call a time of death on the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority, voting Tuesday to hold a meeting with the agency’s other members to decide its future.

But one supervisor, District 2 representative Valerie Starkey, questioned the purpose, pointing out that the county is still at an impasse with Crescent City and the Crescent City Harbor District over the Tri-Agency’s bylaws.

Starkey and her District 4 colleague Joey Borges voted against holding a joint meeting of the joint powers authority’s member agencies.

“We’re still at a standstill,” Starkey said. “We wouldn’t, at this joint meeting, reintroduce that without all the steps necessary — suspend the rules, [have] a motion to reconsider — things we have already had four or five bites at the apple on.”

Del Norte County has been at odds with Crescent City and the harbor since January over an exclusionary clause concerning offshore wind energy that was inserted into the Tri-Agency’s joint powers agreement.

The clause states that the Tri-Agency “shall not support or pursue activities involving the offshore generation of wind energy.” County supervisors approved the bylaws with the exclusionary clause at their Jan. 23 meeting.

In February, both the Crescent City Council and the Harbor District Board of Commissioners approved the bylaws without the offshore wind energy exclusionary clause.

On May 2, rather than vote to dissolve the Tri-Agency its board decided that all three member agencies should have a chance to weigh in.

According to Board of Supervisors Chairman Dean Wilson, the suggestion of the joint meeting came from District 3 Supervisor Chris Howard who did not want to “disenfranchise the other three members of our Board.”

County Counsel Jacqueline Roberts, who attended the May 2 meeting, said a joint meeting could be a chance for each agency to explain to the other why they voted the way they did.

“The other two agencies hearing what the county’s perspective is in regards to the bylaws — perhaps that would prompt them to look at what they had done and come back with something different,” Roberts said. “But the chair has taken the position that you guys have already voted on the bylaws and in order to bring them back, you would have to go through that three-part motion — that three-part suspending the rules, which didn’t seem to gain any steam the last time.”

Starkey said Tri-Agency representatives should pass along the JPA board’s collective viewpoint to each member agency and that compromises should happen at the Tri-Agency meetings.

Though he acknowledged that neither side is willing to budge on the issue and he himself was a vocal opponent, District 1 Supervisor Darrin Short said there may be other information that would allow the city, county and harbor to have a fruitful discussion.

“I’ve had two occasions now where people that are supposed to be in the know are telling us offshore wind is coming whether you like it or not. The feds are pushing it. You don’t have any control over it at the local level,” Short said. “Hearing that, and maybe with the city and the harbor hearing that, maybe we can have some fruitful discussion [and] find a happy medium.”

County resident Sam Strait said he was at the meeting last year when the three member agencies decided to resurrect the Tri-Agency even though 30 members of the public were opposed. Strait also countered the assertion from Howard, who has said that the Tri-Agency is an integral economic driver for Del Norte County.

“I beg to differ with him,” Strait said. “Other than a couple of one-off government projects, which now have come back to bite us, the Tri-Agency didn’t do a whole lot for this county. And here you are … you want to get together and stir the pot again. It seems a little bit ludicrous particularly when you’re battling against a public that says, ‘No.’”

The Tri-Agency was created to help Del Norte County recover from the 1964 tsunami. The JPA’s members have been trying to reboot it for about two years, paying off a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan the agency had defaulted on and contributing funding toward the Tri-Agency.

While they didn’t vote to dissolve the agency on May 2, Tri-Agency members agreed to return the city’s contribution of $30,000 and the harbor’s $10,000 contribution. According to Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore, the county had already asked for its $70,000 contribution back.


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