Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, May 28 @ 4:46 p.m. / Infrastructure, Local Government

Del Norte Search & Rescue, Boating Division Get New Home

County supervisors agreed to use Measure R dollars to put a new roof over Del Norte Search and Rescue.

Though he couldn’t make Tuesday’s meeting, Sheriff Garrett Scott asked supervisors to allocate Measure R money toward the rental-lease of a new facility for Search and Rescue and his boating safety division.

Neither has the funds available for renting a facility, Scott told supervisors in a letter April 29. He also requested an additional $2,000 to cover unforeseen maintenance and miscellaneous costs associated with the transition.

“Boating Safety lost their secured storage area at the Harbor,” Scott said in his letter, “and soon, Search and Rescue will be displaced by the Emergency Shelter and Micro-Village (sic) that will be constructed at William’s Drive.”

According to the county’s staff report, Scott worked with administration, Building Maintenance, Risk Management and County Counsel to find a suitable space that meets the needs of both divisions. They entered into a rental agreement with the Lovaas Family Trust owner of the property at 233 E. Washington Boulevard, which supervisors approved on May 14.

The 7,000 square-foot property was once rented by California Auto Image. According to the staff report accompanying the rental agreement, the structure would provide storage space as well as a place for the SAR team to meet.

According to Tuesday’s staff report, the estimated cost for the first year is $38,000, which includes $2,000 in one-time set-up costs and $3,000 per month rent “and other associated monthly costs.”
In the second year of the rental agreement, the estimated cost will be between $36,000 and $40,000, according to Tuesday’s staff report.

Measure R is the 1 percent sales tax Del Norte County voters approved in 2020. Those dollars go toward law enforcement, emergency dispatch, disaster response services, code enforcement, animal services, veterans services and capital improvements, according to the county’s website.

On Tuesday, Linda Sutter, who ran unsuccessfully to represent District 5 on the Board of Supervisors, said Search & Rescue was a nonprofit, which means neither she nor other members of the public have access to their financials.

“Measure R passed by 2-3rds of the vote,” she told supervisors. “Did any of you read the sample ballot of what you were passing?”

In 2022, Sutter and others opposed to the tax measure attempted to repeal Measure R.

In response to Sutter’s comments, County Administrative Officer Neal Lopez said while Del Norte County Search & Rescue is supported through a nonprofit “friends-of” group, it’s not a nonprofit. It’s the county’s responsibility to provide those services, he said.

District 2 Supervisor Valerie Starkey said there’s also a line item in the sheriff’s budget for Search and Rescue.


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