The Barbed Wire - January 12, 2024

January 12, 2024
RCRC’s Rural Rundown of Governor Newsom’s 2024-25 Proposed Budget
Bill of the Week: Assembly Bill 817 (Pacheco) - Open Meetings: Teleconferencing: Subsidiary Body
Annual RCRC Communications Survey for County Board Supervisors and Administrative Officers
California Receives $4.99 Million in Federal Grant Funds to Improve School Facilities in Small School Districts

RCRC’s Rural Rundown of Governor Newsom’s 2024-25 Proposed Budget

On Wednesday, January 10th, Governor Newson released his Administration’s 2024-25 Proposed Budget. This proposal begins the budget development process between the Governor and Legislature; with the onus on lawmakers who must pass a budget by June 15th for the July 1st start of the 2024-25 fiscal year.   

The Governor’s 2024-25 Proposed Budget of $291 billion reflects a roughly $38 billion budget shortfall, based largely on stock market declines and a delay in income tax reporting.  This $38 billion deficit is far lower than the $68 billion previously projected by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.  The proposal addresses the shortfall through a variety of measures and includes a proposed $222 billion General Fund, which includes $114 billion in personal income tax, $35 billion in sales and use tax, and $38 billion in corporation tax revenues. 

The Rural Rundown captures highlights of the proposal as it relates to RCRC member counties and can be accessed here

Bill of the Week: Assembly Bill 817 (Pacheco) - Open Meetings: Teleconferencing: Subsidiary Body

RCRC, along with a coalition of local government association partners, is sponsoring Assembly Bill 817, authored by Assembly Member Blanca Pacheco (D-Downey).  This measure would remove barriers to entry for appointed and elected office, by allowing non-decision-making legislative bodies that cannot take final action to participate in two-way virtual teleconferencing without posting locations. This bill would only cover advisory bodies that do not make decisions, but merely provide recommendations to decision-makers. 

Participation in local advisory bodies often serves as an entry point for greater civic engagement and a pathway for public service.  Local governments across the state have faced an ongoing challenge to recruit and retain members of the public on advisory bodies, boards, and commissions, and often, the voices at the table do not include those who are representative of the community the decisions will impact most. The in-person requirement for participation in local advisory bodies presents a disproportionate challenge for those with physical or economic limitations including seniors; persons with disability; single parents and/or caretakers; economically marginalized groups; and those who live in rural areas and, thereby, face prohibitive driving distances and limited public transit.  

AB 817 protects access and transparency while providing for increased diverse community input and creating a much-needed pathway for residents to participate in local government. 

On Wednesday, January 10th, Eddie Crandell, RCRC Board Member and Lake County Supervisor, testified in support of AB 817 during a meeting of the Assembly Local Government Committee.  The measure passed out of Committee and is being referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. 

RCRC encourages counties to submit letters of support. RCRC’s letter of support is available here. For more information, please contact RCRC Policy Advocate, Sarah Dukett

Annual RCRC Communications Survey for County Board Supervisors and Administrative Officers

RCRC aims to continuously provide our member counties with engaging and informative content. For that purpose, RCRC is currently evaluating our communications methods and asking all of our member county Board Supervisors and County Administrative Officers to provide input by taking a quick survey. The input gathered will assist RCRC in tailoring our communications content to best fit the interests and needs of our member counties, and may help inform updates to RCRC Strategic Plan. The brief survey (3-5 minutes) is available here

California Receives $4.99 Million in Federal Grant Funds to Improve School Facilities in Small School Districts

On Thursday, January 4, the United States Department of Education announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) will receive a grant of $4.99 million to support facility needs in small and rural school districts across California. The funds, awarded through the first-ever Supporting America’s School Infrastructure (SASI) Grant Program, will be invested in a variety of programs to address those needs over the next five years. For instance, a technical assistance program will allow facility professionals to conduct visits in order to assess needs and costs; provide training to the appropriate school personnel and officials on the cycle of facilities maintenance; and coordinate the necessary contracts to meet the needs of the district. The funds will also allow the CDE to develop an online resource through which school staff may access a network of facility professionals supporting their districts; identify national funding sources; access standardized forms and tools; and view an on-demand library of webinars and short videos. For more information on the Supporting America’s School Infrastructure (SASI) Grant program and the awardees, visit the  U.S. Department of Education website.  For information on grants available to rural counties, contact RCRC Policy and Local Assistance Manager, Eric Will.


Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.


New Student Debt Relief Benefit Available to County Employees

NACo’s Public Promise Insurance announces a new employee retention benefit that will help your public employees significantly reduce or even eliminate their student loan payments!

Did you know that 4 million Americans currently qualify for student debt relief or that 100% of full-time county employees qualify for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program? Even though they may qualify, it is extremely cumbersome for an employee to apply and receive the full value of their loan forgiveness.  Through NACo's partnership with student loan forgiveness tool, Savi, your employees now have access to an easy-to-use tool that can scan 150+ available student debt relief programs and identify the amount of relief they can expect to receive. Learn more about the Public Promise Insurance benefit here.


CARB to Hold Local Government Training Webinar on Advanced Clean Fleets Regulations

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is hosting an online training webinar on the new Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulations January 17th. The ACF regulations apply to local government agencies (among others) and affect medium- and heavy-duty on-road vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 8,500 pounds, as well as off-road yard tractors. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to submit their questions in advance (by January 15, 2024). Registration is limited.

Additionally, CARB announced on December 28, 2023, that it does not plan to take enforcement action on the drayage or high priority fleet provisions of the ACF regulation until the U.S. EPA grants a preemption waiver applicable to those regulatory provisions or determines a waiver is not necessary. However, this enforcement discretion does not apply to State and Local Government Fleets. More information can be found on the ACF Regulation and Advisories page.

WHAT: Overview of ACF regulations, such as who is affected and upcoming compliance requirements. Fact sheets are available here
WHEN: January 17, 2024, 9am – 11am.
WHERE: Virtual via Zoom, register here

For more information, please visit CARB’s TruckStop webpage to learn more about heavy-duty vehicle requirements; webinar questions can be directed to  

Request for Proposal - Feasibility Study Analysis and Business Management Plan for a Business Incubator

The Siskiyou Economic Development Council (SEDC) is seeking proposals from qualified professionals to complete a feasibility study, analysis, and potential implementation plan for a business incubator to be located in Yreka, California. The final documents will be leveraged in future planning to assist and support the development and growth of small business entrepreneurs within Yreka and throughout the Siskiyou County region.

This project is being funded by a grant from the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the final report(s) will need to comply accordingly. The contract will not exceed a total amount of $65,000 and will be completed by no later than June 17, 2024. The use of Federal funds requires that this contract adheres to all 2CFR 200 regulations. The successful bidder must be registered and active with

The deadline for proposal submission is January 31, 2024View the RFP here. For more information about Siskiyou Economic Development Council, visit their website here.


Common Threads North 2024 Dinner and Awards to Honor Six Women in Agriculture from RCRC Member Counites - Tickets on Sale Now

Join Common Threads North on Wednesday, April 3rd as they celebrate and honor women in agriculture. The six 2024 Common Threads North Honorees are all members of RCRC counties: Colleen Cecil (Glenn County); Terry Dereniuk (Lake County); Carol Dobbas (Sierra County); Kelli Evans (Sutter County); Robin Flournoy (Placer County); and Sue Knox (Tehama County). 

Sponsorships for the 2024 Common Threads North Dinner & Awards are now being accepted. For additional information about the dinner and awards, or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit the Common Threads North website here or contact the Butte Ag Foundation at (530) 533-1473.


Registration Now Open for Calforests 2024 FSI Conference, February 26-27

Register today for the California Forestry Association (Calforests) Forestry Strategies and Innovations (FSI) Conference 2024, where Calforests will bring together leaders from California’s public, private, nonprofit, tribal, economic, and environmental sectors to spark critical conversations about forest management, wildfire protection, and sustainability.

Attendees have the chance to: 

  • Collectively evaluate and improve best practices
  • Share important knowledge and innovations
  • Engage with key stakeholders to find out how to work collaboratively

Date: February 26-27, 2024
Location: Sacramento

See here for more information and register today.


$1.5 Billion Available through the 2024 RAISE Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $1.5 billion in grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program for 2024. The program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact. RAISE discretionary grants help project sponsors at the state and local levels, including municipalities, Tribal governments, counties, and others complete critical freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects. The eligibility requirements of RAISE allow project sponsors to obtain funding for projects that may be harder to support through other U.S. DOT grant programs. For recent examples of funded projects, see the list of 2023 awarded projects here.

RAISE projects are reviewed and evaluated on statutory criteria of safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, mobility and community connectivity, economic competitiveness and opportunity including tourism, state of good repair, partnership and collaboration, and innovation. Projects designated “RCN Program Extra” during the new FY 2023 Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program competition and submitted for consideration under the FY 2024 RAISE NOFO will have a greater opportunity to be advanced during the FY 2024 RAISE evaluation process, as described in the NOFO.  

Half of the funding will go to projects in rural areas, and half of the funding will go to projects in urban areas. At least $15 million in funding is guaranteed to go towards projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities, and projects located in these areas will be eligible for up to 100 percent federal cost share, as directed by Congress in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

As in previous years, the Department is encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity, and remove barriers to opportunity. The Department also intends to use the RAISE program to support lowering costs for household budgets, wealth creation and the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, the incorporation of strong labor standards, and training and placement programs, especially registered apprenticeships. 

The NOFO is available here. The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM EST on February 28, 2024, and selections will be announced no later than June 27, 2024.


HCD Launches New Codes and Standards Online Services Portal

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has launched a new, user-friendly online portal — Codes and Standards Online Services (C&S OS). C&S OS is designed for the public, HCD business partners, and Codes and Standards customers to access many HCD services online. 

C&S OS features include: 

  • Track the status of your application or complaint
  • Submit some mobilehome permit and registration and titling applications online – anytime, from anywhere
  • No additional fees required
  • Google Translate™ available in several languages

With C&S OS, you can now:

  • Apply for duplicate title and registration cards 
  • Update registered and legal owner addresses
  • Apply for alteration permits and insignia inspections
  • Request a technical service inspection
  • And more!

More services are coming soon! Check the HCD website often for new services and application types. C&S OS can be accessed through the HCD website:

For more information, see Information Bulletin 2023-01.

Questions? Please email


Access the State Grants Portal for a Multitude of Funding Opportunities

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to public agencies and other entities, including tribes and businesses. Grant seekers can access a centralized portal of grant and loan opportunities here, or sign up to receive new grant opportunities delivered straight to your inbox


Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.


Arturo Barajas, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, where he previously served from 2022 to 2023. Barajas has been Government Affairs Manager at FanDuel Inc. since 2021. He served as a Deputy Secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 2019 to 2021. Barajas was a Legislative Aid for State Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula from 2016 to 2019. He is a member of the 52nd District Agricultural Association. Barjas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Systems Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Barajas is a Democrat. 

Rina DiMare, of Clarksburg, has been appointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, where she previously served from 2020 to 2022. DiMare has been a Proprietor at Elevation Ten Winery since 2015. She was a Managing Partner/Owner at Government Strategies Inc. from 2001 to 2015. DiMare was a Consultant and Legislative Assistant in the California State Assembly from 1991 to 1997. She is President of the Clarksburg Winery Collective and a member of the California Winegrape Growers Association. DiMare earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies from California State University, Chico. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. DiMare is a Democrat. 

M. Scott Lillibridge, of Rocklin, has been reappointed to the California Commission on Disability Access, where he has served since 2018. Lillibridge has been Associate Principal/Assistant Vice President at RICK Engineering Company since 2016. He was Senior Forward Planner at KB Home from 2015 to 2016. Lillibridge was a Land Development Manager at K. Hovnanian Homes from 2013 to 2015. He was Project manager at Marques Pipeline from 2012 to 2013. Lillibridge was a Full Partner at C&L Development Solutions Inc. from 2009 to 2012. He was Land Development Manager at Pardee Homes from 2001 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2009. Lillibridge was Project Manager at KB Home from 2003 to 2004, at Kimley-Horn and Associates from 1999 to 2001 and at RICK Engineering Company from 1990 to 1999. Lillibridge is a member of the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Urban Land Institute, and Rotary International. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Lillibridge is a Republican.

Che Salinas, of Sacramento, has been reappointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, where he has served since 2022. Salinas has been Special Counsel and Senior Legislative Advisor at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP since 2021 and has been Counsel there since 2011. He was a Senior Advisor at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development from 2020 to 2021. Salinas was Chief Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs for Operations in the Office of the Governor from 2019 to 2020. Salinas was Counsel for the Office of State Senator Ed Hernandez from 2010 to 2011. He was Counsel for the Office of Majority Leader Dean Florez in the California State Senate from 2009 to 2010. Salinas was a Consultant for the California State Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 2006 to 2009. He was a Legislative Aide in the Office of State Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata from 2004 to 2006. He serves on the board of Improve Your Tomorrow. Salinas earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Salinas is a Democrat.


RCRC press releases and related news clips about RCRC and our member counties. Please note that a subscription may be required to read some external publications.


What’s in Store for California’s Economy? – Public Policy Institute of California

California starts 2024 with a robust economy, adding 260,000 jobs in the past year. Job openings remain high, inflation is lower at 3%, but wages struggle to keep pace, increasing only 15% since Feb 2020, while prices rose by 19%. Two-thirds of Californians anticipate economic downturns, highlighting concerns about personal finances. To improve economic prospects, the state should focus on education, supporting hiring, monitoring workforce changes due to climate and technology, and addressing economic constraints for sustained growth and mobility.


Federal fix for rural hospitals gets few takers so far – Capital Public Radio

The federal Rural Emergency Hospital program aims to revive closed rural hospitals by offering financial incentives for providing emergency and outpatient services while discontinuing inpatient care. However, only 18 of 1,700 eligible rural hospitals have applied, with hesitancy to give up inpatient services. Challenges include an unclear definition of "rural," and advocates are working on modifications to allow for options such as retaining overnight beds for moderate care. The success of the program may impact struggling rural hospitals nationwide.


Padilla Announces $88 Million in New Funding to Electrify California School Buses – Senator Alex Padilla

Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) announces $88 million in funding from the EPA's Clean School Bus Program to purchase electric buses in California. The program, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supports the transition to zero-emission and low-emission school buses. Over 400,000 buses, covering 4.3 billion miles annually for 23.5 million students, will benefit. Padilla emphasizes the health and environmental advantages, pushing for modernization. Padilla has been a strong advocate for transitioning diesel-powered buses to zero-emission vehicles.