City to file lien against Sierra Vista Community Center

Sewer service charges in dispute
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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The City of Colfax is moving forward to file a lien on the Sierra Vista Community Center property for non-payment of sewer service fees. In action taken during a closed session prior to the Jan. 9 council meeting, and then announced during the open session, the city council authorized the move.

However, the manner in which the action was taken is being called into question by Elizabeth Armando, president of the Sierra Vista board.

Bruce Kranz, Colfax’s city manager, said that under the lien, if the Sierra Vista property were to be put up for sale, the lien would have to be settled before a sale can be completed.

But the council may take other action in the future if “that doesn’t take care of the problem,” Kranz said, and if Sierra Vista “keeps on not paying … they’re getting deeper and deeper behind.” Meanwhile, he adds, the city must still pay to operate the sewer treatment plant and its staff.

According to Kranz, the adjusted balance due to the city by Sierra Vista as of May 31, 2012 was $31,422, which includes penalties and interest and garbage fees. “Since May 31 we received one payment of $434,” Kranz said.

As of Tuesday, Armando said, the Sierra Vista board had not received any written notice from the city regarding the lien and had only heard about the action by word of mouth.

Armando contends the council should have included notice of its intended action on the council agenda. “I think the Brown Act says that if you know what you’re going to do, or if you’re going to take a specific action, or even consider action against an entity, you have to name it in the agenda,” she said. “If that’s what they believe they need to do, that’s what they need to do. I just think it should be done in public.”

Kranz said the council followed Brown Act regulations. “Those types of votes can be conducted in closed session. It’s anticipated litigation,” he said.

The Sierra Vista executive committee, Armando said, has not met to discuss the lien and how they will respond to it.