Opinion Piece By Linda Sutter – November 6, 2021

On November 9th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m in the chambers agenda item #28 states the following:

Contingent on Board approval on item #31 on today’s agenda (November 09, 2021) by a 4/5ths vote, approve and adopt Budget Transfer #11-01 in the amount of $70,000.00 for FY 21/22 from the General Fund Contingency Budget to the Advertising/Promotion Budget authorizing the contribution to Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority in the amount of $70,000 (Seventy Thousand Dollars) as requested by the County Administrative Officer.*

$70,000.00 to allegedly advertise/promote budget. Really? That is very interesting. You know once a year I go through my documents and decide which ones go to the burn pile. In fact, the very documents that were going to the burn pile, which I’ve had for 4 years, are the very documents to share with the public today. 

Folks, there is no promotion. The fact of the matter is Del Norte County Economic Development organization otherwise known as Tri-Agency, failed in 2017. The money Chris Howard and Darrin Short wants to take out of the general fund on November 9th are to pay a debt that was created by Del Norte County Elected. That one-cent sales tax voted on called Measure R. Yep, the county is spending your hard-earned dollars on a debt that they created. Ready for repeal yet?

In a letter from the U.S. Department of Commerce to Eli Naffah dated August 21, 2019, sent certified mail read;

Regarding: Economic Development Administration (EDA) Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program Award Number; 07-19-01782, response to EDA suspension letter

Now remember Naffah was the Crescent City, City Manager for years.

Dear Mr. Naffah;

EDA has received Del Norte Economic Development’s Corporation’s (DNEDC) responses to EDA’s Notice of Suspension letter dated May 3, 2019.

In accepting the Award, Recipient agreed to comply with certain terms and conditions, such as EDA’s regulations at 13 C.F.R. Chapter 111, the EDA Revolving Loan Fund Standard Terms and Conditions and the Special Award Conditions specific to the Award.

As you are aware, EDA’s May 3, 2019 notice of suspension letter included a request for financial reports, single audits, and a plan satisfactory to EDA regarding the future administration of the EDA RLF. This request was made by EDA due to DNEDC’s ( Del Norte Economic Development Corporation) lack of any staff to handle its various programs. 

The DNEDC’s 2017 and 2018 audits still have not been submitted as required under the standard terms and conditions Part 11, Section E.8 and 13 CFR section 307.14.

While DNEDC recently submitted Revolving fund reports (RLF) ending on June 30 2019, the reports were incomplete. 

EDA has conducted a review of DNEDC’s proposed arrangement and an evaluation as to whether the arrangement is sufficient. EDA has determined the DNEDC’s proposed arrangement does not adequately address the EDA’s concerns. The proposed arrangement leaves out numerous responsibilities outlined in DNEDC’s EDA-approved RLF Administrative plan unaddressed, and the responsibilities that are addressed are assigned to numerous third parties in such a way that EDA seriously questions whether the arrangement is feasible without a qualified individual overseeing all facets of RLF. Without such a qualified individual conducting oversight over contractor activities, there are no controls in place to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant award, for which DNEDC remains responsible. It is also unclear whether these proposed contracts were competitively procured in accordance with 2CFR part 200.

EDA is authorized under 13 CFR section 307.21 to remedy the above continued  non-compliance by requiring transfer of EDA-RLF to an eligible, qualified entity to administer it. 

In order to transfer, DNEDC must indicate its willingness to transfer, and a potential replacement must be identified and must indicate their willingness to receive the transfer. 

As of June 30, 2019 the DNEDC owes the Economic Department of Administration $1, 003,467.64. Del Norte County was required to pay this back within 30 days or within 3 years at a 1.46% interest.  If Del Norte County wanted to terminate the Conveyence.

At this time the public is unaware of the status of this hot mess. Yet the Board of Supervisors is voting on Tuesday to make a $70,000 payment not for promotion of the Tri-Agency by far, but to continue paying off that 1 million dollars. The questions that need to be asked is where did that money go and who benefitted from it and who did not pay back the loans that were distributed by the DNEDC aka  Tri-Agency. 

The vote requires FOUR Supervisors to say YES. If it is passed it is up to the public to repeal the one-cent sales tax in June 2022.

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