MPR Secretary Kyle Miller administered Kuska’s oath of office on July 31, at the district’s office in Maxwell, before a scheduled meeting.
The Board of Supervisors appointed Kuska to fill one of two vacancies on what had been a four-member board after the abrupt resignation of President Randy Wilkins and Vice President Dale Johnson during the board’s regular meeting in June.
The resignations left the board with just two members and unable to legally conduct business, said Colusa County Clerk-Recorder Rose Gallo-Vasquez.
“The board already had an existing vacancy that they were unable to fill within the time required,” Gallo-Vasquez said.
The Board of Supervisors agreed to a recommendation from Miller to appoint Kuska, although it raised some alarm with Colusa County Chief Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler, who noted the procedure may have violated the law requiring at least 15 days notice to the public that a vacancy existed.
Tyler said that while policy required the Board of Supervisors to appoint “promptly” when vacancies on special districts occur, it was not specifically defined.
She said her concern was that remaining MPR members recommended Kuska for the position just one day after Wilkins and Johnson resigned.
“I’m not even sure what the public’s interest is,” Tyler said.
The Board of Supervisors, however, said in the interest of the district they would appoint Kuska, who had previously applied, so that the county did not have to assume responsibility for the district, which had not yet adopted its 2019-20 operating budget when Wilkins and Johnson resigned.
On July 31, following Kuska’s swearing in, the MPR Board adopted a budget of approximately $16,000, with cuts to most services, including the basketball program, which will get no new equipment this year, officials said.
While Maxwell Park and Recreation District received generous support from the community to operate the Town Pool, including from Professional Event Services, who sponsored eight free swimming days, the MPR board said they do not believe the district is sustainable without an increase in the property tax assessment, from which the district has received about $13,000 annually since 1986.
The MPR board said it plans to move forward with a Proposition 218 process, likely in 2020, to generate additional revenue that may also allow the district to apply for a Proposition 68 grant, approved by voters in 2018, to provide funding for parks and outdoor access.
The board also posted notice to fill the remaining vacancy, and will accept applications until Aug. 16.
Miller said the board would hold interviews on Aug. 22 in order to make an appointment before the 60-day deadline to avoid a special election.
Supervisor Gary Evans, following last week’s motion to appoint Kuska, said that, historically, special districts struggle to acquire and retain board members.
“There are not a lot of people clamoring to get on,” he said.
Kuska will serve out Wilkins’ unexpired term, which was set to end Dec. 4, 2020.
Kyle will continue to serve as secretary and acting president until the board reorganizes in January. The board appointed Young to serve as vice president and Kuska to serve as treasurer.
The vacancy created earlier by the resignation of Chelsea Dirks will remain closed until 2020, due to the inability of the district to fill the position in the time allotted and failure to hold a special election, officials said. ■