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PG&E Fire Settlement Will Fund New Land Management System

Butte County, Calif., officials have approved the purchase of a new land management tracking system with money from the $146.7 million Camp Fire settlement with Pacific Gas and Electric.

Remnants of a burned home in Paradise, Calif., after the 2018 Camp Fire.
(TNS) — The Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the use of Camp Fire settlement dollars to fund a new land management tracking software.

The new software comes at a cost of $1.52 million for installation and migration for the first year which will come from the settlement account plus an additional $576,704 that will be paid in a Memorandum of Understanding between land use departments.

Chief Administrative Officer Andy Pickett spoke on how the Camp Fire impacted county services negatively, leading to litigation with PG&E and the subsequent settlement that provided the county government with $500 million. The settlement fund had $146.7 million as of June 30.

"The Camp Fire simultaneously increased our workload because of the sudden surge of many of our services but it also made it harder to provide those services because a number of our employees left the area," Picket said. "And we lost housing which made it difficult for people to move into the area to take those jobs."

Pickett made a point to distinguish the settlement with the county governing body from that of the settlement reached with those who lost homes in the Camp Fire or the victim's trust.

The board created a policy after the settlement was reached that laid out the ground rules for how the funding could be used. Money from the settlement should be used for county recovery, stability or hazard mitigation.

Deputy Administrative Officer Danielle Nuzum provided the board with some information on the new software and why it is needed.

"Land management software is a critical tool for tracking permits, land development, projects, code enforcement and continued disaster recovery operations," Nuzum said. "Staff has relied heavily on the current land management software, or Trackit, to identify or track Camp Fire-affected parcels, track structure damage and report on the status of both debris removal and tree removal operations. The system has been an invaluable tool but it's now at its end of life and it's no longer supported by its platform."

The county put out a Request for Proposals in April 2021 to search for new software options. The two chosen were Accela and SEPTech, of San Ramon and New York respectively, which provided a joint proposal to the county.

Accela will provide cloud-based software that, according to Nuzum, will streamline land development in Butte County when implemented. It will also add an online permit portal through the county's website.

"The portal includes automated features that will assist the public in identifying the correct permit or permits needed, allow them to track their permit in the project cycle process and check the status of permits and pay fees online," Nuzum said.

The board approved the allocation 4-0 with Supervisor Debra Lucero absent from the meeting.

The Butte County Board of Supervisors generally meets at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at its chambers located at 25 County Center Drive, Suite 205 in Oroville. Meetings are free and open to the public.

©2022 Chico Enterprise-Record, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.