It looks like the Tulare County Board of Supervisors is ready to take some kind of stand against the proposed vaccine mandates for employers.

At its meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday the board will discuss whether to send a letter to Cal/OSHA concerning proposed vaccine mandates for employers.

President Joe Biden issued a directive calling for all employers with 100 or more employees to require all their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to be tested for COVID-19 once a week. On November 5 the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued Biden's directive and it was scheduled to take effect immediately. But a ruling by a federal judge had temporarily halted the requirement.

But the Biden administration has recommended to businesses they abide by the requirement even with the federal judge's ruling, stating it believes the requirement will eventually go into effect.

Tulare County staff reported the County of Tulare isn't effected by the federal standard as far as its employees are concerned. But county staff adds California is one of 26 states that maintains a state play that's monitored and approved by federal OSHA.

At its meeting on Thursday, the Cal/OSHA board is expected to adopt a requirement that's “at least as effective” as the federal requirement, thus a policy that's similar to Biden's directive, county staff stated. County staff stated its anticipated Cal/OSHA's policy will mirror federal policy.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the county board will look if it would like to express concern in a letter to the Cal/OSHA board considering the anticipated policy. The county board could approve sending a letter addressing Cal/OSHA's “proposed emergency temporary standard on Vaccination, Testing and Face Coverings” before its meeting on Thursday.

Based on the staff report it's likely the county board could express concerns about the anticipated policy to be approved. “For the past year, the Board of Supervisors has expressed its concerns with Cal/OSHA's invasive and far-reaching regulatory scheme,” the staff report stated.

In other business the board is expected to apply for $5 million in grants as part of its consent calendar that could lead the community of Ducor obtaining a new water tank. The board should approve a resolution to apply for an Urban and Multi-benefit Drought Relief grant from the California Department of Water Resources. The grant is $5 million and would go to disadvantaged communities. The grant would be used for five projects in the Tulare-Kern Counties Funding Region.

The state has set aside $5 million for Tulare and Kern Counties in the program and the Ducor water tank is one of the projects identified to be funded.

The Ducor Community Services District North Tank to be replaced would cost a little more than $1.6 million. The district stores water in two tanks, including the North Tank, a 210,000-gallon tank. The North Tank's flooring needs to be replaced, the interior needs to be re-coated and improvements are need with its exterior surfaces and side shell. The tank also needs to be seismically retrofitted.

With all this work that needed to be done the cost to rehabilitate the tank would be more than a new tank.

“The new tank will help maintain water reliability, improve water storage, improve operations and help to meet customer demands more effectively,” the county staff report stated. “The District cannot effectively operate with a single water tank, and the new tank is urgently needed to maintain operations, improve water reliability, and meet customer demands, especially during droughts.”

The new tank would also help in firefighting efforts, the county staff report added. “The District does not have funding for the project,” the county staff report also stated. “Raising water rates to pay for the project is also not considered realistic, since the residents are already challenged with paying their existing water bills.”

In other business the board should also approve an ordinance to adopt the revised Verduzco map for the county's five supervisorial districts. The map will then be submitted to the state by December 7.

The map will be used beginning with the June, 2022 primary election. Districts 4 and 5 are up for election. District 5 Supervisor Dennis Townsend is running for reelection and Eddie Valero represents District 4.

The revised Verduzco map was originally drawn by Jose Verduzco, who represented District IV on the Tulare County Redistricting Commission. The Verduzco Map was one of the maps recommended to the county board by the commission.

The Verduzco map splits the foothill-mountain communities into two districts; Keeps all of Porterville and Tule River Tribal lands, including where the new Eagle Mountain Casino is being built, in district 5; Maintains the Highway 65 corridor as it also keeps Terra Bella and Ducor in District 5; and keeps Tulare in one district.

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