Local state of emergency declared for dunes

December 19, 2001|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency Tuesday because of increasing mayhem at the Imperial Sand Dunes.

The declaration comes after a violent Thanksgiving holiday weekend in which more than 190,000 dunes visitors were patrolled by less than 40 officers. The population of Imperial County is less than 150,000.

The county hopes Gov. Gray Davis agrees and will declare a state of emergency that will make way for much-needed local law enforcement assistance.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the county Sheriff's Office have commitments to bring enough equipment and officers to patrol the dunes over the Christmas and New Year's holiday — if they can get the money to pay for it, Sheriff Harold Carter said.


Part of that plan includes additional officers, a communication trailer to be set up at the Cahuilla Ranger Station, a mobile booking station and a bus from the Department of Corrections to transport prisoners, Carter said.

Additional money is also needed to cover the costs of investigating, booking and housing criminals in jail, Carter said. So far, that cost has been covered by the taxpayers of Imperial County.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the board approved an increase of $360,700 to the Workforce Investment Board's Welfare-to-Work budget to cover services until April 2002. The WIB needs the extra money to continue services while it re-releases Welfare-to-Work bid proposals.

The supervisors suggested the WIB redo the bidding process when representatives from some of the agencies competing for the original bids said they did not believe the evaluation process was fair.

The board also approved:

· awarding the Heber Essential Services Building project to Duggins Construction, which submitted the lowest bid at $1,623,858;

· awarding a $674,970 construction contract to Coffman Specialties Inc. of San Diego for a concrete bridge to be built on Brandt Road across the New River.

>> Staff writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles