Supervisor Carrillo Speaks and Listens at Community Meeting
Community members from Bodega Bay and Bodega were also joined by other district constituents, including some who had questions about the controversial proposed rock quarry on Roblar Road.
Carrillo spoke to this after giving a general overview of county issues and the state of the budget, including looking at retirement and pension possibilities for some county employees.
He said that the long term financial structure might have a “scary future, not unlike that facing other counties and the state.”
One budget cut that is not going to be made, he said, was the elimination of Henry I, the Sheriff’s helicopter. This brought a round of applause.
“It was on the chopping block last year and I was one who objected. I fully support the need of it.”
As to improvement of rural roads, he admitted that not much will be done right away, even though it is on a “high priority list.”
“There are 1,400 miles of county roads, but the budget for re-surfacing has been cut by 40%, particularly due to the ‘borrowing’ of funds by the state legislature.”
“The roads that are used the most will have to get first attention. There will never be enough funds.”
One man in attendance objected to this, saying that the money used to be there and the rural roads were well maintained for many years, but now they get little to no attention.
Regarding the proposed rock quarry for Roblar Road, Carrillo said that the Planning Department approved it unanimously earlier this year following a public hearing.
“It goes to the Supervisors next and there will be a public hearing in the next month or two before we vote on it.”
When asked how he would vote on it, Carrillo resonded that he could not say what his position was at this time as it would “hurt the process.”
However, he went on to say that there are already two quarries in Forestville, and that no one wants to have a quarry near them, it seems, but they are necessary.
Although he said earlier, “I take environmental issues seriously,” his remarks on this issue made him sound as if he was pro-quarry.
In regards to the future of Sonoma county, he said that, “It is important to recognize the environmental quality of life, but also the need for more economic growth.”
Pointing out that criminal justice was one of the biggest budget items and one that is growing, Carrillo said that juvenile delinquency and violence are a major concern.
What else is growing is “…the number of people 65 and older, who already make up the largest group in the county population, and the number of Latinos age 0 -18 years.”
The supervisor did not make any specific connection regarding these facts.
He did go on to say that hospitals, other healthcare, and affordable housing are all being addressed by the county supervisors.
A summer program for youths at risk was undertaken this year and included “some kids working at Chanslor Ranch in Bodega Bay.”
A 48-unit affordable housing project is going to be built in Guerneville.
Regarding the environment, he cited the acquisition of the 5,000+ plus acre ranchland now called the Jenner Headlands. “Hopefully the public will have access to it soon.”
The purchase was made earlier this year with funding from many sources, including Sonoma Land Trust, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, and Wildlands Conservancy.
It is open now via guided walks. See: www.stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org.
Negotiations with Chanslor Ranch owners have been going on for years to preserve it too, but nothing has been accomplished so far, the supervisor added.
When questioned as to why completion of the Bodega Bay Trail has not happened, Carrillo said that it too is a priority and funds are there from county Measure M and possibly from the “feds,” but that it, like all things out here, has to go through the Coastal Commission, etc.
At this time, some Bodega Bay residents brought up the need for crosswalks on Highway One at both North Harbour Road and Bodega Avenue (by the Grange Hall); concern over so many vehicles speeding through town; and the possibility of a “watch your speed” sign installation.
Carrillo said he would look in to it, but, because it is a state highway, residents should contact Caltrans and also their state representatives.
Two other items affecting Bodega Bay were also addressed during the question and answer period.
One was that of Bodega Bay Public Utilities District’s proposal to dig a new water well on Bay Flatt Road on private property and against the will of homeowners there.
The six properties involved are being threatened with takeover by eminent domain.
They and other community members have voiced concern as well over the negative environmental impact it would have; including harming wetlands, destruction of an adjacent riparian area, and changes in salinity that could harm the tidal rail ponds.
Carrillo said he felt the “environmental concerns were not looked at enough by the county,” and that the BBPUD might have to come “directly to the supervisors for the permit for the well.”
The second item was about the current state of Spud Point Marina.
A boat owner asked if a badly needed boat repair yard with a boat “lift” was going to be re-opened at the Marina.
Carrillo responded that his office had been approached on this by an individual. However, since the land is state-owned, anyone bringing back such a business would have to do it on a lease basis only.
Spud Point was built on a loan from the State. The county manages it, but does not own it.
He went on to say that the Marina has been showing a $200,000 to $300,000 loss every year and that no capital improvements have been made on it.
“It is not like other marinas where there would be restaurants and other means of bringing in money.”
“Maintenance has not been kept up,” he continued “and the county is not in the position to put more money into it now.”
The new Marina manager, John Cruger-Hansen, was hired by the county and was, in Carrillo’s words, “brought into a quagmire” and “has been doing a good job.”
Earlier in the evening’s meeting, Carrillo had spoken of what “wonderful” fire departments both Bodega Bay and Bodega had.
He congratulated Bodega Chief Ron Albini on the new firehouse under construction and mentioned how the county had helped some with fee permits being waived.
At the very end of the meeting, Bodega Bay Fire Chief Sean Grinnell was the last to be heard. He voiced the department’s frustration of its limited tax base.
“When we lose property to the state, county, or land trust, it has to come off the tax roll.”
Grinnell mentioned the recent lot split wherein one new home was built as a residence for the Sheriff’s deputy, resulting in a loss of $525 from the tax roll.
Carrillo responded, in a humorous tone, that at least there was the “pay-off” of having a resident deputy sheriff here.
There actually has been a resident deputy in Bodega Bay for many years with housing usually being provided by local house owners offering low rents to insure that we do keep one here.
One man in the audience spoke up and said that the $525 could be raised right then if everyone pitched in.
Grinnell was obviously not mollified, but did not respond negatively.
“Only 40% of our aid is for our residents. The highest amount is for the tourists and visitors,” he went on to explain.
“We provide a service and don’t get to charge enough for it.”
He dropped the subject and went on to remind everyone of the blood drive today at the firehouse between 4-7pm.
Supervisor Carrillo then thanked the fire department for the meeting space and the opportunity to talk here.