Supes to talk pot and retirement at tomorrow’s board meeting

Fees, letters, and appointments are on the schedule for the first meeting of the year.

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UKIAH 1/9/2017 — At its meeting tomorrow, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to make appointments, hold a hearing on fees for cannabis cultivation, and take action on a resolution by the Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association.

At the board meeting on December 20, 2016, many county department heads spoke about changes in their fee schedules in a single agenda item.

This included Mendocino County Agriculture Chuck Morse, who presented his recommendations for application, inspection, and certification fees for people who wish to grow medical cannabis in compliance with the proposed medical cannabis cultivation ordinance. First District Supervisor Carre Brown, Second District Supervisor John McCowen, and Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde did not arrive at a unanimous decision in the matter. Brown, McCowen, and Gjerde are the only three supervisors who vote on cannabis-related matters, which means any decision related to cannabis must be unanimous.

Another topic that has been a matter of interest for some years now is the state of the Mendocino County employees’ retirement fund. The Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association will present an analysis of the county’s funding of retirement benefits, including a review of the last fiscal year and projections for fiscal year 2017-2018.

Several letters await approval in the consent calendar, including one to President Obama, another to CalTrans, and one to Gerald Ward, owner of Solid Waste of Willits (SWOW).

The correspondence for Ward includes a covenant not to sue the county of Mendocino and to hold the county harmless while negotiations for a rate increase are underway. The covenant states that the county is willing to consider the rate increase, “Upon SWOW agreeing not to sue the County of Mendocino and holding the County of Mendocino harmless from communications and actions it takes while making the necessary analyses.”

The letter to Tim Craggs, director of CalTrans District 1, is a request that CalTrans work with the city of Willits to put up additional signage. Many business owners in Willits have complained of adverse economic impacts after the opening of the bypass. Many believe that motorists are driving past the city without realizing it because I’d insufficient signage.

The letter to President Obama, an item sponsored by Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde and Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, asks the President to consider a permanent ban on new drilling off the California coastline.

Also in the consent calendar are several proposed ordinances modifying the county code in a number of ways. One establishes the office of county hearing officer, who would have the power to hold hearings, make legal findings, and arrive at legal conclusions on behalf of any county board, committee, commission, or agency. Two other proposed ordinances in the consent calendar establish nuisance abatement and enforcement procedures, one specific to cannabis and another applicable to multiple departments. Another lays out citation and penalty procedures that would be applicable to any violation of the county code, in multiple departments.

The supes will also elect a chair and vice-chair of the board of supervisors for 2017. The current chair is Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde. The vice-chair at this time is Second District Supervisor John McCowen. The board will also decide on appointments to the public policy facilitating committee, and board standing committees for 2017.

Sarah Reith sreith@mendovoice.com

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