Notes from the Chair contributed by Mark Medina, chairman of the San Benito County Board of Supervisors
During our Feb. 5 meeting, we discussed increasing the allocation to the Economic Development Corporation but we decided to continue this matter until our March 5 meeting. On March 5 after an informative presentation by the Economic Development Corporation, we decided to increase its funding by $67,000. The additional $67,000 was originally budgeted for the lobbyist, but we terminated her contract; therefore, we used these dollars for the Economic Development Corporation. We will also discuss increasing the Economic Development Corporations allocation in our 2019/20 budget hearings. The idea is to fund the Economic Development Corporation at $100k for a minimum of five years. We will also be asking the city to allocate monies to the EDC.
On Feb. 14 and Feb. 15, we had a board retreat and we invited the council members of the City Of Hollister, City Of San Juan Bautista and our San Benito County Planning commissioners. During this two-day retreat, we discussed our strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths include staff, commitment of elected officials, and the Pinnacles National Park. Our weaknesses include lack of resources, lack of vision, job retention, and the biggest issue I personally see is customer service. In order to move this county forward, we need to find solutions for these weaknesses. We can’t do this alone as we need help from staff and our community members.
On day two, we dedicated our time to discuss the Brown Act, conflict of interest, and closed session along with speaking with our planning commissioners about the general plan. The Brown Act is a California law passed in 1953 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Act) which ensures the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings. In summary, we as elected officials need to be transparent with our residents.
On March 5, we voted on a canopy cannabis tax at a rate of $5 per square foot. This will require a permitted cannabis grower to pay the county an annual tax of $5 per square foot used in their business. Prior to any cannabis grows, the individuals must have gone through the permitting process. This vote was 4-1 as Supervisor Hernandez was the only dissenting vote.