What’s Happening Blog

Mira Monte Preserved for SMART Mitigation

Posted on 11 October 2013

Great news! SMART has acquired the 56 acre Mira Monte Marina in Novato to be preserved, enhanced and restored as part of its environmental mitigation program. This is a win-win that I have been working on for quite some time. It delivers substantial savings for SMART’s taxpayers compared to typical “mitigation bank” purchases, it protects and restores an incredibly important and sensitive environmental habitat to create a continuous wildlife corridor and it does it all locally – local dollars are being invested to do environmental enhancement 100% within the project area.

Housing Element Hearing Rescheduled

Posted on 05 September 2013

The Board of Supervisor's Hearing on County's Housing Element, SEIR, and related proposed amendments to the Countywide Plan, Zoning Map, and Development Code has been rescheduled from September 10, 2013 to September 17, 2013 at 1:30pm. 

Staff has requested this change to ensure that all property owners of sites proposed for rezoning, neighboring property owners and interested parties receive adequate noticing and an opportunity to provide feedback. Notice provided in advance of the September 10 hearing date met State code requirements for public noticing; however, because of the high level of public interest in this project additional noticing and opportunity for public input are being provided.

For more information about the County's Housing Element and to view the draft documents, visit: marincounty.org/depts/he

New Information on Property Tax Bills

Posted on 30 July 2013

This fall property tax bills in Marin County will include new details about the County’s unfunded pension liability and post-employment healthcare liability in an effort to be even more transparent and provide the public with an additional opportunity to obtain this information.

At my direction, Finance Director Roy Given worked with Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans on the details. Homeowners will receive tax bills in October with the new insert, or you can find the information now on the Marin County Public Finance Portal: http://www.marincounty.org/depts/df/debt-and-pension

FY 2013-14 Budget Approved

Posted on 20 June 2013

On June 19, 2013, the Board of Supervisors approved the County of Marin’s FY 2013-14 Budget. I am happy to share that our budget is balanced and structurally sound.

The County has done well the past few years during difficult economic times. We haven’t shirked from dealing with pension reform, and have done more than any county in California in meeting this problem with transparency and definitive actions as well as creating a retiree health trust to eliminate unfunded retiree health liability over the next 30 years. Because of our efforts, the independent rating agency Moody’s upgraded the County of Marin to a AAA in March of 2013, making Marin County one of only two California Counties with a AAA rating, and both Fitch and Standard & Poors (the two other major credit rating agencies) reaffirmed our AAA ratings. The recent Moody’s rating upgrade to AAA and the reaffirmation by Fitch and Standard & Poors indicates our fiscal house is in order.

We have also worked well with our many community partners to achieve excellent outcomes.
Within California, for example, Marin County has the:

  • Second lowest rate of those living in poverty
  • Lowest level of violent crime
  • Highest ranking in health outcomes
  • Highest voter turnout
  • Highest rate of waste diversion

We are well positioned to meet the needs of a growing and aging population, and we are becoming more involved in education issues in areas where we can make a real difference.

For more information about the County Budget, visit: http://www.marincounty.org/depts/ad/divisions/management-andbudget/budget-overview

Education – A Top Priority

Posted on 12 March 2013

Education is a top priority of mine, and as a first step towards that commitment Supervisor Adams and I sponsored a Board of Supervisor’s Resolution today recognizing the importance of a quality education for all children in Marin. We are pleased the County has added a 4th “E”, Education, to our existing “E’s” (Economy, Environment and Equity) for sustainability.

Even though the county does not have direct control over schools, I believe there are ways we can help. The County will be adding language to our Federal & State Legislative Programs & Policy Guidelines to support State and Federal Legislative efforts that improve and enhance education – including advocating for a sustainable early childhood, K-12 and higher education system and promoting quality, accessible, and affordable education for all.

Housing Requirements

Posted on 22 February 2013

Many Novatans have been frustrated with the ability to meet state-mandated housing requirements based on HUD guidelines and restrictions that local jurisdictions must follow. Many residents, including myself, would like to see more flexibility for local jurisdictions to receive state housing element credits. Legislative changes are the best avenue to achieve this.

I am very pleased to be working with Assemblyman Marc Levine on AB745. This important piece of legislation will provide greater flexibility for local government to meet housing needs by allowing them to contest the housing densities that they have been assigned by their regional planning agency.

The County of Marin (unincorporated areas), the City of Novato and the City of San Rafael are classified as “Metropolitan” for the purposes of State Housing Element density requirements, requiring 30 units per acre density. This classification is based on population and proximity to San Francisco. The other jurisdictions in Marin are classified as “Suburban”, requiring 20 units per acre density.

This legislation is similar to a bill I worked on last year, AB1103, which Assemblyman Jared Huffman introduced at my request. Unfortunately the ability for local governments to appeal for a designation change was removed from AB1103, but the part of AB1103 that was approved is the ability for local governments to now count converted housing, including foreclosed housing converted with long-term affordability covenants (like Habitat for Humanity homes), towards their RHNA requirements.

While it will take more than one attempt to achieve all of our goals to allow greater flexibility locally to meet our affordable housing mandates, we need to continue to work cooperatively with our state representatives on legislative changes. It is the best way to achieve the goals of our local community.