Meeting Time: November 07, 2023 at 9:00am PST

Agenda Item

4c) Discussion and Possible Action Presentation of First Quarter Budget Report on the Status of County Departmental Spending and Revenues for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-24; Approval of Recommended Budget Adjustments and Journal Entries; and Approval of Executive Office Recommendations (Sponsor: Executive Office)

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    HannahLeigh Bull 7 months ago

    Thank you for your tireless work to make the best decisions for the county.

    I am concerned about the proposal by the county CEO to rob Peter to pay Paul. Peter, reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions (GGE), seems the highest priority.

    Who is Paul I wonder, where does the CEO want to allocate those funds.

    Is it county payroll or healthcare? I just sent $10,000 to the county in property and supplemental taxes and suspect other property owners are participating in county payroll in that way. I prefer that payroll and benefits are met through property tax or other fund raising, from the State Government, for example, or from county employee reduction.

    Having heard my concerns, Supervisor Williams stated that he had long sought board support for a staff reduction sufficient to balance the budget. He went on to share that State assistance would require state reps from LA and SF metros to vote to send more money our way, which has not yet happened. Does the county regularly issue a request to the State for fiscal assistance?

    Before we contemplate cutting the allocated budget for fighting climate change, the county can first exhaust efforts to reduce staff and to gain assistance from the State and other sources.

    This summer, we on the Mendocino coast saw the beginnings of climate refugees seeking relief here, whether camping out on Pudding Creek beach, or in the 10-Mile River area, which normally has a population of 98, with population rising to between 5000 and 7000 in conditions of fire and heat, per Jennifer Kreger MD at a County of Mendocino community resilience public outreach meeting in Caspar in August. Unless we take steps now to address climate change, the figures could grow unsustainably in the near future. As a behavioral health care provider, I am seeing increased anxiety, trauma, and depression related to climate change and am well aware that not enough providers exist to keep the dam of despair contained so that we survive.

    My highest priority for the greater good is mitigating climate change and my wish is that you oppose this proposal to adjust the county budget by eliminating $1M in funds allocated to reducing energy costs and GGE and reallocating it to the general fund.

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    Susan Sher 7 months ago

    In this era of one climate calamity after another, both locally and internationally, we need to do all that is possible to lessen our dependency on fossil fuel. The $1 million PG&E settlement funds while not nearly enough to make all necessary investments to convert from fossil fuel reliance, do serve as a great start in that direction. These funds could finance electric vehicle purchases, installation of heat pumps on County buildings, rooftop solar and battery storage just to name a few improved energy and efficiency measures.

    The recommendation of the CEO to not use these precious funds for their intended purpose, but rather, divert them to the County’s General Fund makes no sense; it will undoubtedly result in a large increase in the County’s energy costs in the long run. This is a sad example of being “penny wise and pound foolish”.

    I understand that the CEO’s recommendation may be related to a failure of the County General Services Administration and/or the County Counsel to formally approve the designation of the PG&E settlement funds for specific projects aimed at carbon emission reduction. If that is the case, and the CEO’s recommendation is simply because of bureaucratic inaction on the part of other departments, the solution to this problem is painfully obvious.

    Please do not allocate the PG&E settlement funds to the General Fund.

    Thank you for your attention.

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    Madge Strong 7 months ago

    Dear Supervisors,
    I strongly urge you not to reduce the funding for energy efficiency and conservation measures. This would be totally false economizing. As you invest in energy upgrades, you SAVE money, especially with the constantly rising costs of energy. At the same time, maybe even more importantly, you help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do our County’s part to address the climate crisis. Keeping this funding is a win-win situation. Cutting that part of the budget, on the other hand, would be utterly counter-productive.
    Thank you for doing the right thing.
    Sincerely, Madge Strong (39 Mill Creek Dr., Willits)

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    Peter McNamee 7 months ago

    The CEO’s budget report spotlights that utility and fuel costs are driving a more than 22% increase in County operation costs. The GrassRoots Institute has devoted extensive time and resources exploring options the County could take to cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions. We concur with the WilDan energy assessment recommendations to cut ongoing county costs thru onetime energy conservation and decarbonization investments. Decades of research demonstrates investing in energy conservation, solar systems, replacing obsolete inefficient HVAC with heat pump systems, converting to energy efficient lighting, insulating and weatherizing to conserve HVAC use, and converting to a fuel efficient vehicle fleet produce ongoing enterprise-wide savings that far exceed costs.

    In 2021, the Board wisely chose to set aside onetime PG&E settlement funds to expend on energy conservation measures that reduce County operational costs. Approximately half those funds have been committed, and plans have developed to utilize the other half to further reduce ongoing utility & fuel costs.

    You’ve recognized that responsible management of the County means that wise investment in ongoing energy reduction isn’t a luxury its a necessity. Therefore we urge you to stay the course that produces the best County outcomes. Reject the unwise recommendation to eliminate onetime funding for energy conservation and carbon emission reduction initiatives that cut ongoing County operation costs.

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    Cecelia Sullivan 7 months ago

    I’m in opposition of the PG&E settlement for Carbon Reduction funds be moved to the general fund designated reserve.

    With projections of higher fuel costs and the impacts of climate change, I think it’s prudent to invest in clean energy products and solutions not only to save money in the long run, but to reduce local pollution and help target an aversion of climate catastrophe.

    Local governments have discovered the costs savings of electric vehicles due to less expensive electricity and maintenance costs. By also investing in solar, fuel costs for electric vehicles can be further offset.

    Further reading:

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    Heather Seggel 7 months ago

    Hello! I oppose any move to reallocate PG&E settlement funds to the general fund. We need to improve energy efficiency and conserve more, and these funds, if used as intended, will save money by enabling both. Abandoning that project, or trying to kick it down the road, is a recipe for higher expenses and longer term problems. Thanks for your consideration.
    Heather Seggel