This morning, the County Administrative Office sent out an email to “community leaders” to talk about the county’s financial situation and Measure S, a proposed tax on legal cultivation that was placed on the ballot by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject the measure this November.
CAO Amy Nilsen makes a pretty forward case for the measure in her letter, arguing that only a locally controlled source of revenue, one that state officials can’t touch, can fund the crackdown on nature-damaging illegal marijuana farms, which the county says is a public priority.
Dear Community Leader:
I am writing to you as a Humboldt County community leader to inform you about the County’s current fiscal situation and essential services needs.
Every year, the County holds an award-winning, interactive budget community meeting in order to keep the community informed and to solicit feedback about community priorities. Additionally, as a recently conducted independent community survey shows, the community’s top priorities include:
- Enforcing laws that require marijuana growers to protect natural areas and waterways
- Maintaining services for victims of child abuse
- Maintaining rural ambulance service
- Maintaining mental health services for children and families
- Providing communications for medical and first responders
- Cleaning up after environmentally damaging marijuana farms
- Providing drug treatment and rehabilitation services
Although counties work to protect local services from state takeaways, Sacramento continues to find new and creative ways to take our funds to balance its own budget. As you may know, Sacramento has taken more than $325 million from Humboldt County over the past 24 years.
Illegal marijuana farms destroy our environment and risk public health. To protect our public safety, environment and quality of life – including addressing the illegal drug industry and growing narcotics problems – we need locally controlled funding that cannot be taken by the state.
We will continue to keep the community informed about addressing essential services. For more information, see our enclosed Frequently Asked Questions and visit humboldtgov.org. If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
Amy S. Nilsen
County Administrative Officer
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is Measure S?
A: On August 9, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors unanimously placed Measure S on the November ballot. Measure S is a local commercial marijuana cultivation measure that, if enacted by voters, will help maintain local County services will locally-controlled funding.
Q: Why was Measure S placed on the ballot?
A: Humboldt County prides itself on fiscal responsibility, and protecting your public safety, environment and quality of life. As the state continually takes funding from local counties – over $325 million from Humboldt County alone – Measure S would provide a source of local funding to maintain essential services that cannot be taken by the State, including:
Enforcing laws that require marijuana growers to protect natural areas and water quality in rivers, creeks and streams
Maintaining services for victims of child abuse
Maintaining rural ambulance service
Maintaining mental health services for children and families
Providing communications services for medical and first responders
Cleaning up after environmentally damaging marijuana farms
Providing drug prevention and rehabilitation services
Q: How does Measure S help protect our natural resources and beauty of our County?
A: Illegal marijuana farms are destroying our environment and risking our health. They divert and dry up sensitive creeks and streams and use toxic pesticides that harm wildlife and risks public health. If enacted, Measure S will ensure marijuana growers pay their fair share to help protect our public safety, health and environment, while enforcing laws that require growers to protect our County’s natural areas and water quality.
Q: How does Measure S address the illegal drug industry and increased narcotics use in our region?
A: Hard drugs and narcotics like meth and heroin continue to be a growing problem in our County. With over $325 million in State takeaways over the past 24 years, Sacramento has taken significant revenue from Humboldt County’s budget. Measure S would provide additional funds to fight drug-related crimes, eliminate drug labs, and provide drug prevention and rehabilitation services.
Q: What does Measure S cost?
A: If enacted, Measure S will tax commercial marijuana growers at a rate of $1-$3 per square foot tax, based on the type of commercial marijuana grow. Funds from Measure S would be subject to strict accountability provisions including annual independent audits and public review of expenditures that ensure funds are spent efficiently and responsibly.
Q: When is the election?
A: November 8, 2016. To register to vote online and for more elections information, visit the Humboldt County Elections Department at humboldtgov.org.
Q: Where can I get more information about Measure S?
A: The County will continue to keep the community informed about Measure S. For more information, please visit the County website humboldtgov.org.