Winter 2014 pg9

A penny for your thoughts



Humboldt County

5th District Supervisor – Ryan Sunberg

Ryan Sundberg
Ryan Sundberg

1. What is your perspective on how the General Plan is coming along? –

After many years of very slow progress, I am very pleased with how we are progressing with the review of the Planning Commission draft. The Board has finished about three-quarters of the draft, and has sent one element to the Planning Commission to be refined, and corrected. We are doing a robust notification of land owners to let them know if their property is changing at all. We will also be holding community meetings so folks have another chance at letting the board know what they would like their community to look like. I am hopeful that our Board will complete our review by the end of the year.

2. What concrete steps do you feel the county needs to make to support new industry and economic growth? –

Our new Panning Director has made significant changes to the Planning and Building Department that have improved our relationship with the community and will better enable economic expansion. Through the General Plan Update process we must ensure that we have sufficient land available for economic development and we must also adopt an Economic Development Element that gives the County tools to assist in job growth. In addition, we have supported a bottom up approach to helping local businesses though Prosperity 2013.

3. What is your vision for rural living in our county 20 years from now? –

Humboldt County has a long tradition of rural living and I support the right for landowners to live on their land and I support the development of policies to protect that right. I believe with a careful balance between rights and environmental responsibility, people can live the way they want and not hurt the environment.

4. What are your top three priorities for the expenditure of discretionary funds? –

As many of you know, we have very few discretionary funds available to meet the huge demand for public services, but when an opportunity is available, I will use these as my priorities:

  • 1st: public safety and health, a fundamental service of local government.
  • 2nd: support business and workforce development.
  • 3rd: provide for and maintain infrastructure.

5. Given the state’s current fiscal condition, do you believe the county is too reliant on grant monies that could potentially lead to a “boom and bust”? –

A fact of life today is to seek grants to fund many of the services that we simply do not have the funds to support. I believe that it is not the best situation for a local government to be dependent on grant funding to meet service demands, but with the current state of funding and the options that are available, we must seek any and all funding opportunities to meet our service needs.

6. What do you predict for the future of the Williamson Act in Humboldt County? –

Statewide nearly fifteen million acres of land is in Williamson Act contract and in Humboldt County we have over 280,000. The protection from increased property taxes is often what makes an agricultural operation viable. As the readers are aware, we are looking at making sure that the properties enrolled in the program are operations that should be in the program. Maintaining the Williamson Act program in Humboldt County is a very high priority for me and I predict that in twenty years we will be continuing to support agricultural operations through this program.

7. Humboldt County has a 200 million dollar maintenance backlog. How do you plan to address the public roads and infrastructure needs in the county? –

This is a huge problem with few options for fixing our rural roads. I did not support across the board impact fees for landowners as a solution to this problem; however Public Works is studying a more focused impact fee to support local road infrastructure. I support our Public Works Director working with interested parties to find innovative and reasonable solutions to improve funding for public road maintenance. We are doing this by sitting on virtually every funding committee out there at the State and Federal levels. We are using different maintenance techniques to improve the quality of the roads using less money. Finally, we are using the best science out there, prioritizing roads for maintenance to make our money go further.


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