Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Letter to the Editor of the IJ - Flood Control Zone 9

Dear Editor,

I appreciate the front-page article “Fairfax objections snag Ross Valley flood control project” (January 23, 2007) and I would like to provide some clarification to make this article more complete and accurate. To clarify, the Board of Supervisors on January 22, 2007, adopted a resolution to amend the boundaries of Flood Control Zone No. 9 to incorporate the Town of San Anselmo and the Town of Fairfax, conditioned upon the Town of Fairfax’s deletion of condition 2 which was requesting final approval authority to Fairfax for any flood control projects within our jurisdiction. When the Town adopted its resolution requesting annexation into the flood control district at a meeting held on November 15, 2006, we did so in the presence of County officials, who understood our concerns with the district governance, local input and decision-making, and we all pledged to work together on solutions. It was not until January 12, 2007 that we learned that one of three conditions was not acceptable to County Counsel. We then called a special Town meeting on January 22, 2007 to discuss our approach to this new information. It was made clear at the Board of Supervisor’s hearing by our Mayor and Town Attorney that we are willing to work with the County counsel and flood control staff to amend our condition to be acceptable under the Flood Control and Water Conservation Code while maintaining the spirit of collaboration and consultation in the process of project planning. This was reiterated by Mayor Larry Bragman’s quote in your article, “We want to work with you. Put your hand out, and we’ll do what it takes to make that happen.” Instead, the article asserted that the Town would only join the flood district if we have the right of final project approval. This is no longer our position and this was explained at the Board meeting. Readers also may be misled by the citation of a proposed $22 annual parcel tax that is being proposed to make the district eligible for federal grants. The actual amount has not been decided upon but it will most likely be within a range of $125 for an average house based on the size of the parcel and land type, and these funds would be used to secure bonds and grant funding for the many projects which would be required over a time period of several years. Town Council and staff in Fairfax have been working actively and collaboratively for over a year as a part of Supervisor Hal Brown’s regional Ross Valley Watershed effort. We fully understand that on our own, we do not have the staffing necessary to research, design, manage and fund flood control projects of the magnitude required. We look forward to continuing to work on regional flood control, disaster relief, and emergency preparedness efforts to help all of our residents and the Ross Valley community move forward together on sensible and long-overdue solutions. The Town Council will soon be revisiting the flood control district annexation issue at its February 7th meeting

Linda Kelly
Town Manager
Town of Fairfax