Friday, June 01, 2007

Column preview

Here is a preview of my Ross Valley Reporter column submitted for next week.

Thank You Economic Development Advisory Committee: In November 2006, your Town Council decided to enlist the assistance of the business community in reviewing and tackling the issues of how we can foster greater business success, increase revenue to the Town, and enhance economic development activity. To that end, the Town’s first ever Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) was formed. The members of the EDAC include: Jeff Burton, owner of Bath and Beyond; Fred Codoni, retired railroad company manager; Garry Graham, owner of 19 Broadway nightclub; Leah Smith, manager at Marin Farmers Market; Mark Squire, co-owner of Good Earth; and Augie Venezia, co-owner of Fairfax Lumber and Hardware. Over the course of six months of volunteering their time to this endeavor, these businesspeople met several times, reviewed financial data provided by the Town, and provided the Town Council with their suggestions on how the Town can generate more revenue and augment economic development efforts. Their proposal has been posted on the Town website for two months now for all to view at, click on Strategic Planning, then locate the item, “Final Economic Committee Recommendations.” The list of ideas is long, and I recommend that everyone read through the posted 5-page document. The next step is for the Town Council to make its recommendations regarding the EDAC proposals and to direct staff regarding implementation of the ideas. On behalf of the Mayor and Council, I would like to publicly thank the members of the Economic Development Advisory Committee for their time, thoughtful deliberation, and dedication to helping the Town of Fairfax in this with this critical issue.

FEMA Appeals: I’d like everyone to know that we are in the midst of five appeal processes with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on disaster-related projects from 17 months ago. We are supplying them with additional justification and data that they have asked for, and we are still waiting for responses on these issues while approximately $700,000 due to the Town of Fairfax hangs in the balance. We have enlisted the assistance of our State and Federal elected officials to help with lobbying on behalf of the Town. Regarding the status of Creek Road Bridge, on May 17th a FEMA Senior Biologist informed us that they obtained concurrence from the National Marine Fisheries Service for us to move forward on the repair. However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants additional information as they believe there is still potential for red legged frogs to be in the area, even though FEMA found there to be a low potential for the frogs in their environmental review conducted under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. A FEMA representative indicated to me that they are “trying to speed up the process.”

Town Council Meeting: Our next regular Town Council meeting is on June 6th at 7:30 p.m. in the Women’s Club. Among the items on the agenda will be the introduction of an ordinance establishing a second dwelling unit amnesty program, and an ordinance banning the use of plastic take-out grocery bags by retail stores in town. We will also have a review of a Marin Grand Jury report on retiree health care costs.

Joint Meeting on Police Consolidation: As a follow-up to the joint meeting with San Anselmo with respect to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) study on police consolidation held in January, the Town Councils of Fairfax and San Anselmo are holding a joint meeting to further explore the issues with respect to potential consolidation of police services for cost savings. The public meeting will be held on Saturday, June 23rd from 9 a.m. to Noon in the Fairfax Women’s Club at 46 Park Road.