Opinion

COLUMN: Notes From The Chair

In this latest column, San Benito County Supervisor Mark Medina discusses road repair funds and upcoming transportation projects.

This column was written and contributed by San Benito County Supervisor Mark Medina. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

On April 2, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors met to discuss 17 consent items, one public hearing item, 10 regular items and five closed session items. The items I will be discussing today will include the following:

Delegate authority to the County Administrative Officer (CAO) to move forward with the John Smith Road overlay project through an Invitation for Bids (IFB) process. Authorize the CAO to approve the scope of work for the project not exceed $375,000; Approve budget adjustment increasing appropriation in the amount of $375,000 for the transfer of fund balance from Integrated Waste Management to the Road Fund and $375,000 for increased appropriations in the Road Fund for expenditures related to the overlay project. (4/5 vote) https://sanbenito.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/MeetingView.aspx?MeetingID=274&MinutesMeetingID=-1&doctype=Agenda

Consider adoption of an interim ordinance as an urgency measure to establish a temporary moratorium on the cultivation of industrial hemp within the unincorporated areas of San Benito County https://sanbenito.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=3944&MeetingID=274

Receive a report on potential projects for the FY 2019-20 SB 1 road program and adopt Resolution adopting projects for Fiscal Year 2019-20 Funded by SB 1: The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

John Smith Road will be going out to bid and the first 7/10 of a mile will be repaired with monies from the Integrated Waste Management fund. This expenditure will not come from the general fund. The anticipated completed date will be in late summer. This motion passed by a 5-0 vote.

There was a motion on the floor to consider a temporary moratorium on the cultivation of hemp in San Benito County, but the motion was not successful by a vote of three to Supervisors Hernandez, Gillio, and De La Cruz supported the moratorium, and Supervisors Botelho and Medina did not support the motion. The motion failed being it required 4/5 of the votes to pass.

I didn’t support the moratorium because the research I did on the 2018 Farm Bill went several steps further and legalized the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity while removing it from the list of controlled substances. The 2018 bill also listed hemp as a covered commodity under crop insurance and directed the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation board to streamline the process for developing hemp policies. Given the excitement and uncertainty around the market potential for hemp, the 2018 bill also requires the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study of the hemp-related agricultural pilot programs implemented under the 2014 Farm Bill, along with any other agricultural and academic research on the subject, to determine the economic viability of a domestic hemp market.

The federal and state authorities will come out with certain regulations in the middle of April, and prior to supporting a moratorium I would like to research this matter with additional information. I would also like to go on the record stating I would like to see an ordinance that would require hemp cultivation to be allowed in areas that are 10 acres or more. I wouldn’t like to have cultivation on residential five-acre parcels as there would possibly be an odor nuisance involved. I have links to two articles I read to assist me in my decision making process:

https://republicansagriculture.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2018_farm_bill_conference_report_text.pf

and

https://www.fb.org/market-intel/2018-farm-bill-provides-a-path-forward-for-industrial-hemp

We had a healthy discussion about what roads we intend to repair with SB 1 monies. SB 1 monies are monies we receive from the state as a result of increasing our gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon on fuel and 20 cents per gallon on diesel. We did decide to use these monies to repair parts of Ludis, Southside, Union Heights, Valley View, Union, Burns Vista and Blossom Roads. We also discuss the Measure G funding which was brought to the voters in November and was victorious by a vote of 69.77% in favor and 30.23% against. Mr. Wayne Norton, a resident of Aromas, brought up a valid question regarding how we can use the SB 1 money, general fund money, and Measure G money collectively to repair these roads in a more efficient manner. The county will use Measure G money to construct and or repair the following as outlined in the November 2018 ballot measure.

The county through the Council of San Benito County Governments (COG) shall prioritize investment plan projects in the following way:

1. Widen Highway 25: Relieve Traffic and Improve Safety. The Council of Governments shall fund an environmental study, design and construction of the Highway 25 four-lane Expressway Project, building a new four-lane highway between Hollister and Santa Clara County. Local funds will be used to match with state (Local Partnership Program and State Transportation Improvement Program) and federal funds as well as local Traffic Impact Mitigation Fees. The Council of Governments and its local jurisdictions will work closely with the California Department of Transportation and the California Transportation Commission to maximize the state contributions to project development and funding the project. In addition, local developers will be required to pay their “fair share” for project impacts of new housing and retail development on the highway, which is identified as 40% of the total cost.

2. Local Street and Road Repair, Maintenance and Rehabilitation, and Improvements. Improve Safety and Traffic Flow Funding will be provided to each local jurisdiction (City of Hollister, City of San Juan Bautista, and San Benito County) based on a formula. Funds will be distributed annually by Council of Governments and local jurisdictions will implement based on their Pavement Management Plans. Local funds will be used to match with state gas tax funds already provided to the local jurisdictions. Funds will be distributed in order to ensure county-wide equity, including, but not limited to: San Benito County local neighborhood street and road maintenance by priority from San Benito County pavement index study and capital improvement projects, re-evaluated on an annual basis, including but not limited to: • Anzar Road Repair from Searle Road to Gannon Road • Buena Vista Road • Carr Avenue Bridge Replacement • Carr Avenue Heavy Rehab • Cienega Road at Bird Creek Bridge Replacement • Cienega Road Heavy Rehab and Seal Cracks • Cole Road Heavy Rehab/Repair from Ricardo Ct. to Anzar Road • F Street – Tres Pinos Heavy Rehab and Seal Cracks • Fairview & Fallon Road Intersection Realignment and/or Signalization • Fairview Road Heavy Rehab and Seal Cracks • Frazier Lake Road • Nash Road • San Benito Street Heavy Rehab from Southside Road to Union Road • San Felipe Road Heavy Rehab • San Juan Canyon Road Heavy Rehab from Salinas Road to end of PCC • San Juan Highway from Anzar Road to Hwy 101 • Shore Road Heavy Rehab and Seal Cracks from Hwy 25 to San Felipe Road • Southside Road Heavy Rehab • Union Road Heavy Rehab and Seal Cracks.

If you have any questions and or concerns please call or text me at 831-801-4784 or e-mail me at medinadistrict1@gmail.com.

Thank you for allowing me to serve my community!

 

Mark Medina