Despite all the cutting and trimming that has already been done to bring the Southern Humboldt Unified School District budget into balance, things are getting worse instead of better. That was the message delivered to the Board of Trustees at its April meeting.
The board was looking at “alternate areas” to cut costs and keep Agnes Johnson School in Weott open for at least another year.
Superintendent Clif Anderson said that the 1,051 Average Daily Attendance figure projection on which anticipated revenues were based turned out to be only 1,038, leaving a shortfall of $60,000.
Adding to the budget woes, Anderson said that the fiscal analyst was predicting that the $36 billion shortfall in state revenues may be as much as $3 billion more. If so, more cuts would be required.
A hearing had been delayed on whether or not Whitethorn developer Bob McKee could separate himself from some 50 other defendants in a lawsuit over disputed land deals involving former Tooby Ranch property.
McKee bought the 13,000 acres Tooby Ranch property in 2000 and subsequently sold a number of parcels to buyers who had begun to develop the smaller parcels. The county suit alleges that McKee and the other landowners are in violation of the Williamson Act, a state law that provides substantial tax breaks on their land each year that it is kept exclusively for agricultural purposes. The Tooby Ranch had been under a Williamson Act contract with the county since 1977.
McKee contended that the land sales were legal because they involved federal patent parcels which supersede state land use laws and that the new owners were committed to keeping their land in agricultural use.
County Administrative staff was calling for cutting the funding for the Chamber of Commerce by $4,200. The ongoing annual allocation of $28,000 had been provided a one-time bonus of $4,000 the previous year to help fund a tourism marketing strategy program aimed at the Highway 101 corridor through Marin and Sonoma counties. That would not be available in the current year and the cut was intended to bring the Chamber within “adopted budget parameters.”
The owners of the Community Park were exploring options to pay off their debt. Many promised contributions had not materialized and Buck Mountain was owed about $530,000. Another $300,000 was owed to three private lenders, according to an article from the park board of directors. They were seeking new fundraising ideas and more donations.