Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County District 5, 5/5/06
Suction Dredge Mining:
Because the regulations were changed under a clause in a decade old environmental impact report, no one was able to raise current questions of social /economic impact or social justice before the regulations were changed. The unemployment rate in the area prior to regulatory impact was 19.6%. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that these communities are already struggling.
Williamson Act: Recently I heard a candidate for office say that he was in favor of eliminating the Williamson Act as it was an unfair tax-break for farmers. The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, or Williamson Act, allows Counties enter into long term (20 year automatically renewing) contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. In return, landowners receive property tax assessments which are much lower than normal because they are based upon farming and open space uses as opposed to full market value and development potential. County governments receive an annual subvention or “backfill” for loss of property tax revenues from the state through the Open Space Subvention Act of 1971.
Under Proposition 13 values, the County would normally receive $410,829 in property taxes from these lands. With the Williamson Act contract, the County actually receives $106,048 in property taxes on enrolled lands. However, the State backfills the County with an additional payment of $769,828 in “subvention” payments for a total of $875,877 to the County in revenues for Williamson Act lands. The Williamson Act is a win-win for agricultural landowners, their communities and County.
Methamphetamine: In addition to
impacts on individuals and families, a
tremendous amount of resources from the Court
system, law enforcement, mental health, social
services and public health are being allocated to
respond to the impacts of Methamphetamine. The
Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors will host a
public workshop on Tuesday, May 23 from
Water Quality: The State Water
Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is
currently reviewing the Scott River Total maximum
Daily Load (TMDL) Action Plan and appears to be
considering additional restrictions in response to
requests from Felice Pace and other coastal
Recently, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board held a “scoping session” on additional proposed regional regulations on uses that impact wetlands and riparian areas. I provided input at the meeting concerning social and economic impacts and the environmental impact of possible agricultural land conversions.
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