The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors went on record on Tuesday supporting the establishment of a national fee and dividend on carbon emissions. Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the proposal.
Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville cast the dissenting vote on the grounds she opposed the dividend feature of the proposal that was acted on and endorsed by the Contra Costa Sustainability Commission at its June 25 meeting and was finally presented to the full Board of Supervisors Tuesday, more than three months later.
“I do support cleaner air, but I don’t see how this will produce the desired result,” said Andersen. “This isn’t the plan for me.”
Contra Costa County can now be counted as one of a number of California counties backing the proposal lobbied by Citizens Climate Lobby for a federal revenue-neutral carbon-based fuel fee and dividend proposal to reduce catastrophic climate change from global warming.
Other counties already signing on in support of the Citizens Climate Lobby carbon emissions initiative are San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and Marin. Bay Area cities that back the initiative include Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Los Altos, Oakland, Petaluma, Richmond, and San Carlos.
“We have 12 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” Citizens Climate Lobby member Doug Merrill, a resident of Lafayette, told supervisors in encouraging them to endorse the initiative.
“We need to pay for our air pollution problems,” said Betty Lobos, also a Citizens Climate Lobby supporter.
At the national level, the carbon fee and dividend concept is gaining traction, especially within the energy industry where ExxonMobil this month announced it will donate $1 million to Americans for Carbon Dividend founded by former United States Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott.
Ordinance Banning Polystyrene Food/Beverage Containers in the Works
Supervisors, most likely next year, will act on an ordinance that will ban polystyrene food and beverage containers to be used in stores located in unincorporated Contra Costa County.
The County Department of Public Works will draft the ordinance at a cost of $75,000 after completing a recent Regional Water Quality Control Board stormwater permit review in which it was found that in order for the county to improve stormwater quality it needs to reduce different types of trash, especially the most prevalent, polystyrene containers.
The Public Works Department request was unanimously approved as a consent item. The department estimates it will cost about $25,000 a year to enforce the ordinance.
In late August, the Department of Public Works mailed letters to about 200 stores, markets and other businesses that would be affected by the proposed ordinance to inform them about why the county is proposing to adopt a ban on polystyrene food and beverage containers and what would be included in the proposed ban.
Increased Payment for Citizen Document Access Solution
Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a contract amendment with Granicus, Inc. to increase the payment limit by $175,000 to a new payment limit of $825,816 for the continued hosting of the Citizen Document Access Solution. The contract was also extended from Oct. 9, 2018 to Oct. 8, 2021.
“The increase of the payment limit includes annual maintenance, support charges, software charges and web hosting fees, “County Administrator David Twa explained a memo to supervisors. “The new annual charges for October 9, 2018 to October 8, 2021 reflect a lower annual price of $9,708. This is due to the new and more efficient hardware and decommissioning of old hardware and the subtraction of a module called Meeting Efficiency.”
Contracting with Granicus for a Citizen Document Access Solution supports the county in meeting the goals of the Better Government Ordinance, complying with new website posting provisions of the Brown Act and using improved technology to deliver to citizens.
Supervisors Add One Meeting in 2019
Supervisors approved a 2019 meeting schedule that will call for 31 meetings instead of 30 meetings as initially planned. Supervisors scratched the meeting slated for February 19, figuring January would be a busy month with three meetings. A March 19 meeting will be needed, even though supervisors are scheduled to meet on Cesar Chavez Day, March 26, where business might be light. A meeting was added for December 17 because there was only one meeting originally scheduled that month, December 10.
Vice Chair John Gioia of Richmond is slated to become chair next year. It is yet to be decided who will become vice chair in 2019, either District 2 Supervisor Andersen, who has served on the board since 2012, or District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has been on the board for two years.