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Monte Rio Musings - Chuck Ramsey - October 2016

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Monte Rio Musings - Chuck Ramsey - October 2016 

Fall is here! Change is in the air, and change is good. 

Monte Rio Chamber has just added business listings to the website. Please support our local chamber members. Kudos to Raj with the new paint job on Bartletts!

The Chamber and Alliance are working on four local issues: Proposed permanent Low Flow which will have an effect on our tourism. TOT proposed increase (Transient Occupancy hotel bed Tax) which will be on the November ballot. The proposal is to increase the tax from 9 to 12 percent. The tax is collected to promote tourism, and also to mitigate effects of tourism. How much are we collecting locally? How much do we get back locally? Where is it being spent? Where will the increase be spent? Another related issue is to better manage the impact of traffic from large events. Large events require a permit and traffic mitigation has to be better addressed as part of the permit process. We love events and tourists, but we need to do a better job of managing the impact of tourism on our residents. The last issue is Wastewater. This will take some time, but with the state deadlines getting closer, we want to have local input into any proposed solutions. Monte Rio needs a reasonable wastewater solution so our downtown and neighborhoods can thrive.  

The Russian River Alliance has been working with the county the last few years to increase our HRC (Human Rights Campaign) MEI (Municipal Equality Index). This scorecard rates how well our county government compares to others nationwide on equality measures. We are proud to announce that the next scorecard being released later this year will give us a 100% for the first time. This is the benchmark we have been aiming for. It is important not only because we have a large LGBT population and are a large LGBT tourism destination, but because we are a progressive area and need to be leading the way on equality measures.

The Russian River Alliance also continues to work on improving our local air quality. Governor Brown just signed into law the nation’s strictest plan to cut emissions. Part of this new law is to reduce black carbon emissions by offering rebates to continue a steady shift away from residential wood burning stoves. Hopefully this will include offering rebates through our electric utility companies and the county for changing out wood burning stoves for clean energy high efficiency heat pumps. In our area we have very limited air regulations, such as we have no Spare the Air Days and we have neighbors burning unseasoned wet wood uncleanly with visible smoke emanating from their wood stoves. We even have some neighbors open burning in their yards. Although our local Air Quality Board is beginning to enforce the minimal regulations we currently have, our environmentally progressive area deserves better from our county. We need to catch up with the State and ensure our air quality is clean and healthy.

Monte Rio Recreation and Park District is beginning to offer programs and activities. Now is your chance to voice your opinion about what types of activities and classes you would be interested in having locally. I have been a proponent of this for years and am so glad it is coming to fruition. Please complete the survey at mrrpd.org. The District also wants to remind you that facilities are available for very reasonable local rental rates for holiday parties, birthday parties, family get-togethers, etc. Contact Jean at 707 865-9956 to book your party now.

Lastly, as this edition goes to print, we had a Candidate Forum in the Monte Rio Community Center. The crowd was over 150 people, the parking lot was full, and people were out the doors. This is great to see and is a testament to our engaged population. I want to thank Noreen Evans and Lynda Hopkins for again reaching out to our community. They are both well educated on topics that concern us and are passionate about serving us. I also want to thank Vesta for putting on this very worthwhile event. 

Vacation Wonderland. We just keep getting better.