Fort Bragg Under Covid

First, the City Council downgraded the City’s Water Emergency from a Stage 2 to a Stage 1 Emergency on September 28, 2020. The primary difference is that Stage 1 water conservation measures target a 10% water reduction and set forth a number of mandatory water saving actions. Those can be found on the City’s website. Stage 2 water conservation measures target a 20% water reduction and require all of the Stage 2 water saving actions plus it forbids watering ornamental landscaping and lawns. With the cooler weather and onset of fall, the flows in the Noyo river have risen. We expect to keep the Stage 1 Water Emergency in place until at least the end of October and the end of the high tides that can inhibit the City’s ability to pump water from the Noyo. 

The City has continued to test the City’s sewer for COVID. The most recent results reported a “None Detected” for the two strains of COVID-19. While the strength and presence of COVID-19 in the sewer are helpful to gather information in the long term, it provides no information to help identify who is COVID-19 positive. More recently, test results have borne some relationship to the number of reported active cases in the 95437 zip code, as provided by Mendocino County. Keep in mind that the 95437 zip code expands beyond the City’s sewer service. The history of the test results is provided below: 

For low and moderate income households who may be having difficulty paying their rent due to COVID-19, funds are still available through the City’s Tenant Based Rental Assistance program. Assistance is provided on a first come, first served basis to qualified applicants who reside within City Limits. Please call (707) 961- 2823, extension 106 or email tbra@fortbragg.com. In addition to the City’s TBRA program, the State of California extended its COVID eviction protections through January 31, 2021. There are several requirements that tenants seeking the protections must meet and landlords have a duty to provide certain information to their tenants or they may be fined. 

For more information visit landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/.

The website also provides information about protection for homeowners and landlords with four or fewer properties who may be experiencing difficulty making their mortgage payments because of COVID-19. 

Chief Naulty and Sheriff Kendall have both reported an increase in behavioral health issues and domestic violence calls for service. A friend told me that she recently called her employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to make an appointment and it was a six week waiting period. Just a reminder that there are services available and places to call if you need crisis or non-crisis support. The 24/7 toll free crisis line, if you need help right away and are a danger to yourself or others, is 1-855-838-0404. Mendocino County has a Warm Line that provides non-crisis support and compassion for Mendocino County residents. It is also free and confidential. Call 1-833-955-2510 or (707) 472-2311. 

Project Sanctuary, whose mission is to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, provides a number of services. For coastal services, please call (707) 463-4357. Safe Passage, also here in Fort Bragg, provides help for victims of domestic and sexual violence. As a side note, the City Council will be recognizing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month at its October 13, 2020 regular meeting. Finally, but not least, the Fort Bragg Unified School District provides families social-emotional support for enrolled students through school counselors at each site. Just reach out directly to your child’s school and ask for the Counselor. 

As an update on the City’s economic health, the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) or hotel tax receipts have been tallied for July and August. Revenue for July was down just 10% from the prior year and August revenue was up 14% over August 2019. The City is projecting similar results for September and October. 

I regularly get asked about when the C.V. Starr Community Center will be able to reopen. At this point, it isn’t about the sales tax revenue but the Mendocino County Shelter in Place order, and the State of California’s tiered reopening schedule, which currently requires all purple tier businesses, including indoor pools and indoor gym and fitness facilities, to be closed. 

Lastly, a couple of updates on upcoming City Meetings. On October 13, a Tuesday because of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the City Council will consider approving Budget Amendment No. 5 and a Request for Proposals (RFP) scope of work for professional services to prepare a commercial cannabis cultivation ordinance. At the October 14, 2020 Planning Commission meeting, the Commissioners will consider recommendations for a Formula Business Ordinance. If you haven’t already, share your thoughts on Formula Businesses by completing a short survey: surveymonkey.com/r/25MQNHH.

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