Karl Broussard’s Letter to the Editor in the July 29 Free Lance is grossly inaccurate in its initial premise that myself, as well as three of the other Supervisors, have already made a decision on the Landfill Expansion project that we will be considering later this year. Mr. Broussard has started his letter by confusing two totally distinct issues: (1) the PORC initiative (called the “Let Voters Decide How San Benito Grows”), which will be on the November ballot; and (2) the decision whether to approve or not the Landfill Expansion project, of which a draft EIR has just been released for public review and input.
To be clear, I am indeed adamantly opposed to the PORC initiative, and I have made my strong feelings known in multiple Board of Supervisors meetings. I will be actively trying to defeat this ill-conceived initiative, both in my role as an individual Supervisor and as a long-time resident of our county. If passed, the initiative would all but eliminate the county’s ability to raise additional revenue—in the form of increased sales taxes—from new commercial and industrial development in the unincorporated parts of San Benito County.
The county badly needs this additional revenue to pay for better services for all of us that live here. Services like improving the roads, paying for more sheriff deputies, building parks, expanding our library…the list goes on and on. But this initiative would essentially kill any opportunity for this additional revenue, and the improved services that revenue would bring, to happen.
I strongly encourage everyone in the community to get educated on this very important issue before voting on it in November.
On the other hand, I have absolutely not made a decision on the landfill expansion itself, nor would it be appropriate to do so at this juncture. As mentioned, the draft EIR on the possible expansion has just been released, and the hope is that as many people as possible will read it and give input on it during the ongoing 45-day review period. It can be found on the county’s website at www.cosb.us/JSRLexpansion.
Once input is received from the public, that input will be used to finalize the EIR, and ultimately the project will come before both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for a decision that will likely come later this year.
The draft EIR presents not only the impacts and possible mitigation measures if the landfill were expanded, but also multiple alternatives to be considered. As public input is still being gathered and all of the information that a decision will be based on is yet to be finalized, it would once again be inappropriate for any of the Supervisors to have made a decision now on how they might ultimately vote on the project.
In his conflating of our positions on the November ballot initiative with the landfill expansion project, Mr. Broussard’s Letter to the Editor claimed that four of us on the Board of Supervisors were not open-minded regarding the landfill and that we had already made our decisions. This is absolutely false, and it’s important that everyone in the community knows that.
When the appropriate time comes, all five of us on the board will make the best decision we can, weighing all of the pros and cons of moving forward or not with an expansion.
San Benito County Supervisor