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City Manager's Blog

If you have questions or suggestions regarding this blog post, ideas for future blog posts, or any matter of City business, feel free to contact City Manager Tabatha Miller at (707)961-2829.    

Feb 28

What Goes Where - Trash, Recycle and Green Waste

Posted on February 28, 2019 at 8:11 AM by June Lemos

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February 27, 2019

In the last couple of months, I have had a number of discussions with City staff, City Councilmembers and my husband regarding what trash goes into which bin. Full disclosure, these discussions may cross over into disagreements (mostly with the husband). I historically have relied on the - when in doubt put it in the recycle bin mentality. This partially originates from the fact that my blue recycle bin is three times larger than my gray trash bin. Not only can I fit a lot more in the blue recycle bin but it makes me feel better about myself if my recycle bin is full. It somehow implies that I am doing my part to make the world a better place. 

Before I get too smug, I know that having my blue recycle bin full still means I consume too much and buy products with too much packaging and waste. It may also mean that I am contributing to the contamination by placing non-recyclable materials in the bin that makes the rest of my recyclables, and potentially everyone else’s in the truck bed, end up in the landfill. If you watched or read the staff report from the January 28, 2019 City Council meeting, you will know that disposing of recyclables in Fort Bragg cost us nothing ($0) in 2017, but before the end of 2018, we paid $60/ton for disposal. As a comparison, gray bin trash that goes to the landfill increased from $74.33/ton to $76.76/ton.  

Changes in the world market of recyclable materials in the last year are largely due to China, once the world's biggest importer of recyclable materials. Since January, when China tightened its standards for the waste it would accept, imports to China of solid waste have dropped more than 50%. Recyclable products that China hasn’t banned have much stricter rules regarding contamination. Other purchasers are also following China's lead and adopting stricter contamination standards. This means that less can be recycled, and I need to be more careful about what I place in the blue bin. 

The green bin provides more options for recycling by composting waste. In other communities where I have lived, the green bin was limited to grass cuttings, palm tree fronds and leaves. Here food scraps of all kinds, including meat, bones and shellfish can be placed in the green bin and sent to the compost facility in Redwood Valley.  Additionally, soiled paper and cardboard products that cannot be recycled can be composted, such as pizza boxes, paper towels, used coffee filters and tea bags.   

Here are a few resources for what goes where. Click here for a more complete list of what goes in which bin. For how to dispose of other household hazards such as paint or electronics reach out to Mendo Recycle at (707) 468-9710 or  For bigger items, remember that Waste Management will be hosting bulk pick-ups the week of March 25-29, (707) 964-9172. 

Dec 07

Honoring the Outgoing Councilmembers; Welcoming the Incoming

Posted on December 7, 2018 at 3:13 PM by June Lemos

On December 10, 2018, we will say goodbye to Councilmembers Dave Turner and Michael Cimolino and welcome new Councilmembers Tess Albin-Smith and Jessica Morsell-Haye.  Current Mayor Lindy Peters won reelection and will remain on the City Council for another four years.  One of the obvious changes that has gotten quite a bit of attention, is that two women will replace two men on the City Council. Having spent the spring and summer discussing district election systems and preferred candidates, it is nice to see a more diverse City Council.

All that said, I want to voice my gratitude to the current City Council.  These are the five men who hired me and have supported me over the last nine months.  Each of these gentlemen works hard (both at their normal jobs and the City), cares deeply about their community and have given a lot.  They are paid little - $300 per month and an additional $100 per month when Fort Bragg Municipal Improvement District No. 1 business is transacted, plus health insurance.   The Agenda Packet for a single City Council meeting can exceed 450 pages, which means Councilmembers spend a good portion of every other weekend preparing for the Monday night meeting.  Additionally, each Councilmember is assigned to committees, appointments and other official duties.  

In particular, both Councilmembers Turner and Cimolino deserve special recognition for their service.  Dave Turner has served the City for eighteen (18) years.  Two (2) as a Planning Commissioner and sixteen (16) as a City Councilmember.  I am new to the City but can see the work (the Coastal Trail, Dry Sheds, Noyo Center, Summers Lane Reservoir and Sister City program just to start) that has been accomplished with Dave serving on the Council and with his leadership as Mayor.  Thanks Dave!  Michael Cimolino worked for the City for eighteen (18) years, then served as City Councilmember for four (4).  Q-Ball knows where everything is, why it is there and who to call if you need it fixed.  After he leaves town, I am not sure who we will call in an emergency (actually we will still call him).  Thank you Q.

At Town Hall on December 10th at 5:30 p.m., the City will have a reception thanking Dave Turner and Michael Cimolino for their service and welcoming Tess Albin-Smith and Jessica Morsell-Haye to the City Council.  Please join us for light refreshments.  Following the reception, during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, the new Councilmembers will be sworn in and the City Councilmembers themselves will select a Mayor.

Councilmembers Will Lee, Jessica Morsell-Haye, Tess Albin-Smith, and Lindy Peters (not pictured, Bernie Norvell) at the Holiday Lights Parade
Nov 09

Election Anticipation

Posted on November 9, 2018 at 10:58 AM by June Lemos

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November 9 2018

Yesterday, I completed a survey for the League of California Cities on Legislative Priorities for the next year. The survey asked me to consider whether certain issues were not a priority, a low priority, medium priority, high priority, or unknown for Fort Bragg. Not surprisingly, I ranked most of the issues presented as a high priority. Those issues included increasing costs, affordable housing needs across all income levels, homelessness, climate and environmental quality, funding for various city services and infrastructure, adequate water supply, responding to disasters and specifically reducing wild fire risk, economic development, access to high-speed internet, reforming the district-based election system, loss of sales tax to online sales and increasing pension and post-employment benefits costs. 

The only issue, I believe I didn’t mark as a high priority was regulating drones. The process of completing the survey reminded me of the many challenges our community will face in the next few years. It also provided some comfort to know that most other cities in California and even elsewhere in our nation, are facing many of the same challenges and seeking solutions that may provide us guidance on how we deal with these issues.

In the days after the preliminary election results for our City have been posted, I speculate whether or not Measure H, the City’s proposed 3/8th of a cent sales tax increase, will gain votes as the final ballots are counted. The hospital’s parcel tax picked up enough yes votes in the post-election day counts to narrowly pass. It was down by about the same percent as Measure H – with 1,159 City ballots counted, 46.9% of the votes are in favor of the tax and 53.1% opposed. I heard this morning that there are still approximately 1,300 ballots to count for Fort Bragg, so there is certainly opportunity for the final outcome to shift. The funds from that sales tax would allow the City to meet the rising pension cost challenge and make it easier to respond to the other competing priorities and challenges that face our community over the next few years. 

Although I am certain that the seven City Council Candidates are also anxious to get the final results from the election, I am not worried about those results. The candidate pool was strong. The current frontrunners will certainly serve the City well as would the other candidates, if the outcome flips in the final election certification. Nevertheless, I am anxious to get the final results, so that the new City Council and staff can start working on the issues that will challenge us in the next few years. Whether we have the financial resources from Measure H or not, working with the community, we will create solutions to our challenges. I am hopeful.