Some Shasta County ranchers, farmers and other landowners pleaded with the Board of Supervisors Tuesday not to take away their tax breaks. The Williamson Act reduces property taxes for landowners who promise to keep their land undeveloped, giving an incentive for retaining a rural landscape. The state reimburses the county for the lost tax revenue, but not all of it. There’s a rule that allows for changes if the county gets less than half reimbursed for its lost tax revenue. Those changes reduce the tax savings to landowners and reduce the length of their contracts. Supervisor Chris Kelstrom pointed out that, while sympathizing with landowners, the county needs to get its tax revenue. Nonetheless, he and Supervisor Tim Garmin voted against the resolution while Patrick Jones and Kevin Crye voted for it. Mary Rickert recused herself due to being a participant in the Williamson Act program. So, without a majority, the resolution failed.
Later in the meeting a salary resolution was passed to will allow Sheriff Michael Johnson to move forward with his plan to reopen the shuttered floor of the jail. The resolution changes the staffing assignments at the jail as well as the annex in South Redding. The board also voted unanimously to spend $100,000 on a website, mailers and a commercial to inform the public about the implications of the Fountain Wind Project. The windmill proposal was rejected by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, but the wind energy company has been lobbying the state to override the county denials.