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The Willits City Council has passed a budget for the next Fiscal Year that includes a deficit but with a promise to hold periodic finance committee meetings to keep working on the budget. The Willits News reports the budget passed narrowly 3-2 with a $389,747 deficit and a goal of finding both more savings and more revenue. Councilman Ron Orenstein who voted against it says while the city’s working capital reserve fund is still pretty healthy, he is concerned about some unknowns, including what impact the Willits bypass could have on city revenue. The paper reports that in a budget workshop held last month, the City Manager listed the cannabis industry as a potential new revenue source for the city but noted there could be a delay before the revenue rolls in. The City Council meeting also included a presentation on the latest draft of the cannabis ordinance and held a lengthy discussion on many of its contents.

Harsh words from the Mendocino County grand jury regarding the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District. In a report released this week the grand jury called the district “financially irresponsible” saying they are “currently and habitually delinquent on their capital lease and outstanding loans….was over seven months late in completing the 2015-16 annual audit and currently in Chapter 9 bankruptcy.” The Ukiah Daily Journal cites the grand jury report as raising “substantial doubt” about whether the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District can continue. The reports says for the past four years the district has been getting advances on county property tax funds, also known as Teeter funds, to help pay bills. But the grand jury recommends the county audit the district before giving them any more Teeter money.

The playground at Library Park in Lakeport is back open. The City announced yesterday that they got it open in time for the Independence Day weekend and celebration in the Park Tuesday. The entire Park was closed for several weeks due to damage from the major winter storms and flooding. Lake County News reports at last week’s Lakeport City Council meeting, the City Manager said due to the County having been declared a disaster area as a result of the storms, the city expects to receive close to 100-percent federal reimbursement for repairs to city facilities including the park.

The Ukiah Valley Trail Group says although the high water at Lake Mendocino has some areas inaccessible the trails on the south and east sides of the lake are open. The Trail Group tells the Daily Journal they recognized years ago that in high water years the trails would be flooded so they enacted several projects to make sure the trails would stay open and above water. That include a realignment of nearly five miles of trails along the east side of the lake in 2006, two trail realignments around Perry’s Cove in 2012, a realignment of trail just north of Boater’s Beach in 2010, a short realignment of the Shakota Trail in 2011 and building the 60-foot fiberglass Big Bridge in 2008. The Ukiah Valley Trail Group is working on plans to realign the rest of the trails so all trails are accessible even when the lake level is at its highest.

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