Santa Maria Sun / Community
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Community Notebook 6/25/15 - 7/2/15
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1
• The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission has its regular meeting at 9 a.m. in the Planning Commission Hearing Room, 123 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara. The agenda is available at www.sbcountyplanning.org.
• The Santa Maria Planning Commission has its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall, 110 E. Cook St., Santa Maria.
THURSDAY, JULY 2
• The Santa Maria Planning Commission has a study session at 10 a.m. in the Community Development Department, 110 S. Pine St., Santa Maria.
• The Santa Barbara County Local Agency Formation Commission has its regular meeting at 2 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, 105 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara. Agendas are available at www.sblafco.org/agendas_minutes.sbc.
• The Buellton Planning Commission has its regular meeting at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 140 W. Highway 246, Buellton. Agendas are available at cityofbuellton.com.
Political Watch 6/25/15
• On June 19, the California Legislature passed a number of budget bills that headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, including one to provide an additional $265 million for California’s child care and preschool programs. A press release from the California Legislative Women’s Caucus said the programs have been a top priority of the caucus’s Democratic members and that over the past two years, the caucus has helped restore to the programs more than half a million dollars that was cut during the economic downturn. The release states that even with this year’s additional funding, and increases in Proposition 98 funding, the state will be offering 50,000 fewer child care slots than it did in 2008-2009. “This funding in today’s budget represents a step forward for our state as we continue our work rebuilding and recovering from the recession. Yet, we still have so far to go. We are the [world’s] seventh largest economy, yet we are still serving less than a quarter of all eligible children through our state child care programs. We may be known as a state of great innovation, yet we fail to meet the needs of all our youngest learners and prepare them well for school,” state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) said in the release. “We are a state of great wealth, and yet we continue to have the nation’s highest child poverty rate. Today’s budget is just the beginning of the work we must continue to make affordable, accessible, high-quality early care and education a priority for California.”
• The Santa Maria City Council unanimously passed the 2015-2016 budget on June 17. The move funded seven new positions, including three police officers. The general fund will see an increase of $5.6 million over previous years, brining it to $63.7 million. According to a press release from the city, ongoing general fund revenues total only $60.1 million, but the City Council opted to use one-time reserves of $3.6 million to bridge the budget gap. Six of the seven new positions will be funded out of the general fund: four at the police department—with the fourth to assist in the department’s crime lab. The budget will also be funding the construction of a city monument sign, essentially a welcome sign, along southbound Highway 101 near the Highway 135 off-ramp.
• On June 18, Gov. Jerry Brown responded to an announcement Pope Francis made calling climate change a global problem by saying: “In the face of the deep obsession with markets and material stuff, Pope Francis has called attention to our fundamental dependency on the natural environment. It’s now up to leaders in business and government—and wherever else—to join together and reverse our accelerating slide into climate disorder and widespread suffering.”
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