Kenwood Press

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News: 09/01/2020

Time is now for input on county PG&E settlement funds

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is seeking public input on how to allocate $149 million in Pacific Gas & Electric settlement funds. The Board is accepting input from the community via email until Sept. 4. Staff will then compile, summarize and share these ideas prior to the Board’s Oct. 6 meeting.

The funds are the result of a lawsuit Sonoma County filed against PG&E as a result of the October 2017 fires. Sonoma County and eight other public entities settled their damage claims with PG&E on June 18, 2019 for a total of $415 million, out of which the county received $149.3 million, after attorneys’ fees and costs.

Losses from the 2017 fires include $111.5 million in damages to roads, culverts and trees and ecosystem service losses, including watershed restoration and water quality protection. The County also has listed other costs including $26.8 million in out-of-pocket expenses, which includes staff time and labor costs to perform work related to the fire response and recovery efforts.

In determining allocations for the funds, the Board of Supervisors is expected to consider making further investments in recovery and resiliency as guided by the Recovery and Resiliency Framework vision, and also by the County’s five-year Strategic Plan priorities, which supervisors are now in the process of updating. As discussed during July 27-28 Budget Workshops, the Board also may decide to use a portion of the settlement funds to address the County’s current $45 million budget shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

Community members are encouraged to provide input by emailing suggestions to between now and Sept. 4.

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