Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


There were no presentations on this agenda so we moved directly into Public Comment. Reports were provided by our CAO, County Counsel, Supervisors, ad hoc committees, and one department head. One item was pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion and review. The board received a mid-year budget review with a special focus on financials related to the cannabis program. The board approved the creation of a Health and Human Services Bargaining Unit, approved the board’s response to the Grand Jury Report focused on mental health, and provided direction to staff regarding the opt-out requests submitted two to three years ago by three different communities. There were four agenda items for the Closed Session.

Here are the notes I took regarding the meeting. Please understand that this is not a comprehensive documentation of discussions and decisions.

  • Recommend a joint workshop with the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, and DCC representatives.
  • Update from FLOWRA leadership – they are expanding beyond cannabis-specific matters. Asked for the board to consider the ripple effect of decisions made by the BOS. Referred to donated time working with Tribal representatives. Asked for the opportunity to speak with Supervisor Carpenter-Harris regarding the Tribal Relations Ad Hoc Committee. Raised the issue of conflict of interest related to matters that come before the board.
  • Additional comments about the importance of avoiding conflict of interest. Request for the board to have a special meeting of the board before March 5th for the public to have access to the report generated in response to the PRA request focused on Supervisor Cox’s email.
  • Additional comments in support of a public workshop as mentioned by the first speaker. Also supported concerns raised regarding conflict of interest.



1.1 I. Report from Department Heads

  • Ed Prestley | Deputy Director – Community Development Department (9:18 AM)
    • General Plan work continues. We are now moving into workshops for community meetings, work on zoning, and more.
    • Cannabis Program Equity Grant – $1.8 M approved by the State as an equity grant for cannabis-related matters. Funds are to be used no later than 10.31.2025. The equity application process is under development. A survey will be used to gather information that will help guide the allocation of these grant funds.
  • Margaret Long | County Counsel
    • Proposed that we schedule required (every 2 years) board training regarding conflict of interest, etc. This will be scheduled for the next board meeting.

II. Report from County Administrative Officer

  • Trindel Board Meeting – focus on insurance requirements, received guidance regarding contract administration, etc.
  • Insurance Rates – ours have been going up and will continue to do so. We are taking steps to minimize/mitigate the increases.
  • CD Hall – public engagement forum (scheduled on 2.28.2024 at 6:30 PM at the CD Hall) to get public input regarding plans for this initiative.


III. Reports from Members of the Board of Supervisors


District 1 | Ric Leutwyler

  • NoRTEC | Out of County Travel – Anderson for NoRTEC strategic plan ad hoc committee meeting.
  • CA Jobs First – participated in sub-committees for Economic Development and Recreation & Tourism.
  • SCEDD – Board Meeting last week where the staff was directed to pursue the option of dissolving the JPA that formed the special district. The original nonprofit would remain intact. New agreements/MOUs would be established with counties etc.  Staff will research and bring back details.


District 2 | Jill Cox

  • SB1383 – Assembly Member Wood has agreed to author legislation on behalf of rural counties.
  • Fire Chief’s Meeting – met, nothing to report.


District 3 | Liam Gogan

  • Community Plan Meetings – shared dates and locations for District 3.
  • Town Hall Meetings – may schedule town hall meetings before the community plan meetings.
  • Trinity Opioid Safety Coalition – we have a much higher number of overdoses … than the state average.
  • PATH – Partnership in Action for Trinity Health – dental programs are a current highlight. Mentioned a lollipop that can help prevent cavities.
  • Lake Levels – shared that Trinity Lake is currently 65% to 67% full. Expects the lake level to continue to rise. Suggested a presentation from BOR in April. Noted that the lack of a large snow pack will limit the increase in lake level.


District 4 | Heidi Carpenter-Harris

  • Hyampom Roads – staying in touch with community members and sources of support regarding the ongoing challenges in this area.
  • The Watershed Center – Workshop on March 9th – the focus is on prescribed burn associations
  • NACO | Out-of-County Travel – 4 days in Washington, D.C. with NACO (national association of counties).
    • She focused on PILT and the Secure Rural Schools Act – joining others in pushing for full funding.
    • Also raised concerns regarding long-term impact of significant wildfires on communities/environment.
    • Pushing for the ability to continue accessing fire-related funds for a longer period.
    • Looking for streamlining of work related to impacts from action on federal lands.
  • Water Matters – spoke with Congressman Huffman’s office regarding water management. Also discussed concerns regarding single species management of our watersheds.
  • Tribal Recognition – another matter shared with Congressman Huffman’s office.
  • Homeowner Insurance – continuing to work on this with other counties, NACO, etc.


District 5 | Dan Frasier

  • No out-of-county travel


IV. Reports from Ad Hocs:

  • Cannabis Ordinance Update – We focused on code enforcement and odor mitigation/measurement.
  • Tribal Relations – Nothing additional to report



Public Comment

  • Requested that item 2.11 be pulled for discussion. Noted concerns regarding how funds have been used in the past.
  • Additional comments in support of pulling item 2.11

Board Discussion/Action

  • Item 2.11 was pulled from the Consent Calendar. 
  • The board approved all remaining items on the Consent Calendar as presented.

2.11 Approve an agreement with the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration for Domestic Cannabis Eradication Suppression Program for 2024, and ratify the Sheriff’s signature.

  • Staff shared that this is the standard annual agreement for funding via this source.
  • Public Comment
    • Encouragement for regular reporting regarding the use of these funds. Call for more controls and a better understanding of the limitations related to the use of these funds.
    • Support was offered for the Sheriff’s Department. Shared concerns that funds were misused last year. Encouraged the board to create a bridge between the public and the Sheriff’s department. Additional call for reporting on the use of funds based on examples highlighted from last year.
    • Additional comments about concerns related to how these funds have been used in the past.
  • Board Discussion
    • Staff comment regarding the detailed application for this competitive grant. Also noted significant oversight from state-level officials. Comments regarding the positive impact on training, equipment, and overtime hours to address illegal cannabis operations.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.



Solid Waste

3.1 Conduct a public hearing to consider adopting a resolution that establishes a schedule of fees for waste disposal and provides for appropriate exemptions and credits for the 2024-2025 annual solid waste parcel fee billing. No impact to the General Fund. Estimated revenue of $900,000 to the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund.

  • Diane Radar | Deputy Director – Solid Waste
    • $100 fee remaining in place (same rate since 1994)
    • Tipping fees are to be increased in relation to the increase of Caltrans rate – 7% increase effective March 1. This was approved by the board last year.
  • The board approved this matter as presented



Clerk of the Board

4.1 Receive a mid-year budget reveiw for fiscal year 23/24. No fiscal impact.

  • CAO | Trent Tuthill
    • This review focused on areas of the budget for which revenues or expenditures were currently outside the 45% to 55% level (of annual budgeted revenues or expenses).
    • Several areas of concern were identified and discussed with department heads. Some were mitigated… some remain.
    • Following up to continue discussions regarding opportunities to maximize the impact of funds available to the county.
    • The $151 Million budget is mostly consumed by must-do items and the use of funds is limited by the requirements of the funding source.
  • Board Discussion
    • Grant Administration – encouragement to focus on enhancements in this area.
    • Natural Resources Division – noted the need for ongoing discussions regarding funding from various parties.
  • Cannabis Division
    • Financials for this division were addressed separately – in part due to last year’s board approval of $1 million to subsidize the division during the post-litigation period of restarting the program.
    • Drew Plebani | Director of Cannabis Division – Presentation (materials in backup documents). This included a look back at the drivers of revenues (and expenses) that were used to support budgeted numbers. Significant progress has been made in restarting the program after litigation – moving from less than 15 active licenses last year to more than 240 today.
    • Supervisor Leutwyler raised questions throughout the presentation to address variances between budgeted, current, and forecasted numbers… and the drivers behind these numbers.
    • Cannabis Tax revenues are not expected to meet budgeted levels this fiscal year. This is primarily due to the timing of product sales and the tax collection schedule.
  • Public Comment – public comment was re-opened after the staff presentation and board questions.
    • METRC is the name of the system used to track cannabis throughout the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail processes. Comments were offered to support the strength of oversight/data management provided by this platform. Support was offered for the policy that delays tax payment until the product is ultimately sold. Commented that a $5,000 fee for new licenses makes sense… but that renewal fees should be much lower.
    • Clarification was sought regarding cannabis tax in relation to the $1 M awarded by the county to subsidize the Cannabis Division. Request for the board to look into applying funds toward division repayment of the loan.
    • Appreciation was offered to Tracy Delgado for all her work on the Community Development Department’s financials for this mid-year review.
    • Support was offered for the approach that leads to cannabis program fees covering all costs of the division and tax revenues coming in separately to the county. Encouragement was provided for ongoing support of the program so that we can benefit from it economically, socially, etc.
    • Comments that board decisions impact the health of the program and the potential positive impact the program can have within the county.
    • Additional comments to support the program. Concerns were raised regarding program funds being used to pay for legal settlements.
    • Comments were shared about the cannabis tax… and questions as to whether we are collecting from all entities that are subject to the tax.
    • Comments supporting the position that renewal fees should be lower than new application fees. Encouragement for the county to lobby for interstate commerce in the cannabis industry.
    • Additional comments for the support of the program. Concerns about the struggles program participants have faced… and continue to face.
  • No action was taken by the board as this was time scheduled just for review.

Human Resources

4.2 Take the following actions to complete the creation of a Health and Human Services Bargaining Unit, effective January 1, 2024: 

1. Approve a master Memorandum of Understanding with the Health and Human February 20, 2024 Page 4 of 1088 Services bargaining unit establishing classifications, salaries and benefits; 

2. Approve the job description, set the salary range, add to the alphabetically listing of classifications, and allocate to Public Health a Health Services Program Manager I at range H213;

3. Approve a side letter agreement with the General Unit revising classifications covered by the MOU;

4. Approve a side letter agreement with the Management & Confidential Unit revising classifications covered by the MOU;

5. Adopt a resolution revising the Non-Rep Management employee classification;

6. Direct that the titles on the Health and Human Services allocation list be updated to reflect the changes within the MOU;

7. Adopt a resolution adopting a revised salary schedule and alphabetical listing of classifications; and

8. Pursuant to Trinity County Code Section 2.60.360, reclassify the following employee’s: (see agenda for details)

Financial Impact – Approximately $1.6 million over the 2-year term of the agreement from Health and Human Services budget units (approximately $34,000 of that is a cost to General Fund for Veterans Services).

  • County Counsel | Margaret Long (11:45 AM)
    • This matter is in response to a request to establish a separate bargaining unit for H&HS. The board previously approved preparations and negotiations.
    • A selection of changes/corrections were described and the board was requested to include these changes in the motion if/when approved.
    • Noted that the board has met regarding this matter in closed session a number of times – providing direction to staff regarding the negotiations that led to this agreement.
  • Public Comment
    • Liz Hamilton offered praise for the individuals involved and support for the proposed motion.
  • The board voted to approve this matter as presented with proposed changes.


Board of Supervisors

4.3 Approve the Board’s response to the Grand Jury Report: 2023 Civil Grand Jury – Mental Health Report. No fiscal impact.

  • Supervisor Cox – took the lead (on behalf of the board) on this response. Acknowledged the value of the Grand Jury and their work on matters like these. Noted that the report reflects that some actions have already been taken.
  • Supervisor Carpenter-Harris offered praise for the approach and the outcome.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.


County Administrative Office

4.4 Discuss and receive board direction regarding the ability for communities to establish (or remove) limitations on commercial cannabis operations and potential implications to the overall Cannabis Program. Unknown Fiscal Impact.

Public Comment

  • Comments from DCC report – Trinity County is among 44% of counties that allow at least one type of cannabis license. Support is offered for the program and hope for its success. Noted that the board has used discretion in the past (banning hemp, approving opt-out requests)… and asked that the board strongly consider taking that approach again to support the communities who have requested opt-outs. Encouragement for application processing within areas covered by opt-out requests until the opt-out requests can be heard.
  • Question regarding what ordinance opt-outs fall under. Recommended that these matters be addressed by the General Plan and Community Plans. Raised concerns that previously approved opt-outs do not match requirements for something like this. Referenced a situation in which an application was held up for 18 months while an opt-out was approved which ended their ability to complete the process.
  • Encouragement for the board to use their discretionary power to address opt-out requests. Encouraged the board to place a moratorium on cultivation applications until the opt-out requests are addressed.
  • Statement that there is no code-supported process for approving opt-outs. Stated that overlay zones would not be able to take away land use rights that already exist by zoning/general plan. Discouraged moratorium on cultivation applications while opt-out requests are processed.
  • Concern that one voice against cannabis can sway all discussions/decisions. Echoed Supervisor Carpenter-Harris’ comments about the need for community healing. Request for Supervisor Cox to recuse herself. Call for equitable treatment. Acknowledged all the agency sign-offs that are involved in the license approval process.
  • Noted that there is no discussion about opting in. Call for consistent findings for any action to be taken. Discouraged moratoriums. Referenced discussion at the Planning Commission where his planned cultivation was discussed. Feels that we are not being transparent in bringing something to the agenda that was voted down by the Planning Commission.
  • Acknowledgment of the board’s discretion regarding matters like these. Encouraged the board to not wait for the General Plan and Community Plans. Called for more balance in supporting commercial business and residential rights.
  • Concern at how we are framing this discussion/decision. Feels that community members had ample opportunity to participate in all the processes that led to our current ordinances (EIR, Ordinance Approval, etc.). Noted that applicants invest tens of thousands of dollars into the process… and it’s not fair to come in after that to turn off their right to complete the application.
  • Noted that those requesting opt-outs have been waiting for years. Indicated that the Lewiston opt-out request was on the agenda for a 2020 board meeting – and that the item was pulled at the last minute. Highlighted that two cultivation applications have been approved while they’ve been waiting for the board/county to act upon their request.
  • Shared that the biggest problem is that we are not talking about opt-ins. Feels that previous opt-outs were done inconsistently (and perhaps, illegally). Supports work on an Overlay Zone (for opt-out and opt-in). Feels that some items on the list of options are completely inappropriate. Shared specific concerns regarding the option that extends the distance of noticing for applications.
  • Encouragement for us to focus on moving forward… and away from NIMBY’ism. Shared concern regarding no formal/legal process for addressing concerns. Called for supervisors who live in opt-out zones to recuse themselves.
  • Shared uncertainty regarding litigation concerns related to opt-outs.
  • Comments that there is no legal pathway for establishing opt-outs. Concern that ordinance updates were put on hold… but piecemeal components keep being brought forward.
  • Acknowledged the complexity of this matter. Referenced the original opt-outs as part of the effort to get the program started. Offered support for the creation of Overlay Zones. Noted that cultivation applicants also had to wait for years while the county worked through litigation and (post-litigation) program implementation.

Board Discussion

  • Supervisor Gogan – feels that the General Plan/Community Plans should be the solution. Encouraged going back to priorities identified during the Cannabis Ordinance Update Workshops – including stacking. Noted concerns about stopping the program before addressing the General Plan/Community Plans, etc. Supports a moratorium on opt-out requests until we complete the General Plan/Community Plans. Acknowledges problems with addressing odor issues.


  • Supervisor Frasier – agrees with being equitable… emphasizing there are two sides to creating equity. Feels that planning/zoning is guided in part by NIMBY’ism. Noted a lot of give & take regarding these issues. Feels that commercial cannabis shouldn’t be allowed in rural residential areas… and that cannabis cultivation is not the same as “agriculture” in general terms. Shared that the biggest difference (between regular agriculture and commercial cannabis cultivation) is the intensity of cultivation operations (more like commercial chicken lots, etc.). Suggested that residents should have the right to influence what happens in their communities. Concern regarding the amount of time it would take to address this through the General Plan. Not in support of a moratorium (limited nor broad).
    • Need to consider the impact our decision will have on the staff and the program.
    • Raised alternative of shifting to conditional use permits. Acknowledged the additional burden this would cause for staff and applicants.
    • Acknowledged concerns of having staff investing all their time in processing opt-out requests.
    • Acknowledged his long-term involvement in this process. Noted concerns that he had at the time… from “crafting the ordinance backward.”
    • Offered the alternative of amending the ordinance to disallow commercial cannabis in any zone… and then pursue an overlay zone approach to determine where it should be. This would include grandfathering for existing licensed cultivators.
  • Supervisor Cox – clarified what she had said vs. how she was being quoted. Shared concern that we can’t just “pull the rug out” from under people who have been investing in the application process. Also acknowledged that residents have also made investments in their homes and the way of life reflected in their communities before commercial cannabis cultivation was introduced. Acknowledged that we have been making progress. Shared that she saw no good answer. Acknowledged that the board has invested $1 M in general funds to support the success of the program.
  • Supervisor Carpenter-Harris – acknowledged the conflict between propriety owners – both trying to live out their dreams. Noted the Constitution’s reference to “domestic tranquility.” Acknowledged that everyone involved in this process from staff, board, etc. is doing their best.


  • Supervisor Leutwyler – provided an overview of the seven options included in the agenda backup material – noting that there are challenges with every option that has been put forward.
    • Recommended that staff work with consultants to bring the following back to the board:
      • Rough timeline and cost for developing an Overlay Zone
      • Confirmation of the value of having an Overlay Zone process in place beyond completion of the General Plan
      • Description of key components and related requirements (for an Overlay Zone Process).
      • With guidance to bring this back to the board as soon as possible.
    • Asked that staff bring to thee board a list of Cannabis Ordinance Update deliverables with rough priorities and timelines.
  • Overlay Zones
    • Staff indicated that having this process in place would have benefits beyond the completion of the general plan
    • Comments that this could/should take place outside of the cannabis division… since it could apply to non-cannabis matters.
    • A rough estimate was provided that it could take six to eight months to implement an overlay zone after creation of the process.
    • The opinion was offered that this should be a planning division matter… not a cannabis division matter.
    • Noted that General Plan Zoning should be complete by the end of June 2024 – for sharing for review/approval. The add-on steps that are involved would extend this timeline out into 2025.

The following direction was provided to staff:

  • Staff to work with consultants to bring the following back to the board as soon as possible:
    • Rough timeline and cost for developing an Overlay Zone
    • Confirmation of the value of having an Overlay Zone process in place beyond completion of the General Plan
    • Description of key components and related requirements (for an Overlay Zone Process).
Closed Session Report Out – These are updates regarding prior closed sessions

5.1 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation No. of Cases: One

  • Direction given to staff.

5.2 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation. Number of cases: one Carlson, et al. v. County of Trinity, et al. (Trinity County Superior Court Case No. 20CV136).

  • No Action Taken.


Public Comment (regarding Closed Session)
  • Encouragement for us to continue providing this level of detail in the closed session agenda.



5.1 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation No of Cases: three Inmate Garbutt; incident at jail. Inmate Swain; incident at jail. Claim TRI23-0017; inmate Lewandowski, incident at jail.

  • No reportable action

5.2 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Initiation of Litigation No. of Cases: One (Cannabis Code Enforcement Fine/Fee Settlement Authority)

  • Direction to staff

5.3 Government Code Section 54954.5(f) – Conference with Labor Negotiators County’s Designated Representatives:TBD Employee Organizations: General Unit

  • Appointed Laila Cassis, Suzie Hawkins, Margaret Long represent Trinity County in negotiations.

5.4 Government Code Section 54954.5(e) – Public Employee Appointment: County Counsel.

  • Direction to staff




Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


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