Marin IJ

Absence forces new supervisors' vote on flood fee

Brad Breithaupt
Marin Independent Journal
Article Launched:08/25/2007 10:41:06 PM PDT

Supervisor Charles McGlashan's trip to the bathroom during a July board meeting is forcing the county Board of Supervisors to take another vote on the controversial Ross Valley flood fee.

McGlashan left the July 17 hearing and missed the vote ratifying the fee, but his brief absence meant only three supervisors were present.

While supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the fee, legal questions surfaced about whether two-thirds approval was needed from the five-member board, not just the quorum present at the time.

County Counsel Patrick Faulkner said another vote on the fee - scheduled for Tuesday - would "remove any doubt as to the validity of the vote" and answer a potential legal challenge.

McGlashan has said he would have voted for the fee if he had been in the room.

At the July 17 meeting, Supervisors Hal Brown, Judy Arnold and Steve Kinsey voted to impose the fee. Supervisor Susan Adams was out of town.

The fee, narrowly approved in a controversial mail-in vote, levies an annual average charge of $125 on more than 15,000 Ross Valley taxpayers. The 20-year fee is expected to raise $40 million for drainage and flood-control improvements.

At their 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday, supervisors will hold another hearing, leading to a second vote on whether to levy the fee.

"We are just going to reaffirm the whole thing," Brown said on Friday. "It's not a big deal."

San Anselmo lawyer Ford Greene has filed suit to overturn the fee. He said Tuesday's vote won't repair the "fatally flawed process" used in the mail-in election.

A court hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Sept. 7.

Contact Brad Breithaupt via e-mail at

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