Sherman R. Frederick
Is that a light at the end of the tunnel for Marin homelessness, or a freight train bearing down on Novato?
That’s the question this week after two meetings — one by the County of Marin and one of the Novato City Council.
At issue at Tuesday’s county meeting is the idea of using federal funds with state stipulations to buy the Inn Marin and turn it into a homeless hotel. The county has the opportunity to use those funds to buy hotels and turn them into homeless shelters, but it has to make the decision by Nov. 17 and close escrow on Dec. 2.
To that end, the County of Marin Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a resolution to proceed, but made it clear this does not mean the county will vote to complete the purchase. Details of price, etc., have yet to be worked out. Novato Supervisor Judy Arnold made the motion to approve, but it was unclear whether she would ultimately vote yes.
The mood at the Novato City Council Tuesday was decidedly hostile.
Mayor Pro Tem Pat Eklund, the longest seated Novato Councilmember, said “Novato has done a lot for homelessness in the last 25 years. We had no complaints because we always kept people involved.
“The county has not been transparent. This should not go forward.”
Eklund said she wanted to call a vote for Nov. 12 so that the council can let the county know where the city stands.
Counclmemer Eric Lucan said he was especially concerned about the revenue Novato would lose if the Inn Marin is converted to a homeless hotel.
It is estimated the city of Novato would lose about $300,000 a year in room taxes and $10,000 a year in property tax.
At the public portion of the county meeting and the Novato meeting, citizens were almost unanimous in voicing dismay about the speed at which things are moving and the lack of transparency.
A full story will be in the Nov. 4 edition of the Novato Advance. To subscribe, call 415-892-1516. To comment on this news story, send your letter to the editor to Sherman R. Frederick via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.