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Humboldt County officials discuss high-energy use tax in unincorporated areas

HUMBOLDT COUNTY- Last fall Arcata voters passed Measure I, a high use energy tax targeted at those growing illegal marijuana grows and using excessive amounts of energy, and now Humboldt County is looking to do the same. 
“Like many Arcata residents, those living in unincorporated areas of Humboldt have simply become fed up with high-volume indoor growing operations that take over much-needed housing and posed threats to the environment,” said Chairperson of the Board Rex Bohn. County officials are pushing for a similar high use energy tax for those unincorporated areas of the county like Fortuna, Trinidad, and most of southern Humboldt. 
In Dec. of last year the board asked PG&E to provide data related to high-energy use tax in the unincorporated areas, and that data showed that a 45 percent tax rate on residential customers could have generated almost $8 million in revenue in 2013. However, it is unclear how many customers would stop exceeding the 600 percent baseline if a high-energy use tax were in place. 
Officials in Arcata say the high energy usage has dropped nearly 85 percent since the new measure was passed, and county officials believe many of those excessive users could be making their way into those unincorporated areas instead.
If supervisors pass the motion at Tuesday’s meeting, voters could see it on the 2016 ballot.