A busy summer in Trinidad

With the sun out (sometimes), and tourism season in full-swing, it’s a busy time of year for the City of Trinidad. The town is getting some needed improvements, and the new library is almost set to open, among other things.

Curbside recycling is coming to town, and the unmanned bins at the entrance to town are soon to be a thing of the past.

“They are an eyesore,” said City Manager Karen Suiker, adding that people dump washers and dryers, television sets, and all manner of unauthorized trash there. “It’s going to improve the appearance of the entrance to town.”

Directly across the street, the new library is closer than ever to opening, with all the requisite agreements in place and all necessary paperwork having been filed. Suiker says agreements have been reached with the Trinidad Land Trust, which owns the property, and with the county, who will handle staffing and book collection. “It’s very exciting,” said Mayor Julie Fulkerson.  Fulkerson said that over $500,000 was raised for the library through a series of community fundraisers, including concerts, art sales, even a spelling bee. “People care about libraries.”

The city has also addressed a recent spike in crime, which has affected all of Humboldt County. Community meeting have taken place with law enforcement, and neighborhood watch programs have also been discussed, “just letting your neighbor know if there’s something untoward,” said Suiker. She also said that an RV park in town had been pointed to as a source of unsavory characters, and that the owner had been contacted and was cooperative and receptive to the city’s concerns.

For fans of balanced budgets, Trinidad has one. “Things are pretty much status quo,” Suiker said of the budget. “We do have a pretty nice reserve.” She said the city receives a large amount of its revenue through tourism, especially the transient occupancy tax, commonly called bed tax. Tax revenue from the gas station also accounts for a sizable portion of income. Fulkerson credits the balance budget to policy set by the City Council, and to Suiker’s efforts. “She wants to make sure the city is on solid footing.”

The city is also continuing its efforts to reduce storm-water pollutants by having residents upgrade aging septic tanks. As a Gateway Community for the California Coastal National Monument, Trinidad is charged with maintaining a high level of water quality, and septic system upgrades is a part of that effort. Suiker said that although some residents have complained about costly upgrades, it’s still cheaper than replacing individual septic tanks with a city-wide septic system.

Azalea and Pacific street widening will also be happening soon and will include a new fire hydrant, improved drainage, new pavement, and some grassy pacers (grassy borders to the pavement). “I think it’s much more soothing for areas like Trinidad,” said Suiker of the natural feature. “We’re kind of a unique town where a creative approach is appropriate.” The project is being funded with a $423,000 grant from Caltrans.