Board Chair­man Re­leases 2018 State Of The County

Escalon Times - - NEWS - By BOB EL­LIOTT, Chair­man San Joaquin County Board Of Su­per­vi­sors Bob El­liott rep­re­sents the Fifth Dis­trict and cur­rently serves as Chair­man of the San Joaquin County Board of Su­per­vi­sors.

Two words de­scribe the state of San Joaquin County – growth and progress. Jobs, our econ­omy, in­fras­truc­ture, home­own­er­ship, recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties, and our res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion are sky­rock­et­ing. Clearly, San Joaquin County is a spe­cial place to live, work and play.

Our Board-adopted strategic pri­or­i­ties – fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity, good gov­er­nance, pub­lic safety, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and pro­tect­ing our wa­ter and agri­cul­ture – con­trib­ute to our suc­cess.

Begin­ning with fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity, we have adopted a struc­turally-bal­anced bud­get for four years in a row, and we re­tain S&P A+ and Moody’s AAA bond rat­ings. At my re­quest, our Au­di­tor-Con­troller is con­duct­ing a county-wide fee au­dit. This has al­ready pro­duced pos­i­tive re­sults – low­er­ing fees, cut­ting red tape, pro­vid­ing bet­ter gov­ern­ment, and in­creas­ing trans­parency.

Some of the bud­get is­sues we will soon ad­dress in­clude in­creased costs re­lated to la­bor ne­go­ti­a­tions, re­tire­ment con­tri­bu­tions, cannabis reg­u­la­tions, home­less­ness ini­tia­tives, fight­ing CA WaterFix, and de­creases in state and fed­eral fund­ing for some health pro­grams.

Good gov­er­nance is the heart of ev­ery­thing we do as pub­lic ser­vants. Let me high­light a few ex­am­ples of ex­cep­tional ef­forts to pro­vide good gov­er­nance in the County.

First, our In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems De­part­ment won the Cal­i­for­nia County In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices Di­rec­tors As­so­ci­a­tion 2017 In­no­va­tion Award be­cause of their de­vel­op­ment of the In­no­va­tive Care for Ado­les­cent Needs project.

Next, our Board-es­tab­lished Home­less­ness Task Force – in­clud­ing ser­vice providers, com­mu­ni­ty­based or­ga­ni­za­tions, law en­force­ment ex­perts and pol­i­cy­mak­ers – has worked col­lab­o­ra­tively to ini­ti­ate a Con­tin­uum of Care sys­tem ad­dress­ing home­less­ness. The Board also hired a full­time pro­gram ad­min­is­tra­tor to co­or­di­nate home­less­ness pro­grams. The County is part­ner­ing with Ready to Work, a non­profit cor­po­ra­tion, to use va­cant Honor Farm space for a tran­si­tional hous­ing fa­cil­ity for men with a his­tory of home­less­ness and in­frac­tions. The pro­gram will of­fer ed­u­ca­tion, job skills train­ing, substance abuse coun­sel­ing, men­tal health treat­ment, in­terim hous­ing and other home­less­nessre­duc­tion ser­vices.

The County’s Phase 2 Acute Care Pa­tient Wing Ex­pan­sion Project at San Joaquin Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal is nearly 60 per cent com­plete – on time and on bud­get.

It’s no se­cret that I’m a sup­porter of our vet­er­ans. They de­serve our last­ing grat­i­tude and sup­port. The County has been ad­vo­cat­ing for nearly 10 years to lo­cate and con­struct a Vet­er­ans Com­mu­nity Based Out­pa­tient Clinic in San Joaquin County at French Camp. Ground­break­ing is pro­jected in 2019. It is im­per­a­tive to get this clinic built on sched­ule so that Val­ley vet­er­ans no longer face an 80-mile drive to Palo Alto through ex­tremely con­gested traf­fic to get the sup­port they need.

Turn­ing to pub­lic safety, the San Joaquin County De­ten­tion and Pro­gram Fa­cil­ity is a new cap­i­tal project now un­der­way to re­place min­i­mum-se­cu­rity Honor Farm bar­racks with 256 medium-se­cu­rity beds and pro­gram space. We ex­pect con­struc­tion to start in 2020.

Con­tin­ued eco­nomic growth is one of our great­est achieve­ments. San Joaquin County of­fers unique busi­ness at­trac­tion qual­i­ties – a large deep-wa­ter port, a freight-friendly air­port, and ac­cess to a na­tional truck­ing net­work and transcon­ti­nen­tal rail lines. Add to that a ro­bust workforce, nearby univer­si­ties, am­ple in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial space, af­ford­able hous­ing, and a high qual­ity of life, and it’s easy to see why For­tune 500 com­pa­nies are lo­cat­ing here.

Ac­cord­ing to UOP’s Dr. Jef­frey Michael, “San Joaquin County has one of the fastest grow­ing economies in Cal­i­for­nia.

Be­tween 2013 and 2016, em­ploy­ment grew by 10 per­cent while pop­u­la­tion grew by 1.5 per­cent.” Com­pa­nies like Ama­zon, FedEx and Med­line are rapidly ex­pand­ing in the County, oc­cu­py­ing mil­lions of square feet of com­mer­cial space and pro­vid­ing thou­sands of well-pay­ing jobs for County res­i­dents. Our workforce earns an av­er­age in­come higher than the U.S. av­er­age and more than the av­er­age in­come of half the coun­ties in Cal­i­for­nia. Ad­di­tion­ally, the County re­cently adopted a new Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment In­cen­tives Pol­icy to com­ple­ment the re­gional busi­ness in­cen­tives guide. The guide can be found at www. san­joaqui­nusa.org.

Con­cern­ing wa­ter and agri­cul­ture, the County has de­voted sig­nif­i­cant time and re­sources to pro­tect­ing the Delta and our world-class $2.3 bil­lion agri­cul­ture in­dus­try that ex­ports to 90 coun­tries. We col­lab­o­rate with the Delta Coun­ties Coali­tion and nu­mer­ous part­ners to ad­vo­cate for cost-ef­fec­tive, com­mon sense al­ter­na­tives to the Twin Tun­nels. Th­ese in­clude in­creased stor­age, ground­wa­ter recharge, levee improvements, re­gional self-suf­fi­ciency, and de­sali­na­tion.

State of­fi­cials must have the po­lit­i­cal courage to aban­don the de­struc­tive WaterFix pro­posal and in­stead unite Cal­i­for­ni­ans around com­mon-sense so­lu­tions that ef­fec­tively meet our statewide wa­ter needs. It’s im­per­a­tive that dam con­struc­tion be­come part of the statewide wa­ter port­fo­lio. Any­thing less is short­sighted and ir­re­spon­si­ble.

Our great­est re­ward as a Board of Su­per­vi­sors is help­ing our con­stituents thrive. San Joaquin County is a place where busi­nesses pros­per, where peo­ple are ea­ger to visit, and where our chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and res­i­dents are proud to call home. I look for­ward to work­ing with our com­mu­nity part­ners and our cit­i­zens in the com­ing years to ex­pand our growth and progress and con­tinue our suc­cess.

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