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Your County – Your Future

County residents and other community stakeholders will play a key role in developing the first-of-its-kind Countywide Plan, which will be used by the Board of Supervisors to evaluate development projects, establish County priorities, and make budgetary decisions for years to come.

“This is a historic and pivotal moment for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Some counties and cities have made their general plans more comprehensive than before, but no one has set out to create anything like the Countywide Plan, which will address and improve all areas of life in all of our great and diverse communities.”

During the past six months, the County initiated work on the plan and conducted a pilot outreach effort in Bloomington. The majority of outreach will take place this year as the County conducts events and meetings throughout the county nearly every month.  Additional outreach will take place during 2017 and 2018. countywide plan logo

The Countywide Plan outreach program will build upon the previous five years of public engagement conducted through the Countywide Vision, Community Vital Signs Initiative, and Renewable Energy and Conservation Element. Thousands of residents, all 24 cities and towns, and hundreds of stakeholders from local, regional, state, and federal agencies and organizations participated in those engagement efforts.

Public input will be sought at both the community and countywide level through workshops, meetings, events, and through the project’s website, www.countywideplan.com, where a timeline of the outreach schedule will be maintained.

The new Countywide Plan website serves as a key component of the public participation and engagement process for updating the Countywide Plan and Community Plans.

The site serves as a 24-hour resource for the public to provide input and access background information, public meeting schedules, and copies of relevant documents, presentations and other meeting materials. Draft documents and other work products will be added to the website as they become available. Visitors to the site will be able to take surveys, and submit comments and photos for use in the Countywide Plan. The public can use the website to sign up for email or text notifications to stay up-to-date on project-related news.

Also, beginning next month, the County will publish the Countywide Connection, an electronic newsletter specific to the Countywide Plan project. The Countywide Connection will provide timely information about progress on the project, meeting announcements, how residents can be heard during the planning process, and links to the latest project surveys, documents, and resources.

The first issue of the Countywide Connection will focus on an overview of the Countywide Plan, provide an update of major project components, and highlight public outreach events for Community Plans. Three more newsletters are anticipated to be released over the duration of the project to provide updates to the community of key milestones and achievements of the process. Countywide Connection will be available at www.countywideplan.com, on CountyWire at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/cao/countywire/, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/countywideplan/. Residents will also be able to subscribe to Countywide Connection and have it emailed to them.

The Community Plans component of the Countywide Plan effort will generate customized action plans for recognized communities in unincorporated areas. Outreach to various community areas will begin in the spring and be conducted in multiple phases throughout this year and 2017.

Workshops for the first 11 communities are planned for February, March, and July at locations within each community. Specific workshop locations, dates, and times are available on the page of the Countywide Plan website dedicated to Community Plans: www.countywideplan.com/cp.

The workshops will focus on identifying and prioritizing what each community values, explore what each community wants for its future, and identify specific actions to implement community goals and objectives. Ultimately, the County is seeking to partner with the public to prioritize how County resources should be utilized for each community and how the community can participate in the creation of its own future.

Those who are unable to attend the workshops will be able to participate by exploring workshop materials online and taking online surveys on the website.

No cases of Zika, Public Health continues to monitor situation

DPH_Version2_FullColorAlthough there are no reported cases in San Bernardino County, the Department of Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health Services, the Communicable Disease Section and Public Health Laboratory are working together to make sure any suspected Zika cases are investigated and tested appropriately.

“Even though no immediate threat to county residents exists, I would like to remind county residents to protect themselves and family members from mosquito bites, especially if traveling to Zika-affected countries.” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer.  A health alert issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with a list of affected countries can be found on the CDC webpage at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/ .

The six confirmed cases of Zika virus in California were acquired in other countries. The Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that can transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses. These mosquitoes are not native to California, but have been identified in 12 California counties. In San Bernardino County they were found in October of 2015, but the risk of transmission in California is still low.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CDC have also issued a guidance for pregnant women recommending they avoid travel to Zika-affected countries.  Pregnant women who cannot avoid travel to these countries should talk to their health care provider and take steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Most people infected with Zika virus will not develop symptoms. If symptoms do develop, they are usually mild and include fever, joint pain, rash and eye redness. If you have returned from an affected country and have these symptoms within two weeks, or any other symptoms following your return; please contact your medical provider and tell the doctor where you have traveled. While there is no specific treatment for the Zika virus disease, the best recommendations are supportive care, rest, fluids and fever relief.

Residents can still take precautions to avoid breeding areas around their homes by following these tips.

  • Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos lay eggs such as birdbaths, old tires, pet watering dishes, buckets, or even clogged gutters.
  • Clean and scrub any container with stored water to remove possible eggs.
  • Dress – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever you are outdoors to avoid mosquito bites.
  • DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, PICARDIN, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

If you notice these small black and white mosquitoes in or around your home, please contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, DEHS MVCP at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://goo.gl/gdl2dt or the CDPH website at http://bit.ly/1u35fQx .

Government Works: Building automation saving taxpayer money

Final Government Works StampResponding to service calls throughout San Bernardino County’s vast 20,000 square miles is a challenge when it comes to maintaining County buildings. A mechanical or air conditioning failure in one building in a remote location could take hours of staff time and gallons of fuel to travel to different sites.

To make the County and its buildings more sustainable and energy efficient, Facilities Management along with the County’s Project Management Division and Information Services Department teamed up with Siemens Building Automation Systems to automate and improve our systems.

First, old systems were upgraded to the latest in technology and then the Siemens Building Automation System was connected to the County’s network to keep costs down. Building automation, lighting, power, and water treatment equipment from different manufacturers were integrated and could be controlled off-site with iPads and other solutions. As a result, there has been a significant savings for taxpayers.

In the first two years:

  • More than $150,000 in energy and natural gas savings through more efficient operations
  • $53,460 in lowered payroll costs by reducing overtime hours by 1,320
  • $18,480 in savings through a reduction in fuel consumption of 2,933 gallons
  • Total savings of $222,120 were realized, which dramatically improved customer service

The County is also minimizing its impact on the environment by driving less. Over two years, field technicians traveled 26,400 fewer miles, resulting in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

To read more about this example of Government Works, click here.

Qualified to be Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector?

The Board of Supervisors is seeking qualified county residents to apply for the position of County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector. The incumbent, Larry Walker, is retiring on March 4 and before that date the board must appoint someone to fill the remainder of Mr. Walker’s four-year term, which ends in January 2019. The board will conduct a public process to appoint Mr. Walker’s logosmallersuccessor, including a public interview of the most-qualified applicants.

State law requires the Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector to be a registered voter who lives within the County of San Bernardino and to possess certain specific qualifications in the areas of accounting and finance. Information on the process, qualifications, and how to apply can be found at http://cms.sbcounty.gov/hr/Home.aspx. The deadline to apply is January 29.

 

Board meets goal of housing homeless veterans countywide

Homeless PersonSix months ago, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors conducted a special study session on homelessness and vowed to find housing for all homeless military veterans in the county by the end of 2015.

A total of 401 veterans were identified as homeless and a County-led advisory group of community and private partners went to work on finding permanent housing for all of them by Dec. 31, 2015. By Thanksgiving, all 401 veterans had their housing issues solved, along with about 100 other homeless veterans who became homeless or moved into the county after the count.

“Our veterans made a commitment to all of us when they served our country,” said James Ramos, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We will stand by the commitment we’ve made to our veterans by finding them permanent housing. I’m proud to say we achieved and exceeded an important goal, but there is so much more work to be done on homelessness in our county.”

Despite finding housing for approximately 500 homeless veterans, about 100 veterans who became homeless after the count or moved into the county during the past several months remain without shelter, demonstrating the challenge extends beyond the goal set and reached by the County.

“The transitory nature of homelessness means the numbers of homeless people in the county changes day to day,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who serves as Chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness. “But the model used to tackle the homeless veterans issue worked and will be applied to assist other sections of the county’s homeless population.”

“The County has developed an effective strategy to get homeless veterans off the streets and into permanent housing, and we will continue applying that strategy to help as many veterans as possible rebuild their lives and break out of the cycle of homelessness,” Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford said.

The Board of Supervisors applied existing resources to find housing for all the homeless veterans, but this time, the focus changed on how the resources would be applied. For instance, some landlords were hesitant to rent to homeless veterans, but the Board of Supervisors tapped into one-time general fund resources to cover security deposits and other costs to help landlords feel more secure in leasing to them.

“There is no greater honor than to offer our veterans the assistance and support they deserve,” said Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman. “I am extremely proud to be part of the effort to end veteran homelessness in San Bernardino County. Our County’s goal to house all of our veterans is ongoing, and I hope to find additional ways to assist those who have so valiantly served this great nation.”

Said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood: “I want to thank everyone who helped San Bernardino County achieve this impressive accomplishment. Every veteran deserves to receive the help they have earned and we’re doing exactly that.”

Philip Mangano, a national expert on homelessness and CEO of the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness, has served as a key adviser and coordinator of the effort. The County’s advisory group included private partners such as the California Apartment Association, which helped communicate the need to landlords to address and remove impediments to housing.

Advisory group members also included the Housing Authority of San Bernardino County, the County offices of Community Development and Housing, Veterans Affairs, Behavioral Health, Homeless Services, Sheriff, Workforce Investment Board and Public Health.

LightHouse Social Service Centers, Loma Linda University Health, National CORE, Arrowhead United Way, Goodwill of Southern California, Inland Valley Hope Partners and the Faith Advisory Council participated in the advisory board.

Recently burned areas at higher flood risk

Elder Creek at BaselineEl Niño is expected to drop a large amount of precipitation on our region this winter. While the County is preparing and residents have been given instructions on what they should do to get ready, people that live in areas that have burned recently are presented with unique challenges.

Normally, vegetation absorbs rain, but after a wildfire, the charred ground where that vegetation has been burned away creates a loss of soil strength and can no longer easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding and mudflows for several years. Properties directly affected by fires, and those located downstream of burn areas, are most at risk.

Post-fire landslide hazards include fast-moving and highly destructive debris flows. Post-fire debris flows are particularly hazardous because they can occur with little warning, can exert great impulsive loads on objects in their paths, can strip vegetation, block drainage ways, damage structures, and endanger human life. Wildfires could potentially result in the destabilization of pre-existing deep-seated landslides over long time periods.

The best preparation for possible flooding is to plan ahead. The Ready!Set!Go! Flood Preparation brochure will show you some of the things you can do to protect your home, property and family. You’ll find information about how to prepare for wet weather, things like cleaning out rain gutters and storm drains, where you can sign up for emergency alerts, fire stations that have sandbags available, and what you should have in an emergency kit. There is also specific information for areas that have recently been burned by wildfire.

Sandbags can best be used to help protect doorways if a waterproof layer like heavy plastic or waterproof canvas is placed behind them. If possible, secure it to the door frame. Stack the sandbags in a pyramid formation and wrap the plastic up and over the top. Keep in mind, sandbags DO NOT guarantee a water-tight seal, but properly placed sandbags can help redirect water, mud and debris away from your home.

Some other helpful resources:

  • To find your closest sandbag location and other information on storm preparation check SBCoFire’s website at www.sbcfire.org.
  • Check the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov to see current and upcoming weather events.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s El Niño Portal has regular El Niño forecast updates, www.elnino.noaa.gov.

Limited access on Highway 38 due to power outage

valley of the falls driveMotorists will have limited access at Valley of the Falls Drive on Highway 38 due to Southern California Edison’s work to restore power to San Bernardino Mountain communities.

Officials anticipate the power in affected areas will be out until Monday afternoon. Residents who need shelter are urged to contact the American Red Cross at 909-888-1481 extension 7231 or 909-380-7230.

Nonresidents are being asked to stay out of the area. Road blocks are in place limiting access to residents only.

Also, if you see downed power line or dangling wire – even if it appears not to be live – don’t touch or approach it and call 911 immediately.

Photos: Jan. 4 County Family Gathering

SB Strong Logo 1County employees were moved by the compassionate, inspiring and powerful speeches former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Pastor Rick Warren gave during Monday’s event at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.

We were also moved by the performances of soloist Bridgett Bentley and the San Bernardino County Association of African American Employees Choir. They performed amazing renditions of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Lean on Me.”

To view photos from the event, click here to see our Facebook page.

 

 

County’s 2014-15 financial reports available for review

CAFR PAFRThe Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector (ATC) is pleased to announce the release of the County of San Bernardino’s FY 2014-15 Annual Financial Reports.  Two separate reports are produced each year:

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) - This report presents a set of governmental financial statements comprising the financial report of the County of San Bernardino that complies with the accounting requirements promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) - This report provides you an opportunity to learn about the County’s current financial condition and economic outlook in an easy-to-read format.  The report includes condensed and simplified information obtained from the County’s CAFR.

We encourage you to view these reports found on the Countyline Intranet Site at http://countyline.sbcounty.gov/acr/publications.asp.  You are also able to access these reports on the ATC Internet Site at http://www.sbcounty.gov/ATC/Services/Documents.

Free income tax preparation and e-file

Broken piggy bankIt’s Your Money.  Get it!  San Bernardino County Transitional Assistance Department (TAD) is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide FREE Tax Preparation and e-filing services for low to moderate income taxpayers throughout the county.  The free service is available to all eligible taxpayers if you or your household made less than $54,000 in 2015!  Federal and California state returns are prepared and e-filed by IRS certified tax preparers beginning January 25,2016.  There are day and evening appointments Monday through Friday, as well as Saturday appointments available.  For more information, and to schedule your appointment at our various County locations, please visit hs.sbcounty.gov/VITA or call (909) 347-1255 or (760) 552-6176. Click here for more information.
*Bilingual services are also available

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