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Census address canvassing has started in county neighborhoods

You may have noticed or will soon see U.S. Census employees in your neighborhood. It’s not 2020 yet, but in preparation for the 2020 U.S. Census, these locally hired workers are on foot throughout San Bernardino County and the nation checking addresses to help ensure next year’s decennial count is as accurate and as complete as possible.

Funding to support and improve our communities depends on a successful census, so please cooperate with anyone carrying a Census I.D. badge as they might have some very simple questions for you. For more information and a helpful video, please click here.

The San Bernardino County and Riverside County boards of supervisors have joined forces to create the Inland Empire Complete Count Committee, a leadership body that draws on representatives from the nonprofit, government, education, business and philanthropic sectors to focus energy and leverage various resources toward ensuring a complete and accurate count in our region. Why? Because, Together, We Count.

Clerk of the Board Laura Welch retires; Lynna Monell appointed as successor

Laura Welch

Lynna Monell

Serving as the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for nearly 10 years, Laura Welch retires tomorrow, Aug. 2, after more than 31 years of service to the county and its residents. Lynna Monell, a 23-year county employee who served as Chief Deputy Clerk of the Board from 2010 until Ms. Welch’s retirement, has been appointed by the Board of Supervisors to succeed Ms. Welch as Clerk of the Board.

With 13 staff positions and an annual budget of $2.2. million, the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors prepares and maintains records of actions taken by the Board of Supervisors, oversees membership of the county’s boards, commissions and committees, licenses businesses operating in the county unincorporated areas, and facilitates the filing and hearing of appeals of assessed property valuations.

Ms. Welch was honored by the Board of Supervisors during its July 23 meeting. She received the County Public Service Recognition Award for Excellence in 1994 and 2007, and served as president of the California Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Association in 2014. Ms. Welch was instrumental in the implementation of multiple computer systems within the clerk’s office, including SIRE, the prior agenda management system; Granicus, the county’s meeting streaming system; and most recently Legistar, the new electronic agenda management system, which streamlined the board agenda item submission and approval process. Prior to her service with the county, Ms. Welch served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of sergeant.

Ms. Monell holds a master’s degree in public administartion, organizational leadership from National University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal State San Bernardino. She is a member of the California Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Association and the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials. She has been with the Clerk of the Board’s office since 2006.

What does your community need? We are listening!

Does your neighborhood have access to good housing, schools, jobs, healthcare, and other resources?

The County of San Bernardino is updating its Consolidated Plan and working on a fair housing study called an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing choice.  These plans are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban  Development (HUD) for the County to receive federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

The Consolidated Plan assesses the current housing market, discusses characteristics of the county’s population, identifies community improvement priorities, and outlines a five-year plan to fund and implement them.

Consolidated Plan Topics of Discussion:

• Citizen Participation and Consultation

• Affordable Housing

• Public and Assisted Housing

• Homeless and Other Special Needs 

• Public Facilities and Services

• Barriers to Affordable Housing

The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) will identify barriers to equal access to housing and neighborhood opportunities and will propose strategies to overcome those barriers.

AI Topics of Discussion:

• Public Investment

• Access to Opportunity

• Land Use & Zoning

• Housing

• Housing Discrimination and Hate Crimes

• Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

The community’s opinions and perceptions are an important part of this study, and everyone is invited to participate. Your input will provide essential information to local policymakers, staff, housing providers, lenders, and affordable housing advocates. Click here to participate in the survey.

Trona Earthquake Recovery

The County will post daily updates and information here. Residents of Trona and other San Bernardino County communities impacted by the July 4 and 5 earthquakes can have questions answered by calling toll-free 1(877) 410-8829

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Small Business Administration will be closing its Trona Disaster Loan Outreach Center at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29. The center is at 13207 Jones St. in Trona and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Thursday. For more information, visit https://www.sba.gov/offices/disaster/dfocw/resources/1647366

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cal OES continues to provide information and resources to people affected by the July 4 and 5 earthquakes in Trona. Their blog item with information can be viewed at the following link: http://www.oesnews.com/where-to-go-for-california-earthquake-assistance/

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The USDA has confirmed Trona is an eligible rural area for the Home Repair Loan and Grant Program for those affected by the July 4 and 5 earthquakes. Click here for more information on the assistance available.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is making low-interest federal disaster loans available to businesses and residents affected by the July 4 and 5 earthquakes in Trona. SBA will be in Trona, 13207 Jones St. beginning 9 a.m. Friday and will remain open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for property damage is Oct. 7, 2019. The deadline to apply for economic injury is May 7, 2020. Click here for more detailed information. Click here for an SBA Fact Sheet.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

  • Because of low demand, starting Friday, dumpster service at the Trona Library and in Argus across from the Shell Station will be discontinued. Residents are encouraged to take their waste to the Trona Transfer Station located on 13177 Trona Dump Road. The transfer station will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Transfer station is now accepting clean construction and demolition materials such as concrete, brick, block and lumber. For questions please call the Solid Waste Management Division at (909) 386-8701.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Southern California Edison has announced several measures intended to assist Trona-area quake victims. Representatives are available on a dedicated line in SCE’s contact center to help our impacted customers; 1-800-250-7339, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the things Edison can do are discontinue billing for homes that have been destroyed or are deemed uninhabitable, offer reasonable payment plans to help ease the financial impacts resulting from the disaster event, and suspend disconnection for non-payment when necessary. There are also discount plans and programs for customer reliant on electrically operated medical equipment. Click here or here for details.

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

  • The Recovery Center at 13207 Jones St. in Trona will transition to its pre-earthquake County service schedule starting at the end of the day Wednesday, July 31. Hours will be Wednesdays only from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Services will include Transitional Assistance and, for a limited time, Behavioral Health and Land Use Services, which includes Building and Safety, Planning, and Code Enforcement. Other County services are available by phone and at www.sbcounty.gov. Please see details here. The Trona Branch Library will continue to serve as a cooling center during regular library hours.

Monday, July 29, 2019

  • The County has published a Frequently Asked Questions and Services Directory for San Bernardino County residents and businesses affected by the earthquakes. View or download here. It will be updated regularly.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

  • Construction debris bins are available starting Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Trona Transfer Station, 13177 Trona Dump Road. Click here for details and guidelines.
  • A Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event will be held Saturday, August 10 and Saturday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to noon at the San Bernardino County Fire Station, 83732 Trona Rd. in Trona. Click here for details.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

  • Effective Friday, the Local Assistance Center will be closed at Trona High School. A Recovery Center will open at 13207 Jones St. in Trona. Click here for more information.
  • The boil water notice has officially been lifted for the Trona area. It is no longer necessary to boil tap water or to consume bottled water.
  • The Trona Library (cooling center) will be resuming normal operating hours on Thursday, July 18.  Normal operating hours are: Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday: closed, Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: closed
  • The new phone numbers for customers to contact the Searles Domestic Water Company are: 760-382-3776 760-382-8553. No past due fees for the water bills will be assessed this month due to the earthquakes in Trona and surrounding communities.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

  • The Trona Transfer Station will return to regular operating hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
    The dumpsters located at the Trona Library (82805 Mountain View, Trona, CA 93562) and Argus Area (across from Shell Station, 82275 Trona Road, Trona, CA 93562) will be remain available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until 7/19/19.
  • Trona residents in need of non-construction clean-up may call Team Rubicon (volunteer organization) to request assistance.
    Please call 310-640-8787 and follow the prompt or email r9info@teamrubiconusa.org. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly provide relief to communities in need. For more information on Team Rubicon visit http://teamrubiconusa.org
  • Monday, July 15, 2019
  • An update on building inspections in Trona and surrounding San Bernardino County communities.
  • All initial inspections of earthquake damaged structures in Trona and nearby San Bernardino County communities have been completed by damage assessment teams led by the County Fire Marshal, including building inspectors from Land Use Services.  Structures that were not tagged as Yellow or Red, can be assumed to be Green-tagged, with no major damage noted. However, residents are encouraged to call Land Use Services at 760-995-8140 or 909-387-8311 to request a follow-up inspection if they have particular safety concerns, or to re-evaluate the tag status, considering repairs (such as a gas line or other utility repair).
  • Remember: A yellow tag means the occupant may enter briefly to retrieve essential items. A red tag means the building is not safe to enter.
  • If you have a yellow or red tag, call for an inspection appointment to discuss the damage assessment and next steps.
  • Veterans Town Hall
  • A Veterans Town Hall will be held Wednesday, July 17 at the Elks Lodge in Trona. For more information, click here.
  • Sunday, July 14, 2019
  • Trona Earthquakes Rattle, Displace Residents, Many Buildings Deemed Unsafe to Return
  • San Bernardino County Fire Damage Assessment Team, with the assistance of County Building & Safety, and Code Enforcement, and CalOES, has completed its damage assessment of the communities of Trona, Argus, Red Mountain, and Windy Acres following the devastating earthquakes that shook the area on July 4th and 5th.
  • All building inspections have been assessed and completed. A full report is expected to be released within the week and will be sent to state and federal officials for review. FEMA will ultimately determine if the earthquake damage meets the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act criteria/threshold for assistance, such as low interest loans.
  • If your property has sustained some damage but has not been tagged by County Fire, it is safe to return. Damage reports are used for FEMA and insurance purposes only. The following properties have been determined to be unsafe or unlivable:
  • Residential
  • Red-Tagged: 31
  • Yellow-Tagged: 51
  • Commercial
  • Red-Tagged: 8
  • Yellow-Tagged: 4
  • Underground Storage Fuel Tanks Red-Tagged: 4
  • Tag Definition
  • Red-Tagged – not habitable in current conditions, structure has been severely damaged to the degree that that it is too dangerous to inhabit.
  • Yellow-Tagged – moderately damaged to the degree that its habitability is limited, not suitable for overnight stays, limited occupancy.
  • If you feel your home has become unsafe, you can visit our Local Assistance Center (LAC) at Trona High School daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call 877-410-8829 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and safety officials will respond and inspect the structure.  Final day for inspections is Tuesday, July 16.
  • Friday, July 12, 2019
  • At 6:11 a.m., there was a swarm of aftershocks including 4.9 and 3.1 magnitude earthquakes registering 8 kilometers east northeast of Ridgecrest. Damage is still being evaluated.
  • Roundtrip service to the American Red Cross shelter in Ridgecrest has been expanded through Monday. At 9 a.m and 12:30 p.m, the shuttle will depart from the Ridgecrest Red Cross Shelter to Trona High School. At 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. the shuttle will leave Trona High School to the Ridgecrest Red Cross Shelter.
  • The Trona transfer station, 13177 Trona Dump Rd, Searles Valley, will be open to accept household waste from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The Transfer Station will also be open this Sunday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Trona Library, 82805 Mountain View Street in Trona is also accepting household trash from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting Monday, July 15, household trash will be accepted at the Argus Fire Station, 82275 Trona Road from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019
  • All water has been restored to Trona. Report water leaks to 760-372-2291. Boil water order still in effect until further notice. For information on what to do during a boil water order, click here.
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019
  • At 1:09 p.m. a 4.2 magnitude earthquake was registered near Trona. No reports of additional damage or injuries reported at this time.
  • Residents of Trona and other San Bernardino County communities impacted by the July 4 and 5 earthquakes can have questions answered by calling toll-free 1(877) 410-8829
  • 2ND COOLING CENTER OPENS: First Baptist Church of Searles Valley, 84661 Trona Rd., 93562 is open to residents from 8a.m. to 7:30p.m.
  • ROAD CLOSURES: until further notice: Austin St. between Main St. and Jones St. (or Market St.)
    Searles St. between Main St. and Jones St. (or Market St.)
  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019:
  • On Wednesday, July 10, San Bernardino County will open a Local Assistance Center (LAC) at Trona High School located at 83600 Trona Rd. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The LAC is a one-stop location to access supportive services for residents affected by the earthquakes. Resources are provided free of charge. The following agencies are scheduled to provide resources and/or services at the LAC:
  • County Departments: Assessor/Recorder/Clerk, Aging and Adult Services, Behavioral Health, Public Health, Veterans Affairs, Land Use Services, Preschool Services, Transitional Assistance Department, Water and Sanitation,Workforce Development Department. Others include: Faith Based Organizations, Insurance agencies, Southern California Edison. The LAC will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice. For up to date information, visit this Trona Earthquake Recovery page.
  • Residents of the Trona and Windy Acres areas and the news media are invited to attend a town hall meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Trona High School, 83600 Trona Road, Trona. Elected officials and service experts from San Bernardino County, federal and state governments, and local utility providers will discuss the status of response and recovery efforts related to the July 4 and 5 earthquake swarm. Participants will include the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the County Fire Protection District, County Public Health, County Public Works, and other San Bernardino County agencies. In attendance will be State Senator Shannon Grove, County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman, First District County Supervisor Robert Lovingood, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon and State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte. The various speakers will address the status of recovery efforts specific to the San Bernardino County communities affected by the earthquakes and services to residents. Residents will have an opportunity to speak and ask questions publicly and privately following the meeting. Participants will also be available to the news media.
  • President Donald Trump declared an emergency for California to allow federal agencies to administer aid to those affected by the earthquakes. The declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide disaster relief in San Bernardino and Kern counties.
  • Monday, July 8, 2019:
  • Trona County Library will open as a COOLING CENTER from 10 am. to 6 p.m. Tuesday (tomorrow) to Thursday, July 18. A portable restroom will also be available outside the Library, 82805 Mountain View Street.
  • Portable showers will be available starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday (tomorrow) at Trona High School, 83600 Trona Road. Medical services will also be available at the high school starting Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Trona Post Office is closed until further notice. All residents are directed to go to the Ridgecrest Post Office to conduct all postal needs including picking up and dropping off mail – 101 E. Coso Ave, 93555. Main phone for the Postal Service is 1-800-275-8777.
  • All natural gas has been restored to the Trona area. For residents needing gas restoration, call 1-800-PGE-5000 (1-800-743-5000). People are advised to mention that they are calling for earthquake restoration services.
  • Shuttles are now available for Trona residents to the Kerr McGee Center in Ridgecrest where the American Red Cross has set up a shelter. A once-a-day shuttle will depart at 10 a.m. from Trona High School, 83600 Trona Rd. and return from the American Red Cross Shelter in Ridgecrest at noon. Water continues to be available at Trona High School.
  • Trona residents: To report damage or specific needs please contact the San Bernardino County Emergency Operations Center at 909-356-3998 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Mental health services continue to be provided through Friday at Trona High School, 83600 Trona Road.
  • Saturday, July 6, 2019:
  • Early Saturday morning, San Bernardino County signed a declaration of local emergency to assist the San Bernardino County communities affected by two days of earthquakes.
  • Under the coordination of the County Office of Emergency Services, County officials and departments have been working around the clock to assess the situation in Trona and provide vital services to residents.
  • There are numerous injuries and damaged residences in Trona. The County is working to determine the number of injured and damaged homes. County public works crews continue to assess and repair the road damage and per SCE, power has been restored.
  • Friday, July 5, 2019:
  • The State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water, the San Bernardino County Health Department, and the Searles Domestic Water Company are advising residents of Trona to only use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes.
    The affected area includes: Westend, South Trona, Argus, and Trona Village.
  • A comfort and care shelter has been opened at the Kerr McGee Community Center, 100 W. California Ave. in Ridgecrest.

County’s Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge wins Best of Big Bear honor

Readers of the Big Bear Grizzly have chosen the County’s Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge as the Big Bear Valley’s Best Natural/Cultural Attraction for 2019. What better reason to visit the zoo this weekend?

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven, temporarily while they heal, or permanently, as they are unable to survive on their own. Current residents include very rare snow leopards, black bears, bald eagles, mountain lions, gray wolves, and many more.

The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, a Special District of the County of San Bernardino owns the zoo, the facilities and the animals.

Find out more here.

 

A Message from Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman

Early Saturday morning, San Bernardino County signed a declaration of local emergency to assist the San Bernardino County communities affected by two days of earthquakes.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman praised the efforts of first responders and other personnel in assisting the public after the July 4th/5th Earthquake Swarm.

“We appreciate the outreach and support from the Governor’s office and White House. FEMA has also provided resources to affected areas,” stated Hagman.

Under the coordination of the County Office of Emergency Services, County officials and departments have been working around the clock to assess the situation in Trona and provide vital services to residents.

“Rapid response within 30 minutes from our departments, Sheriff, County Fire, Office of Emergency, Caltrans, ICEMA, Public Health, Building & Safety, County Purchasing and the County Administrative Office ensured that our residents received our full support following this earthquake,” shared Chairman Hagman.

“We appreciate the efforts from everyone working on this incident and are doing all we can to assist those affected,” he continued.

There are numerous injuries and damaged residences in Trona. The County is working to determine the number of injured and damaged homes. County public works crews continue to assess and repair the road damage and per SCE, power has been restored.

It’s time for Children’s Fund’s Annual Backpack & School Supply Drive!

Now through July 12, Children’s Fund is collecting backpacks and school supplies for foster youth and other vulnerable children and teens in our communities. Let’s equip our children with the tools they need to be successful in school!

Visit Children’s Fund’s website to download a flyer or view a list of needed school supplies by grade. Questions? Call Children’s Fund at (909) 379-6035.

Thank you for your generosity!

Board approves balanced, visionary 2019-20 County budget

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously adopted a balanced $6.9 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The budget fully funds increased costs to maintain current public service levels, makes a substantial contribution to capital project needs, and allocates funding to many projects and programs that support the Countywide Vision and the board’s goals and objectives.

“The Board’s longstanding fiscally prudent approach, coupled with continued growth in property and sales tax revenues, has placed the County in a position to take care of immediate needs and strategically invest in the future,” County Chief Executive Officer Gary McBride wrote to the Board.

Examples of funding recommendations include allocations to:

  • Enhance public safety, such as the Sheriff Department’s Hope and START programs),
  • Improve decision-making capabilities through the use of technology, such as Esri GIS licenses and support),
  • Address workload issues, particularly staffing for the District Attorney and Public Defender,
  • Invest in capital projects, such as gully funding the Valley Dispatch Center project.

The budget includes $406.9 million in reserves, $1 billion toward law and justice, $2.3 billion for human services, and $721 million for Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

S&P Global upgrades County’s credit rating to AA+

Citing prudent budgeting practices by the county and an improving county economy, one of the nation’s top three credit rating agencies today upgraded San Bernardino County‘s credit rating from AA to AA+.

“This is a testament to the great work being done by our budget staff, our department managers and all County employees, who provide the public with a high level of service with efficiency and innovation,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman.

The County requested the credit review by S&P Global as part of a $335.2 million dollar refunding of outstanding debt approved by the Board of Supervisors last month. Based on current market conditions, the County expects the higher rating to help save over $30 million dollars on that refunding alone.

In its notification to the county, S&P Global cited a strengthening local economy as part of the reason for the upgrade, particularly employment growth, a rise in retail activity and rebounding real estate values.

It also praised the County for using “fiscal discipline” in the face of surging tax revenue from the improved economy.

“We view the county’s management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices,” S&P wrote in its notification to the County. “We view the county’s budgetary flexibility as very strong. … Management reports that stronger tax revenue and continued actions to reduce expenditure growth contributed to a rebound in general fund performance in recent fiscal years.”

Among the specifics S&P Global cited were:

  • Strong budgetary performance, with operating surpluses at the general fund and the total governmental fund levels in fiscal 2018.
  • Very strong debt and contingent liability profile.
  • An analytically robust budget development process that uses trends and forecasts to build assumptions with input from local economists, and a budget document that includes details on assumptions to support decision-making by the Board of Supervisors.
  • Quarterly budget updates to the Board of Supervisors that include details on year-to-date revenue and expenditures.
  • Good debt disclosure online and in annual financial reports as well as a debt policy that is integrated with the strategic plan.
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