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ONTARIO – More than enough water will exist to meet the needs of San Bernardino County residents and businesses through 2035 only if water users step up conservation efforts and the public and local government leaders are willing to invest in projects that will store and protect water supplies.
That was the conclusion of the first-ever complete inventory of the county’s water resources unveiled today at the Sixth Annual San Bernardino County Water Conference in Ontario. The inventory is a product of the Countywide Vision’s efforts to bring together the leaders of all county water agencies and other experts to work cooperatively on solutions to a potential imbalance between population growth and water supply.
Board of Supervisors Chair Josie Gonzales and Vice-Chairman Bread Mitzelfelt, who co-hosted the conference, both stressed the importance of conservation and support for new infrastructure in their remarks to attendees. Economic prosperity as well as life itself is impossible without an adequate water supply.
The Countywide Vision Statement, adopted in June 2011, calls on community leaders to work collaboratively to reach shared goals, and water agencies throughout the county had to work together and share information to create the inventory. This created a process that suggests the revolutionary prospect of agencies eventually sharing resources and supplies to meet the needs of county water users.
“This is the year of ‘we’,” said Kirby Brill, general manager of the Mojave Water Agency and a member of the Vision Water Element Group. “There will be much more of an emphasis on working together in the context of the Countywide Vision…Silos are being destroyed.”
The Countywide Vision took a major step forward this morning when the San Bernardino Associated Governments Board and County Board of Supervisors approved the first two regional implementation goals developed through the Vision process, targeting cradle-to-career success and the creation of a business-friendly environment.
The goals emerged from meetings between experts and stakeholders representing the elements of the Countywide Vision and were honed by city, town and county leaders during the annual City/County conference in March. The element leaders will now meet again to set a course for achieving the goals through collaboration with residents and other stakeholders.
One goal calls for partnering with all sectors of the community to support the success of every child from cradle to career. The other goal adopted today calls for the establishment of San Bernardino County as a model in the state where local government, regulatory agencies and communities are truly business friendly.
“These goals reflect discussions that took place within several of the element groups,” said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Josie Gonzales. The county and SANBAG have coordinated the development and achievement of the Countywide Vision.
“Groups representing education, healthcare, and jobs and the economy have emphasized the need to guide young people from an early age into career fields that will benefit the county community,” Chair Gonzales said. “Groups representing the environment, housing and jobs and the economy have emphasized the need and the opportunity we have to be a model of business-friendliness in a state that is perceived to be hostile to business.”
The Board of Supervisors today adopted a Job Statement and Paradigm that define the role County government will play in the achievement of the Countywide Vision. The board also adopted Goals & Objectives for the County Chief Executive Officer and the County organization
for the coming year.
“The Board of Supervisors today took major steps toward helping the region achieve the Vision it has set for itself as well as setting a course for County government to follow toward economic recovery and public service,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Josie Gonzales.
Last year San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) and the County worked with residents, government agencies, community organizations, and businesses to identify a vision for the county’s future. SANBAG and the Board of Supervisors adopted the Vision on
June 30, and since then County government has been working to determine what the County’s part will be in making the Vision a reality. Information on the Vision is available at www.sbcounty.gov/vision.
Following 18 community meetings, nearly 4,000 online surveys, two dozen expert roundtables and input from the county’s 24 cities, the Countywide Vision will be considered for endorsement Thursday night.
The Board of Supervisors and the San Bernardino Associated Governments board will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Maloof Foundation for Arts & Crafts in Rancho Cucamonga for a special joint public meeting to endorse the Vision, which can be viewed at www.sbcounty.gov/vision in an interactive format. The Maloof Foundation is located at 5131 Carnelian Street.
“The ‘Vision’ is designed by the people of San Bernardino County to project the fulfillment of their hopes and dreams for their communities,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Josie Gonzales. “To ensure success the ‘Vision’ needs to be adopted and embraced.”
The Vision includes the five-paragraph Vision statement, information on how the Vision was identified, detailed elements of the Vision, examples of local programs that can be replicated to help achieve the Vision, results of the online surveys, and a sample of the Letters from the Future written by county residents during the 18 community meetings conducted in January and February.
Starting in November 2010, the Vision Project launched a series of more than two dozen roundtable discussions with experts in education, the economy, the environment, public safety, tourism, and community service to find out what they see as the county’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential.
In January and early February, the project convened 18 community meetings throughout the county and asked hundreds of residents to paint a picture of what they want the county to become 20 years from now. Thousands of residents completed online surveys and said they are pleased with the county’s recreational opportunities and affordable housing options, but concerned about the availability of good jobs and
about improving the county’s image. They want an honest and open government that will focus on creating jobs and enhancing public safety. The project also met with representatives of each of the 24 cities and towns, and digested each of their general plans.
The Vision Team spent many months crunching and analyzing the data from the meetings, plans, and surveys. What emerged is a Vision of a complete, sustainable community that creates and retains jobs by producing an educated workforce while making the county’s communities safe and livable.
The Vision statement is as follows: We envision a complete county that capitalizes on the diversity of its people, its geography, and its economy to create a broad range of choices for its residents in how they live, work, and play.
We envision a vibrant economy with a skilled workforce that attracts employers who seize the opportunities presented by the county’s unique advantages and provide the jobs that create countywide prosperity.
We envision a sustainable system of high‐quality education, community health, public safety, housing, retail, recreation, arts and culture, and
infrastructure, in which development complements our natural resources and environment.
We envision a model community which is governed in an open and ethical manner, where great ideas are replicated and brought to scale, and all sectors work collaboratively to reach shared goals.
From our valleys, across our mountains, and into our deserts, we envision a county that is a destination for visitors and a home for anyone seeking a sense of community and the best life has to offer.