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Monthly Archives: December 2013
The year 2013 was an exciting and rewarding year for San Bernardino County and its citizens.
Janice Rutherford was elected Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Sheriff John McMahon was sworn in and County CEO Gregory C. Devereaux’s contract was extended through March of 2017.
The County’s departments, which serve a multitude of needs for our citizens, won a number of awards for their innovative programs and improvements to existing services to help achieve the Countywide Vision.
This year proved to be the ‘rebuilding’ year for San Bernardino County as new fire stations opened, a new learning center emerged and an upturn in the housing market began to take shape.
For more of the year’s highlights, take a look at the County of San Bernardino 2013 in Review
If you are interested in adopting a pet, the Devore Animal Shelter is located at 19777 Shelter Way in San Bernardino. Hours for the shelter are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information please call (909) 386-9820 or visit our website for lost and adoptable pets at www.sbcounty.gov/acc. We accept cash, VISA and MasterCard. Also visit the Facebook page for Animal Care and Control’s Homeward Bound pets at http://www.facebook.com/HomewardBoundPets#!/HomewardBoundPets.
The San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association (SBCERA) is at the top of its class, that class being the 2013 Industry Innovators as determined by Asset International’s Chief Investment Officer (aiCIO) magazine.
“Winning [the 4th Annual Industry Innovation Award for “Public Pension Plan Below $15 Billion] is immensely rewarding,” said SBCERA Chief Investment Officer Don Pierce. “We are excited about the direction we’re taking and honored by the award.”
The award highlights the most innovative and positive work being done for, and at, the world’s largest pensions, endowments, foundations, and sovereign wealth funds. SBCERA is in good company; winners in other categories included United Technologies, United Parcel Service (UPS), The Kresge Foundation and General Mills. As part of the judging process and magazine article, aiCIO cited the fact that SBCERA recorded a 15.4 percent return year-to-date and a three-year annualized return of 12.6 percent through an innovative strategy based on income-oriented investing and using options to manage risk.
“This award demonstrates California county retirement systems are indeed worldwide industry leaders among public pension institutional investors,” said State Association of County Retirement Systems President Doug Rose. The award was accepted by SBCERA Trustees Dawn Stafford and Louis Fiorino on Dec. 9 at an awards banquet at the New York Public Library “Our Board, our staff and our consultants share a strategic vision that we are very proud of,” said Stafford.
SBCERA is an award-winning multiple employer public retirement system in California with over $7 billion in assets under management. SBCERA administers benefits and services for nearly 33,000 members and beneficiaries, commensurate with their years of service and compensation. The Board of Retirement’s responsibilities and functions are governed by the applicable provisions of the California Government Code, along with the By-Laws and regulations of SBCERA.
Gail Joe and her fellow employees in the County’s Special Districts Department decided to celebrate and promote the Countywide Vision during their department’s Christmas decorating contest this year.
She and Michael Wildes, Shar Perez, and Mona Montes – who all work in the Fiscal/Budget division – were the clear winners when they unveiled the tree complete with a “Vision” topper and cutout arrowheads portraying the County’s iconic seal.
The Countywide Vision statement is printed across paper ornaments adorning the tree. What a wonderful celebration of the Vision as the County heads into 2014!
The Countywide Vision states:
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.
The Public Safety Operations Center opened in May 2013 beginning a new era of public safety for the High Desert and the entire county. The center is housed inside the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center in Hesperia.
The award was presented to the County at the APWA Southern California Chapter’s 14th Annual Awards Luncheon. The AWPA is a professional association of public works leaders throughout the United States and Canada. The Southern California chapter includes 1,400 members in the counties of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside.
The Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC) is a 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art complex, a high-tech operations center that hosts an updated and expanded dispatch center for Sheriff and Fire 911 calls and a place to coordinate resources in the event of an emergency. The facility was not only built to high environmental standards, it was designed to withstand an extreme disaster.
The creation of the PSOC eased the burden on the County’s aging main emergency operations center in Rialto because the Hesperia location is fully equipped to become the crisis nerve center for the entire county.
The PSOC cost $16.7 million, less than half of what it would have cost to build a High Desert facility in a completely separate building. Instead, the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrative Office developed a plan to use surplus space in the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center to maximize resources.
“The County made great use of SB 328 legislation that allowed us to build the PSOC facility in the most efficient and cost effective manner,” said Supervisor Robert Lovingood. “Using the ‘best value’ method to award contracts ensures the highest quality construction at the most reasonable price. And that’s good news for everyone.”
There are many high-tech features throughout the PSOC, including 65,000 lineal feet of data cable, an uninterrupted power supply, and waterless fire suppression. The 911 and dispatch consoles are customized with redundant power supply, multiple data feeds, multiple displays, backup communications and video relay. The 175-foot communications tower carries a variety of antennas to aid communication throughout the county is designed to withstand 120 mile
per hour wind forces.
An expanded summer water play area, a new fishing program and a renovation of the San Moritz Lodge are among improvements to take place at Lake Gregory Regional Park under a new contract approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.
The Board voted to allow Urban Parks Concessionaires, also known as the California Parks Company, to take over the day-to-day operations at Lake Gregory and upgrade the park on behalf of San Bernardino County Regional Parks.
The company will operate the park beginning January 1 through December 31, 2016 and has the option of entering into a long-term lease agreement with the County before the contract ends. The company has nearly 40 years of experience operating a number of resorts, parks and lakes throughout California, including Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet.
The company will not only manage the park, but will provide food and beverage concessions, special event and wedding services, inspection of invasive aquatic species, and recreation and fee collection.
“We are excited about the expanded services that will be provided to our visitors and residents,” said Regional Parks Director Keith Lee. “The amenities will be especially attractive for families looking for things to do with their children.”
Under the contract, the company will operate the park at its expense, and in return will collect and retain fees and revenues generated by programs and services provided at Lake Gregory. Regional Parks will pay management fees to the operators for the first two years totaling $550,000 and will begin receiving 10 percent of the revenue or $100,000, whichever is greater beginning in 2016-17.
Regional Parks began seeking requests for proposals for the maintenance and operation of Lake Gregory in January 2012 after experiencing significant losses to operate the park. The new partnership is expected to alleviate those losses while rejuvenating and updating Lake Gregory, improving its draw for local residents and tourists.
“California Parks has the knowhow and experience to breathe new life into Lake Gregory Regional Park, and I am excited to see how park visitors and the Crestline community will benefit from changes and improvements California Parks has in store for Lake Gregory,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford.
The agreement has no impact on the County’s ongoing repair and seismic improvements being made to Lake Gregory’s valve structure and dam.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday acted to update the system, which serves all police and firefighting agencies in America’s largest county, into a state-of-the-art Motorola Project 25 communications system compatible with systems in all neighboring counties and states as well as military bases within the county. The system will also allow the county and its 24 cities and towns to use their existing radios, saving millions in scarce local taxpayer dollars.
“The Board has made a significant investment in the safety of our citizens and the men and women in uniform who protect us,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford. “And we are doing this without incurring costly debt.”
The upgrade of the county’s public safety radio communication and microwave data transport systems will provide public safety personnel with a new stable and reliable digital communications system supported by its manufacturers. The system will provide improved voice clarity and signal strength, enhanced security features, and the ability to roam without having to manually change radio modes to find the strongest signal.
The project fulfills goals and objectives established by the Board by improving County government operations, operating in a fiscally responsible and business-like manner, and maintaining public safety.
The current system has long been a headache for public safety agencies and the technicians in charge of keeping it up and running. It is no longer supported by its manufacturer, and replacement parts have been difficult to find and will soon be non-existent. County technicians have had to find parts on eBay and similar websites and have even collected parts from agencies disposing of their old systems. The system is so old that the people who know how to fix it are approaching retirement age.
Periodic failures occur, and at some point the system will completely and permanently stop working.
“These systems are expensive, so in a sense, we are pleased we have been able to make it last this long,” Chair Rutherford said. “However, not upgrading our communications infrastructure has become a gamble with public safety that we cannot afford.”
Two years ago, the Board began setting aside $20 million a year to pay for the upgraded system. Continuing this through June 2019 will fully cover the $158.2 million project without incurring the costly debt government agencies often use to fund investments of this size.
The Board’s decision Tuesday also leverages a $40 million investment the County recently made in Motorola Project 25 portable radio and infrastructure equipment. Also, by acting when it did, the Board took advantage of an $18.5 million discount that would have expired on January 1.
Final plans to construct a 190-unit affordable housing community that will include a new Bloomington Branch Library and community center have been approved by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
The 13,993 square foot development, located near the corner of Valley Boulevard and Locust Avenue, will be built in two phases.
Phase one, projected to begin construction in fall 2014, will consist of 70-units for seniors, public library, and 2,200 square foot senior community space. It will also include 36 family units, 2,625 square foot community center and classroom facility. Phase two will consist of the remaining 84 family units. The housing project will lease one, two, and three-bedroom units.
The approved project is headed by the county’s Community Development and Housing Department, which held multiple public meetings in Bloomington to solicit input from local residents on the architecture style and address any direct concerns.
“I am very excited for the residents of Bloomington. The Board approval is an important step towards building this beautifully designed mixed-generational housing community. The new library and housing community exemplifies the Countywide Vision in action,” said Dena Fuentes, Director of the Community Development and Housing Department.
The development is in part of three major investments—affordable housing project, public library, and the Valley Corridor Specific Plan—that San Bernardino County is making in the Bloomington community.
“This project is more than just housing, it is a long-term investment that will deliver senior services, improve education, provide jobs, and expand local business opportunities for a growing community we serve,” said Supervisor Josie Gonzales.
Community members and dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new San Bernardino County Fire Station 22 in Spring Valley Lake. The ceremony kicked off with the County Fire Department Color Guard accompanied by Local 935 Pipes & Drum Band.
The new facility replaces the temporary fire station that has been serving the community of Spring Valley Lake and surrounding area for the past 21 years out of an aged and substandard single-wide trailer, with its apparatus stored in an adjacent butler building. The former station was located at the North end of Victor Valley College near the Fish Hatchery.
California Construction out of Riverside started construction on the fire station in November of 2012 and completed the station right on schedule and on budget. The 6,300 square foot facility includes an apparatus bay for two engines, living quarters, and an approximate 600 square foot equipment storage building.
This state-of-the-art facility was designed to serve the lakeside community of Spring Valley Lake. Station 22 serves over 10,000 Spring Valley Lake residents, and the Victor Valley College, the Sterling Inn & Commons and responds to incidents along the busy Bear Valley Road from the Mojave River West to Industrial Blvd. On average, Station 22 firefighters respond to over 1,800 calls for service a year, with about 1,300 of those calls being medical responses. Company 22 regularly assists the surrounding cities of Hesperia and Victorville, and the town of Apple Valley when needed. These areas also back up Company 22 as well.