To the Citizens of Solano County
After several years of facing the challenges of the Great Recession, we are pleased to report a turning point in 2013. As the year progressed, we saw unemployment rates inch downward. The local housing market gained some positive momentum, which generated a modest increase in property tax revenues. Businesses started showing cautious optimism. This positive news was a welcome respite as we continued to address the ongoing fiscal constraints created by the Great Recession and implement new federal and state programs.
As this report illustrates, we are starting to see the dividends from our investments in facilities, operations and employees. Some of the planning and financing for these initiatives were well under way when the economy collapsed. Other investments were made to improve how residents transact business with the County under a new fiscal reality.
Throughout the year new facilities came online and other projects were started that will change how we provide services. Investments in technology are making it easier for residents to access more services online. Employees working in the field are using smarter tools that allow them to spend more time providing direct services.
2013 also reflected a continued evolution of our operations as we implemented federal and state programs. The ongoing rollouts of public safety realignment and health care reform is expanding our role in the supervision, prosecution, defense and housing of offenders as well as in the delivery of health care and social service programs. This evolution will likely continue as ongoing policy debates and budget realities at the federal and state level unfold.
All of this activity reflects an organization that is continuing to evolve and is poised to recover from the Great Recession. Amidst all of this change, we remain committed to providing a safe and healthy place to live, learn, work and play.
Linda J. Seifert, Chair, Board of Supervisors
Birgitta E. Corsello, County Administrator
- Securing Our Finances -
Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2013/14: The Revenues by Source chart describes the sources of governmental funds used to finance the FY2013/14 budget. The County’s single largest revenue source is intergovernmental revenue from state and federal agencies, which are generally restricted dollars to fund the County’s implementation of state and federal programs. The General Fund Revenue chart provides information on the sources of funds used to finance County operations, including property taxes and intergovernmental revenue, that come to the County without restrictions. The Spending Plan by Function chart shows where the County allocates its budget. Public Protection represents the single largest category of expenditures in both the total budget and Discretionary Spending.
Housing Market Property Valuations Increase: The assessment roll for the nearly 143,000 residential and commercial parcels increased countywide for the first time in five years and posted increases in all seven cities. The $40 billion or 6.8% increase reflects an improving local housing market, and most notably a 29% reduction in the number of homes with temporary value reductions below their base property values established by Proposition 13. As a result, local jurisdictions are starting to see a reversal to the losses of local property tax dollars they experienced due to the Great Recession.
Spurring Economic Diversification and Job Creation: As the region slowly continues to emerge from the economic downturn, the County explored ways to expand the overall base of economic activity, including:
- Initiating a comprehensive project dubbed “Moving Solano Forward” to examine the economic impact of Travis Air Force Base on the region and explore ways to diversify the overall economy. An implementation plan for adoption by the county and the seven cities is anticipated by June 2014.
- Initiating an update to the Travis AFB Land Use Compatability Plan to ensure compatible land uses surrounding the Air Force base.
- Adopting the Solano360 Site Specific Plan and Environmental Impact Report in preparation for developing the Fair of the Future and year-round commercial activity on the fairgrounds property.
- Adopting the Northeast Dixon Agriculture Industrial Area Specific Plan, which defines the parameters for potential investments in agriculture-related processing and support services.
- Joining a public-private partnership to enable participating property owners to finance approved energy- and water-saving improvements over time through their property tax bills.
Accolades for excellence in fiscal reporting: For the 11th consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the County of Solano and the Auditor-Controller’s Office for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.
- Serving Our Residents & Building Our Future -
The following items provide a glimpse into the various accomplishments and accolades that the County of Solano has received over the year. Click here for a printable executive summary of the 2013 Annual Report.
· Peach Fruit Fly: Over the summer, County pest surveyors caught six peach fruit flies, which can infest dozens of hosts such as peaches, nectarines, cherries, tomatoes, eggplant and many other commodities grown in Solano County. After the second and third flies were trapped in rapid succession, a multiagency eradication effort was launched. Dilute pesticide combined with a pheromone lure was applied to hundreds of street trees and telephone poles above the reach of people and pets. Host plants within 200 meters of actual fly finds were treated with an organically approved pesticide. Coordinated by County staff, growers in Suisun Valley performed preventative treatments on late row crops, pomegranates and persimmons just in case a quarantine was enacted. As fall temperatures drop, the likelihood of additional finds this season dwindles. Fruit fly projects run for three generations after the last fly is detected, so estimates are eradication could be declared in mid-July 2014 if no more peach flies are trapped.
· Specialty Crop Block Grant – Solano Grown: The Agriculture Department administered a California Specialty Crop Block Grant in support of Solano Grown marketing activities. Eight billboards along state highway corridors and 45 flights of radio announcements were made touting the availability of local, seasonal crops.
· Agricultural Pesticide Container Disposal Events: Two opportunities for recycling empty pesticide containers were provided to local growers at county landfill locations. An inter-agency effort with the Agriculture Department and Resource Management’s Public Works, Solid Waste and Environmental Health divisions led to the diversion of hundreds of pounds of plastic from the waste stream. The plastic will be recycled into non-food items such as parking bumpers and roadside reflectors.
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Child Support Services
· Automated Mail: Child Support Services used its document imaging system to create a virtual mailroom. Incoming mail (about 16,000 pages per month) were scanned and delivered to staff in minutes versus days, and documents were integrated into the statewide case management system rather than being mailed to the state imaging center for processing weeks later. The new, more efficient business process also enhanced document retrieval and reduced paper storage requirements.
· Autodialer Campaigns: Child Support Services used an automated outbound dialer system to send reminder calls to customers with delinquent accounts. During FY2012/13, the call campaigns generated 895 payments totaling $301,442 on delinquent accounts. The cost of conducting the campaigns was $1,303.
· By the Numbers:
o $37.9 million in child support payments collected, with $26.7 million (70%) collected by Income Withholding Orders
o 14 lunchtime workshops assisted 65 parents in navigating changes to their child support order
o 2,080 paternities (legal fatherhood) established, creating an important link between unmarried fathers and their children
o Collected child support payments on 84% of cases with a court-ordered payment
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· Truancy Court Celebrates Success: Nearly half of the 81 parents referred to Solano County’s Truancy Court since its inception have succeeded in significantly improving their child’s school attendance, which is being lauded as a successful education enhancement and crime prevention program. Statistics reveal that if a child does not graduate from high school, the child is eight times more likely to end up in jail or prison than children who graduate. The Truancy Court was established in 2011 as a collaborative venture between the District Attorney’s Office, the Solano County Office of Education and the Solano County Superior Courts to address excessive, unexcused absences from elementary school. The effort is reinforced with a letter sent to the home of every elementary school student in Solano County that reminds them of the negative impact missing school has on a child’s future and the legal consequences for parents. School officials throughout the county have noted a significant improvement in the response to these letters, resulting in fewer formal hearings in the schools. School officials also report dramatic improvement in the attendance of many students who have been referred to Truancy Court, especially those students of elementary age.
· Solano County Family Justice Center: The Solano County Family Justice Center opened in April as a dedicated facility to serve the victims of family violence including domestic violence, sexual assault, elder and child abuse. Located at 604 Empire St. in Fairfield, the center provides space under one roof for a number of community agencies that provide services to victims of family violence – including the District Attorney’s Office of Family Violence Prevention, Lift 3 Support Group and Domestic Violence Shelter, Child Haven, the Sheriff’s Office, Health & Social Services, Kaiser Permanente, North Bay Medical Center, and Travis Air Force Base’s Family Advocacy Office. In addition, the Family Justice Center provides pro-bono family law services, hosts the Solano Homicide Survivor Support Group, Victim Empowerment program and the Safe Harbor for Kids Supervised Visitation program.
· Restitution Made to Crime Victims: The restitution payments received by the District Attorney’s Restitution Unit increased from 390 to approximately 450 in FY2012/13, totaling $185,983 in restitution collected on behalf of victims of crime.
· Consumer & Environmental Protection: The District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Crimes Unit received $1,157,000 in civil penalties and cost recovery as part of a $16.5 million multi-jurisdictional civil judgment against Walgreen Company for unlawful handling and disposal of hazardous wastes and confidential customer medical information.
· Crime Laboratory: As of October 2013, the District Attorney’s Crime Laboratory had performed 2,522 analyses. The analyses were conducted on a variety of items including alcohol/toxicology samples and solid dose controlled substances such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, with contract work being performed for the California Department of Corrections. In July 2013, the laboratory successfully completed its first surveillance visit from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.
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First 5 Solano
· Roadmap Earns National Award: Solano and Contra Costa counties, in partnership with United Way of the Bay Area (UWBA), earned a 2013 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for working to reduce Bay Area poverty by pursuing a “roadmap” that addresses poverty at the root cause: growing economic prosperity by focusing collective community action on education, jobs and a strong safety net. The effort included hosting an Opportunity Conference to link residents living in poverty with volunteer community mentors to guide them out of poverty. The effort was led by a collaborative steering committee consisting of First 5 Solano, Kaiser Permanente, UWBA, Community Action Partnership Solano, Children’s Network of Solano County, Solano County Health and Social Services and Senior Coalition of Solano County. The Solano County Board of Supervisors was the first public agency in the Bay Area region to formally endorse the “Bay Area Roadmap to Cut Poverty,” with city councils, school districts, non-profits and other organizations across Solano following suit. Early returns for this decade-long commitment include exceptional levels of civic engagement, reductions in safety net service gaps/overlaps and increased numbers of low-income residents accessing income supports.
· First 5 Celebrates 15 years: After 15 years of existence, First 5 Solano continues to achieve a high return on the local investment of its Proposition 10 tobacco tax funds aimed at ensuring Solano children have a healthy start, thrive in the first 5 years, and enter Kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life. To that end, First 5 Solano helps build strong and stable families and communities in addition to the comprehensive services funded directly to young children. FY2012-13 was the first year of a three-year funding cycle, with accomplishments including:
o 14,569 expectant parents, children aged birth-5, family members and providers served;
o Increased leveraging of funds, with 59¢ brought into Solano County for every 41¢ of First 5 Solano funds;
o 93% of grantee performance measures achieved, with highlights such as:
o 62 infants born to high-risk mothers at full-term and a healthy birthweight;
o 926 young children enrolled in health insurance, with 97% of those retaining their enrollment;
o 1,056 young children with developmental screenings, assessment and treatment;
o 178 children reported to Child Protective Services home visited, remaining safely in their homes and communities;
o 193 children with little/no preschool experience engaged in summer Pre-Kindergarten Academies, posting significant improvements in cognitive, early academic and social-emotional skills; and
o $13,200 raised in the “Pre-K Business Champions” program to support expanded Pre-K Academy participation to every city in Solano County.
· Established Help Me Grow Solano Initiative: In addition to its funded initiatives, First 5 Solano has established a meta-collaborative, “Help Me Grow Solano,” dedicated to integrating services across First 5 Commission priority areas of health and well-being, early care and education, and family support/parent education. First 5 Solano staffs also coordinate or lead internal First 5 services, including distribution of Kits for New Parents and community engagement activities, such as sponsorship of the “Breastfeeding Friendly Express Van” at the Solano County Fair, April Children’s Month and Vallejo Celebrates Youth.
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- Updated Airport Master Plan: Following an extensive public participation process, the Nut Tree Airport completed an update of its Airport Master Plan that identifies capital improvements needed to accommodate aviation growth and airport development through 2031. The Updated Master Plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors in November 2013.
- Managed Print Services: General Services initiated the launch of a managed print services program that provides a cost-effective alternative to the purchase and lease of print output devices. It is expected that upon full implementation of the program, the County will realize an overall annual savings in print output expenses of about 30%.
- Records Information Management: Central Services is leading the County’s strategic initiative to advance the Records Information Management program which focuses on electronic filing and storage of documents.
- Reduced Lease Costs: With the completion of the William J. Carroll Government Center in Vacaville, two leases for 13,275 square feet of office space were terminated that eliminated annual rent payments of $162,000.
- County Event Center Usage Increased: Revenue from the rental of the County Events Center increased to $30,316, up from $8,080 the prior year.
- Monitor Construction of Stanton Correctional Facility: Architectural Services supervised the construction of the new $89.3 million, 362-bed, 127,700 gross square foot detention facility that will provide additional capacity for maximum security adult offenders. The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2014.
Fairfield-Suisun Veterans Memorial Building
- Benicia and Fairfield-Suisun Veterans Buildings Modernized: Completed an extensive renovation of the Fairfield-Suisun Veterans Memorial Building. Originally constructed in 1926, the $2.7 million project modernized the entire facility. Complete renovation at the 10,909 square foot building, originally constructed circa 1949, consisted of accessibility improvements; new heating and cooling systems; electrical upgrades; and new windows and cabinetry. County funds in the amount of $2,200,000 supplemented $147,000 in Federal funds to complete the project.
- “Zero Emission” Electric Utility Vehicles: Low Emission Vehicle use is supported by acquisition of two “Zero Emission” Electric Utility vehicles for daily grounds maintenance.
- Low Emission Vehicles: Low-emission certified vehicles emit less than 50% of the emissions of a standard vehicle. Over 90% (423) of the light equipment fleet is certified low-emission.
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Health and Social Services
· Welfare to Work Changed: Effective January 2013, customers of the CalWORKs Welfare to Work (WTW) program no longer faced inconsistencies between federal and state participation requirements. However, temporary exemptions for parents of young children ended. Staff worked with customers to develop or revise plans to meet the new requirements. To reduce expenditures on child care, California allowed parents with a child under age 2, or two children under age 6 to be exempt from participation in WTW from August 1, 2009 until December 31, 2012. These exemptions were replaced by a new, once in a lifetime, young child exemption allowing parents of a child under 23 months of age to be exempted from participation. To implement these new program changes, WTW staff engaged customers in a comprehensive discussion to review the program changes and any new participation options they have, and made any necessary changes to their WTW plan. As a result of these changes, the WTW caseload, which had declined to about 1,750 from about 3,300 in August 2009 (the implementation of the short-term exemptions), has begun to increase, reaching 1,827 in September 2013.
· Cal-Learn Helps Young Mothers: After a one-year state suspension, the Cal-Learn program – a much-needed service for young mothers under the age 19 to stay in school, get a high school diploma and prepare for jobs – returned to Solano County in March 2013 under a contract with Planned Parenthood. Currently, 27 teens use these services to move forward in their lives and stabilize the living conditions for their young children.
· Expanded Health Care Role: Planning for the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act was a major activity for the Employment & Eligibility Services Division. The Affordable Care Act requires all applicants to be offered the option of applying online, through the mail, in person or over the phone. Of these various enrollment channels, customers can request services by phone through the Covered California Service Center or by calling their county’s public assistance office. On October 1, staff at the new Solano Center for Healthcare Options and Insurance Coverage Enrollment (CHOICE) Call Center were ready for the opening day of enrollment for new health insurance offerings and began processing applications for health coverage. Phone inquiries to the Covered California Service Center were assessed for potential Medi-Cal eligibility, and if the caller appeared to be eligible, the caller was transferred to the County of residence for eligibility determination and application processing. Telephone service hours for health care reform applications were expanded to included evening and Saturday hours. County clinic operations were also expanded to provide added services to these new patients.
· CARES Staff Shares Best Practices: All staff from the newly formed division called Child and Adult Resources and Services (CARES) came together for a retreat in May. The objective was to build a new vision for an integrated and standardized services model as well as increase knowledge and mutual understanding of child and adult services through cross-training and team building. Staff also received training in the community resiliency model to increase skills to cope with secondary trauma.
· Mobile Technology Allows More Time for Personal Contacts: Solano Child Welfare Services was the first county in California to issue its 26 emergency response social workers iPads to access data while working in the field. Workers can pull up case records, file new reports, take pictures for evidence and stay in contact with the home office through email to accelerate investigations. In addition, this technology helped to respond to the increasing demand for accountability and created more time for the social worker to have personal interaction with the child and parents.
· Support Expands for Foster Care Picnic: For several years Solano’s Annual Foster Care Picnic brought together all Child Welfare Foster Care staff, parents and children to celebrate their partnerships. This year the picnic was collaboratively organized by more community-based agencies than ever before. The event was held on August 1 at Laurel Creek Park in Fairfield, where Child Welfare Services, Solano Children and Youth Support Network, Solano Community College and Kinship Education, Foster Family Agencies, CASA, Foster-A-Dream, community-based organizations and foster parents joined together to bring fun, games and good food to Solano children. The picnic was a huge success with over 33 volunteers, 51 care providers and over 131 children in attendance. The children enjoyed the food, snow cones, bounce house, games, photo booth, crafts, face painting and received school backpacks.
· Youth Celebrates Graduating: Child Welfare Services was proud to sponsor Solano’s “Second Annual Foster Youth Graduation Event”. Independent Living Services provider First Place for Youth and several community partners, and a large crowd of supporters were present. The program featured 20 foster youth from the graduating class of 2013, and included motivational speakers, recognitions and scholarships awarded to the youth to support them in their ongoing academic endeavors and goals of self-sufficiency.
· Services for Child Welfare Expanded: In March 2013 agencies began providing services to address unmet needs identified in the County’s 2013 self assessment, including community-based adoption promotion and supportive services, intensive home-based mental health services for families involved with Child Welfare Services and Juvenile Probation, kinship supportive services and navigation services to relative caregivers and the children living in their homes, as well as assistance to at-risk families to obtain additional support services offered through community resource agencies. This approach has integrated services at access points for families so that children and parents can comply more readily with court orders.
· Family Health Clinics Promote Better Access To Services: In July 2012, in response to demand for better access from the community, Family Health Clinics started offering walk-in appointments also known as “Open Access” for clients coming to their neighborhood clinic first thing in the morning. Patients can now get a follow up clinic visit after their stay in the hospital just by walking into the clinic between 8 and 10 a.m.; no appointments are necessary. This has increased the patient visits drastically and enabled patients to continue their care after the hospital discharge. As a result of the success of Open Access, Family Health expanded the project in May 2013 to include rolling “Same Day Standby Appointments.” The goal of the expansion was to reduce the unused appointments by filling no-show appointments with a patient who walks in (without an appointment) for care. In the Fairfield Family Health Services Clinic, the effective no-show rate was reduced from nearly 26% to less than 12%. Since the inception of the standby clinic, 600 additional appointments were offered to clients that otherwise would have gone unused.
· Public Health Lab Expands to Improve Effectiveness: The Public Health Laboratory expanded its service area to include Marin County on July 1, 2013. The addition of Marin to the existing Napa-Solano-Yolo Regional Partnership is expected to increase testing by more than 70%, from 14,000 to 24,000 tests per year.
· BabyFirst Collaborative an Exemplary Model: Solano presented an overview of the Solano BabyFirst Collaborative at the national CityMatCH conference in San Antonio, Texas. Staff was invited to participate in several state and regional discussion panels to help other California counties address the challenges helping multi-need families with adequate resources. One of the programs of the Collaborative, the Solano Nurse-Family Partnership Program, has grown to serve more than 250 families since March 2010. Since the program’s inception 137 babies have been born and 29 clients graduated from the two-year program in 2012-2013. Because the program’s success, the federal Administration for Children and Families changed the funding structure from a pilot project to an ongoing program and worked with local BabyFirst partners to implement an additional evidenced-based home visiting program with the following positive outcomes:
o 93% of infants born at optimum/healthy birth weight
o 97% of women initiated breast feeding and 35% were still breast feeding at 12 months
o 100% of children were up to date on immunizations at 24 months.
· Mental Health Consumers Attaining Self-Sufficiency: Members of the community, mental health consumers and administrators jointly planned new programs under the Mental Health Services Act that allowed removing mental health consumers from locked sub-acute mental health institutions and placing them in augmented board-and-care homes where they can work toward self-sufficiency and be members of their Vallejo community. A close-knit team supports consumers using a Full Service Partnership (FSP) model that utilizes social and medical services to improve their lives through recovery and rehabilitation.
· Cultural Competency Expands in Vallejo Clinic: The addition of a full-time bilingual and bicultural mental health clinician to provide direct clinical services to clients and their families reflects the fact that Vallejo is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. This new staff member serves as a cultural broker and liaison to other clinicians with bicultural clients. This has increased not only the cultural but also the clinical panel of services. The clinic added a new kind of service called Depression Treatment Quality Improvement, an evidence-based practice that helps children age 12 to 25 using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Children develop skills through education, learning of each other’s cultural backgrounds and a “mood diary” journal. The more advanced children help the others in group meetings, fostering a sense of community among these children. In addition, in an effort to promote enhanced cultural awareness and sensitivity, staff combined clinical practice and cultural awareness with the attendance of a Health Equity and Cultural Competence Training that provided guidance for the provision of culturally appropriate services to Solano’s diverse client population.
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· Active Recruitment Efforts: Human Resources completed 63 recruitments, processed 4,394 job applications, filled 515 positions, which included 173 new hires, 168 promotions, 55 rehires and 114 transfers and 5 voluntary demotions. The department expanded the compensation information available online to include benefit summaries that prospective candidates could review. The department’s activities reflect the work being accomplished by other County departments. Human Resources worked closely with Health and Social Services to hire, train and staff the new Solano CHOICE and other programs associated with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
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· Library Adds Free Museum Passes: In May, the Library launched Discover and Go, a program that provides free and discounted passes for Bay Area museums. Library card holders reserve and print their passes from any computer, no pick up or return is necessary. Representing a diversity of subjects, 57 Bay Area museums and cultural institutions participate in the program, including popular destinations such as the Exploratorium, the California Academy of Science and the Asian Art Museum. Participating venues determine the amount of discounts and the number of passes they make available. Discover and Go is made possible through a partnership with Contra Costa County Library.
· Library Tutors Online, On Demand: Students in grades K-12 and community college used the Library’s online tutoring program, Tutor.com, in 10,586 free tutoring sessions in FY2012/13. Professional tutors provide help with math, science, English, social studies and writing via the Library’s website. The service is free and available anywhere with an Internet connection, 1 to 10 p.m. daily. Tutors who speak Spanish are also available through Tutor.com. In addition to the online service, the Library provides afterschool homework help in each of its eight branches with the aide of high school student volunteers.
· Children Meet Award Winning Author: The sixth annual Solano Kids Read program introduced 852 school children to Newbery Award winner Susan Patron and her book, The Higher Power of Lucky. Solano Kids Read, funded in part by the Solano County Library Foundation, is a program in which librarians work closely with local schools to bring nationally celebrated authors to Solano County Library. With a goal of providing new and engaging experiences for young readers, librarians work with teachers to deliver free class sets of books for reading and discussion. Authors meet with children, sign books and discuss reading and the process of writing.
· Library Keeps Kids Reading at Grade Level: In an effort to stem the “summer slide” in reading ability that is experienced by children who do not read during the summer months, the Library conducted its annual summer reading program, Dig Into Reading for children and Beneath the Surface for teens. A total of 4,694 children and teens registered for the free programs. Attendance at 162 free events for children and teens reached 13,745.
· Downloading Electronic Books: Customers were able to download directly to the device of their choice a growing collection of popular e-books and audio books, with 10,493 visits to the Library’s e-book partner Overdrive and 13,397 e-book checkouts this fiscal year. As with printed books, borrowing is free. Charges for overdue and lost items are unnecessary because e-books are automatically returned once the borrowing period is complete.
· By The Numbers:
o 1,822,463 checkout transactions via self-charge machines, 74% of total checkouts of the year.
o 610,747 visits from customers to the virtual library at solanolibrary.com
o 1,778,246 patron visits to the 8 County libraries
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· Centers for Positive Change: The Adult Division of Probation progressed with several key initiatives in fulfillment of the Solano County Public Safety Realignment Act Implementation Plan. A focal point of this advancement centered on the development of Centers for Positive Change in both Vallejo and Fairfield to provide comprehensive case management and services to probationers on active supervision. The services offered include intensive and intermediate drug and alcohol treatment, short-term mental health counseling, “Thinking for a Change” and “Reasoning and Rehabilitation II” cognitive behavioral groups, job readiness and job development services, and vocational training programs.
· Positive Youth Justice Initiative: In October 2012, the Sierra Health Foundation’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative granted $75,000 to the Vallejo School District to develop a plan to provide services to crossover youth – youth who have had prior involvement in the child welfare system and are currently engaged in the juvenile justice system. The 12-month planning phase included collaboration with Probation, Health & Social Services, Office of Education, Solano County Superior Court and several local non-profit agencies. At the culmination of this year-long multi-agency collaboration, the Vallejo School District was selected as one of only four jurisdictions to receive the full 24-month grant implementation award of $400,000, enabling the launch of their Positive Youth Justice Initiative program in November 2013.
· Collection of Victim Restitution: The Probation Department is dedicated to assisting victims of crime. Probation Officers worked in concert with the staff in the Collections Unit to facilitate the collection of restitution from offenders. They collected nearly $241,000 in FY2012/13. A portion of the monies collected was also sent to the California Victim Compensation Board.
· Mural Project- “Make Your Next Step Your Best”: Solano County’s Juvenile Detention Facility celebrated the completion of a 44-foot thematic mural created by a Solano Community College art class. The summer course, entitled Mural Painting: History, Community, Practice, focused on the vital role that murals play within a community. With insight from staff and several youths in the facility, Solano College students designed a mural to address this community’s diverse needs and concerns. The mural “Make Your Next Step Your Best” speaks to the risks and challenges people face in moving through life. Figures in the mural make their way through a surreal landscape, first walking a tightrope, then finding their way to more solid ground. The figures are faced with different paths and different doorways. They try to keep their balance, encouraged (and sometimes distracted) by the birds and butterfly, which make balancing look so easy. The mural underscores the importance of choices, the difficulty in keeping balance in life, and the desire to move forward.
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· Upgraded to Online Permit System: Resource Management completed the permitting software upgrade to Accela Automation from Accela Permits Plus. This new platform allows the department to connect government services to citizens 24/7, mobilize its inspection workforce and integrate permitting to GIS information assets, reducing staff time and increasing customer satisfaction. The upgrade to Accela Automation will create a more transparent process, both internally and to customers, and will allow staff to be more efficient. The department will be able to:
o Allow customers to access permit information online
o In many cases eliminate the need to travel to County offices
o Provide real time information available 24/7
o Increase efficiency of County employees by integrating review processes
o Allow better analysis of data with integration of GIS
o Provide the availability of permit information to inspectors while in the field
This project aligns with the County’s strategic initiatives and priorities by using automation and technology to improve the productivity of County employees. It also enables the customer’s easier access to permit information.
· Planning Projects Completed: The efforts of the Planning Division culminated with the Board of Supervisors adopting the Northeast Dixon Agriculture Industrial Strategic Plan and a comprehensive update of the zoning regulations. The division also completed the Lake Herman Quarry expansion project Environmental Impact Report for public review.
· Safe Hand Washing Practices Campaign: The Board of Supervisors declared September 2013 as Food Safety Education Month and Sept. 16 to 20 as Clean Hands Week. During the month the Environmental Health Division performed over 400 inspections at restaurants to observe their hand washing procedures. Food service operators were provided educational handouts and posters to remind them of proper hand washing practices to ensure retail food protection to the residents and visitors to Solano County. Solano County Public Health Services Division also participated by distributing brochures during home visits and displaying fliers at clinics and WIC offices on proper hand washing techniques.
· Help Businesses Learn New Hazardous Materials Reporting System: 440 Solano County businesses participated in free workshops or received free remote or on-site assistance from training contractors provided by the Environmental Health Services Division regarding the state’s new mandated web-based hazardous materials inventory reporting system. The Environmental Health Division also distributed informational CDs to 1,600 businesses and spent 1,140 hours assisting business operators on using the state’s new reporting system.
Winters Bridge Conceptual Drawing
· Roads and Bridges: The largest bridge project undertaken by the County started in September—a five-span concrete bridge nearly 475 feet long and 41 feet wide, with two full traffic lanes. The $12.2 million project will replace the existing structurally deficient Winters Road Bridge. A temporary bridge is being constructed to carry traffic across the Putah Creek until the new bridge is completed in the spring of 2016. After two seasons of construction work, the Suisun Valley Road Bridge replacement project and the Vacaville-Dixon Bike Route Phase 5 were completed. In addition, Public Works completed $4.6 million in road maintenance work by overlaying four miles of road, chip sealing 40 miles of road, microsurfacing six miles of road, and performing base failure repair on seven miles of road. This overall effort earned Solano County a Project Delivery Award from the Solano Transportation Authority. The County’s Pavement Condition Index also rose from a 68 to a 71 due to an ongoing in-house chip seal program, use of new chip seal technologies, and improved maintenance management. Public Works was awarded $2.3 million in safety grants to enhance Pleasants Valley Road, Midway Road, Sievers Road and replace various guardrails throughout the county in 2014.
· Energy Savings Assistance: The Building and Safety Services Division worked with PG&E over the year to create and implement an Energy Savings Assistance Program for income-qualified renters and homeowners with lower permit fees and an expedited permit issuance process.
· Online Park Reservations: The Reserving campsites and group picnic pads at Lake Solano and Sandy Beach parks became a few clicks away in January with the implementation of the online CAMAVA (CAmping, MArina, VAcation) reservation system. In the first six months, park visitors made 3,078 reservations to gain access to 100 campsites at two campgrounds, five group picnic areas, a youth group campground and the Lake Solano Nature Center. Visitors can browse maps and see pictures of the available campsites and picnic areas before making a selection and paying fees online with a debit or credit card.
· Renovated Campsites: Parks renovated 27 of the 58 campsites at Lake Solano County Park by replacing picnic tables and campfire rings and removing unnecessary pavement to provide improved tenting areas.
· Installed Automatic Pay Machine: Parks installed a new automatic pay machine at the Belden’s Landing boat launch that accepts both cash and credit cards. The machine has proven to be reliable, easy to use and theft-resistant. Based on the success of this machine, plans are in the works to install additional machines at Sandy Beach, Lake Solano and Lynch Canyon Open Space Parks in the next couple years.
· Surveyed Park Users: Parks conducted a survey of more than 450 park users to help refine its future marketing and promotional efforts. The marketing plan charts a course to address shortcomings in public awareness of park services and amenities, develops consistent brand messaging and a logo, updates public brochures and website content, and seeks to build partnership opportunities for providing park services in the County.
· By the Numbers:
o Revised the Flood Plain Management Plan so Solano County residents can continue to receive a 15% or better discount in their flood insurance premiums.
o 718 building permits issued by the Building and Safety Services Division. 18 permits were for new primary single family dwelling units and six were for new secondary dwelling units.
o 4,822 building permit inspections conducted by the Building and Safety Services Division
o 264 complaints received by Code Compliance regarding land use violations, vehicle abatement and building code violations over this last reporting period: 95 for building without a permit, 49 for junk and debris, 24 for land use violations, 21 for vehicle abatement, and 26 for substandard structures or buildings.
o 3,108 routine inspections performed at retail food facilities to ensure safe food handling and service practices are being implemented.
o 1,747 routine inspections performed at businesses with hazardous materials/wastes to ensure proper handling, storage and disposal.
o 368 routine inspections performed at businesses that generate waste tires to ensure proper storage and disposal.
o 340 routine inspections performed at public pools to ensure water quality and safety
o 46 routine inspections at body art facilities to ensure sanitation standards are met
o 30 permits or registrations issued for cottage food facilities
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· No. 1 in Dollars per Veteran: The County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) serves more than 40,000 veterans and close to 60,000 dependents of veterans in Solano County. The office filed more than 4,200 claims for veterans and their dependents resulting in more than $12 million in new federal dollars coming into the pockets of veterans and their families. This is a 33% increase over past years. Outreach is the key to the success. Community presentations are given at least once or twice a week to community and civic groups. Home visits are made to shut-in veterans and senior centers and assisted living facilities are visited regularly. Jail visits are made weekly to help incarcerated veterans get into the treatment programs they need to reduce and prevent recidivism and help them restore themselves to the honorable status they once had in the military. The Veterans ID Card project launched in late 2012 has resulted in over 1,400 veterans visiting the County Veterans Services Office in Fairfield to get an ID card that enables them to more easily access discounts from local retailers. This interaction resulted in over 200 new claims for veterans’ benefits and over 100 veterans getting enrolled into the VA healthcare system. As a result of innovative outreach efforts, the County was recognized as a leader in procuring funding and benefits for veterans – the No. 1 California county in terms of dollars per veteran paid at nearly $127 million in combined benefits in 2012.
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· New Explorer Cadet Program: The Solano County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services moved forward with the creation of its new Explorer Cadet Program. The first round of interviews for kids has been completed and background checks are in progress while the adult leadership is being finalized. Once complete the cadet program will begin its basic training program. Two squads – one squad of law enforcement and one squad of Search and Rescue cadets – will be formed. Both will undertake a rigorous training program and learn about all areas of the public safety system, the Sheriff's Office, the Office of Emergency Services as well as a physical conditioning program. Upon completion of the basic training, successful cadets will move on to their specialty training in either the Search and Rescue "Boot Camp" or the ongoing Law Enforcement basic training and an immersion into the various functions performed by the Sheriff, including Patrol, Marine Patrol, Jail Operations, Investigations, Dispatch, the Court System, and Animal Control.
· Marine Patrol Receives New SAFE Boat: The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Bureau received a new boat in 2013 – a 29-foot Defender Class SAFE boat with state-of-the-art technology on board. The SAFE boat is equipped with two 300 horse power engines, a full walk around cabin, and has the capability to carry up to 16 people in an emergency. The $317,000 boat was purchased using a federal port security grant sponsored the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As part of the grant, the SAFE boat will also be used to protect high-value homeland security targets, including bridges, the deep water channel, and oil refineries. The SAFE boat will also be used to patrol the delta and waterways within Solano County. The Marine Patrol Bureau received training from U.S. Coast Guard and is qualified to assist the Coast Guard with protection and escort details.
· New Detention Facility Set to Open in 2014: A new 365-bed, maximum security jail facility is under construction at 2450 Claybank Road in Fairfield thanks primarily to state AB900 funding. This facility is being built with AB 900 grant funding and is expected to come online in late Spring 2014. The Board of Supervisor approved naming the new detention facility The Stanton Correctional Facility in honor of the more than one century of service with the Sheriff’s Office from the Stanton family: former Sheriff Gary Stanton, his father Robert Stanton and his uncle William L Stanton.
· Technology Big Part of New Facility: The Sheriff’s Office is working with Advanced Technology Information Management System (ATIMS) to implement a new web-based Jail Management Software (JMS) system. The Sheriff is using AB 900 funding to replace the existing Inmate Management System (IMS) that has been in use since 1999. The ATIMS software will integrate the use of new technologies to make the facilities safer, easier to manage and more operationally efficient. Some of the new technologies utilized with this software include biometric identification, electronic signature, document scanning, the ability to attach files to an inmate record and touchscreen kiosks. The ATIMS system will also integrate with the security electronics system at the new facility and provide vital inmate information to staff using touchscreen control panels and Personal Data Assistants (PDA). The facility will become the visitation center for all Sheriff’s Office jails with the implementation of a video visitation system. It is expected that this video system will be safer for both inmates and staff and allow for additional visiting for inmates.
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UC Cooperative Extension
· 4-H Youth Development:
o The 4-H Youth Development Program conducted more than 25 youth-oriented educational workshops and events on a diversity of topics that help youth develop life, leadership, vocational and safety skills. More than 1,000 Solano County youth and adults participated in these educational opportunities
o Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program Staff trained 36 high school teens in the delivery of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) reaching 1,442 elementary school students in out-of-school settings and after school programs serving the Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Vallejo communities.
o 4-H Youth Development Program staff recruited and trained 10 high school 4-H teens to assess how organizations (clubs, schools, etc.) can change policies that encourage the consumption of non-sugary beverages. The teens made presentations at the Solano County Fair, 4-H club meetings, events and State 4-H Leadership Conference. 4-H teens worked with two 4-H clubs to develop timelines and strategies leading to adoption and implementation of new written organization beverage practices and standards.
· UCCE Master Gardener:
o The Master Gardener program, with a team of over 110 Master Gardener volunteers, have held numerous educational workshops on appropriate practices in gardening, landscaping, composting, vermiculture and many more reaching over 11,800 Solano County citizens.
o In FY2012/13 Master Gardeners volunteered 5,279 hours on educational projects and events with a value of $131,975 to Solano County communities.
· Agriculture Programs:
o UCCE Livestock & Natural Resources Program conducted a research project on rangeland weed control and range improvement practices and co-authored a peer-reviewed article on appropriate grazing management to enhance native perennial grasses.
- UCCE Vegetable Crops Program conducted important crop research on: 1) Nutrient management for processing tomato with Dixon area growers that demonstrated a 20% yield increase without compromising fruit quality, and 2) a field study on Fusarium wilt, a devastating soil borne disease of tomatoes.
- UCCE Pest Management / Field Crops Program worked with Solano County growers to: 1) develop plans for water quality protection in irrigation runoff which has led to improved water quality with reduced levels of organophosphates in surface waters, and 2) develop honey bee friendly insecticide application practices for onion seed production that has increased yields.
- UCCE Pest Management / Field Crops Program collaborated with the Solano County Resource Conservation District on a project to promote hedgerows on farms for enhancing pollination and pest control, which is funded by a $124,000 grant from the Department of Pesticide Regulation.