Dear Residents of Solano County -
On behalf of the Solano County Board of Supervisors and County staff, we are pleased to present our 2017 annual report. While this year may have presented some significant challenges—record rainfall and flooding, health disease outbreaks, agricultural pests and wildfires of unprecedented size—2017 was another exceptional year for our community.
This year we adopted our first billion-dollar budget. Reaching this milestone, we are able to maintain a balanced budget while seeking out and investing in programs and services that benefit our residents, their families, local businesses and visitors. This approach addresses the Board’s strategic priorities while maintaining fiscally prudent management policies.
Additionally, the County is working collaboratively with state and local agencies to protect some of our most valuable resources by forming a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA). This allows us to continue managing our valuable water resources at the local level. And with the passing of State Senate Bill 1, the “Road Repair and Accountability Act,” the County will receive additional state funding to help maintain local transportation and infrastructure projects, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone who travels within Solano County.
Fueled by a growing tourism market and gradual shift in consumer spending from retail to restaurants there has been rapid growth in the County’s leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors. Further, as the State’s economy continues to improve, we have seen higher employment in all seven Solano County cities in the addition of 2,000 new jobs along with stronger purchasing power.
As we continue working to grow our local economy, we are making strategic investments in the infrastructure, technology and people. Our public safety departments broke ground on the new vocational training facility (SB 1022 project), designed to improve job training and vocational skills of incarcerated individuals upon release. Our libraries used social media to expand the number of children and adults participating in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities. Our health staff, thanks to a generous donation from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, is improving access to healthy food for families. Our local farmers will benefit from a new Farmbudsman—dedicated to connecting them with resources and navigating the permitting and regulatory process.
As we close the book on 2017 we can take pride in a long list of accomplishments—far too many to list here—and we look toward the future proudly declaring that we will continue to create, administer and improve the programs and services that make Solano County a great place to live, learn, work and play.
Birgitta E. Corsello, Solano County Administrator
John M. Vasquez, Chair, Solano County Board of Supervisors
--- IMPROVING OUR QUALITY OF LIFE ---
PARTNERSHIP TO PROMOTE HEALTHY OUTCOMES
In October, District One Supervisor Erin Hannigan’s Office facilitated a partnership between Solano County Health and Social Services and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation (Cache Creek) to establish a $1 million-dollar agreement to promote healthy outcomes and support families in need. Some of the funding will go specifically to acquire a Mobile Food Pharmacy, a commercial refrigerated truck that will store and distribute healthy food and recipes to patients who are diagnosed with, or are at risk for chronic health conditions.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - FUN FOR KIDS & EVERYONE
The Solano County Library was selected as one of 75 libraries nationwide to participate in the NASA @ My Libraries Imitative – a grant funded program designed to increase and enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming for kids and everyone with a curious mind. The 18-month long project includes Library staff receiving special training and materials to lead the public in fun and exciting STEM activities. More than 700 residents participated in the pre-lunar eclipse program in August.
SETTING KIDS UP EARLY TO SUCCEED IN SCHOOL
Pre-Kindergarten Academies provide quality early childhood experiences for children entering kindergarten who have not had prior pre-school experience. These children are considered “high-risk” because of poverty, remoteness, family violence and / or special needs. First 5 Solano worked with multiple school districts throughout the County, helping 392 children successfully complete the program. At the end of the 2016 Pre-K Academies, 78 percent of students were ready or nearly ready to attend school next year.
REFINANCING COUNTY DEBT SAVES TAXPAYERS MILLIONS
In 2017, Solano County Administrator’s Debt Advisory Committee recommended that the Board of Supervisors authorize the refunding of 2007 Certificates of Participation – originally secured to finance construction of several structures including the County Administration Center, parking structure, Probation offices and other County facilities – valued at $84.2 million. The County refinanced the bonds in the fall, saving taxpayers $20.8 million over the remaining term of the certificates.
KEEPING SOLANO COUNTY COMPETITIVE
Solano County, in partnership with the Solano Economic Development Corporation, (EDC) continued work on the Moving Solano Forward Campaign, helping local businesses locate, grow and access resources critical within the County. The campaign, in partnership with the Help in Recruiting and Retaining Employees (HIRRE) concept, gives local job seekers access to the training and skills necessary to get hired on with these companies - establishing and maintaining a healthy and competitive economy for all.
PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY FROM DISEASE
The County’s Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program, a division of the Solano County Health and Social Services Public Health division, evaluated 499 county residents for TB disease and provided intensive case management to 24 patients with active TB. A contact investigation was conducted at Armijo High School involving the evaluation and testing of more than 300 students and faculty who were identified as exposed to TB.
GUARDING OUR AGRICULTURAL FROM PESTS
The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office protects Solano County’s agricultural and natural resources by trapping and addressing invasive pests. In the late summertime of 2017, Ag field surveyors found an infestation of Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) in the Fairfield and Suisun area. The Medfly can destroy more than 250 types of fruits and vegetables, causing severe losses in California agricultural production, impacting exports and backyard gardens. To contain and prevent the spread of Medflies, a regulatory quarantine was enacted. Fruit was removed in hot-spot areas and more than 100 million sterile Medflys were released to disrupt the reproduction life cycle of the invasive pest.
HEALTHY STORE MAKEOVERS
To date, seven convenience stores across Solano County have undergone “healthy store makeovers,” whereas store owners place bottled water, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and healthy snacks up front at the checkout – making it easier for customers to make healthier choices. Coordinated by the County’s Health and Social Services Department, Health Promotion and Community Wellness Bureau, store owners are excited to offer healthier options, in addition to making their stores more appealing to what people really want to buy.
SPENDING TIME IN NATURE
The Department of Resource Management, County Parks division, manages approximately 1,200 acres of parks and open space across Solano County. In 2017, more than 192,000 residents and visitors enjoyed healthy living and outdoor activities, including the Winters Salmon Festival, the U.S. Forest Service Visions of the Wild, Lynch Canyon’s Kite Festival, Trail Run and Coast and Creek Cleanup. People spent time with their friends and families outdoors, enjoying camping, boating, fishing, hiking, swimming and many other recreational activities in Solano County’s four parks.
WORKING TO DEVELOP A REGIONAL PARKS DISTRICT
The Department of Resource Management, Planning Services Division continued its work on the development of a County-wide park system, including conducting community outreach, working with legislators and identifying potential funding sources. In 2017 Senator Bill Dodd and Assembly Members Tim Grayson and Jim Frazier assisted the County by introducing and carrying legislation for Senate Bill 365 – the formation of a regional park and open space district. The bill, approved by the state legislature and Governor Brown, allows the process for the creation of a regional park and open space district in Solano County to become one-step closer to reality.
CONNECTING VETERANS TO THEIR BENEFITS
Solano County is home to more than 33,000 veterans and 60,000 of their dependents. The County’s Veterans Service Office (VSO) helps veterans and their families get connected to the benefits they’ve earned. In 2017, the VSO filed 6,000+ claims for benefits, resulting in more than $215 million dollars in pension and compensation claims. Veterans access the VSO for help with a variety of benefit claims, including college tuition assistance, health and medical care, dependent assistance, injury claims and legal counsel.
CREATING A ONE-STOP-RESOURCE FOR SENIORS
SolanoCares4Seniors(.com) connects seniors, their families and service providers to up-to-date information about health topics, events and local services. Coordinated by the Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, Older and Disabled Adult Services, the site enables seniors to get involved in community events and physical activities while connecting them to resources like housing, medical services, food programs and transportation.
CELEBRATING OUR OLDEST LIVING RESIDENTS
Each fall, the Solano County Board of Supervisors, in partnership with the Solano County Department of Health and Social Services and the Senior Coalition of Solano County, celebrates with some of our oldest living residents and their families to ask about their pearls of wisdom on living to 100 years and beyond. The County recognized 47 centenarians at the 11th annual centenarian commemoration event this fall, representing more than 4,760 combined years of life experience.
--- STEWARDSHIP OF OUR COMMUNITY ---
HELPING CHILDREN GET THE BENEFITS THEY DESERVE
Child Support Services provides free paternity testing to families that qualify. By using DNA and genetic testing, the department successfully established paternity for 272 children in 2017. Once paternity is legally established, children are entitled to financial support from the non-custodial parent, as well as medical, life insurance and social security benefits. Establishing paternity is critical to helping children get financial support they need to thrive.
MAKING AIR TRAVEL SAFE WHILE PRESERVING THE ENVIRONMENT
The Nut Tree Airport in collaboration with the City of Vacaville, the Solano County Water Agency, Solano Community College and the American Center for Aviation and Freedom successfully removed large groves of non-native eucalyptus trees near the airport’s runway – improving visibility and safety for all aircraft. To mitigate the environmental impact of removing trees, more than 3,000 native trees were planted in a habitat near Winters. The California State Association of Counties awarded the project the Implementation of New Risk Management programs because of the removal.
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR AT-RISK POPULATIONS
The Probation Department, in partnership with Leaders in Community Alternatives, has been focused on expanding and enhancing employment opportunities for justice involved individuals. By providing at-risk populations access to vocational services, including resume writing, interviewing skills, networking and subsidized employment opportunities, they are helping to reduce recidivism rates County-wide. In 2017, 185 people participated in the County sponsored education and work program – 116 of whom were gainfully employed by the end.
CONNECTING VULNERABLE POPULATIONS TO SERVICES
The Department of Health and Social Services, Behavioral Health division manages the Accessible Resources and Care for the Homeless (ARCH) program in Solano County. In 2017 the program successfully helped homeless individuals gain access to mental health treatment, health care, government assistance and housing resources. By continuing to establish partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, schools and community partners, ARCH connects vulnerable populations with the programs and services they need.
COORDINATING THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE FOR THE ATLAS FIRE
More than 51,600 acres burned in Solano County between October 9 and 17 in the northern California wildfires. The Solano County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services and Cal Fire coordinated the public safety response with help from all County departments during the Atlas peak fire storm. Working together, the departments managed activities including coordination of evacuations, medical response, emergency shelters for people and large animals, public information, volunteer management and public safety. More than 750 homes were evacuated and protected, with 500 residents taking temporary shelter at Solano Community College and 550 large animals were housed at the Solano County Fairgrounds. The County used a variety of communication platforms – including the Sheriff’s Facebook and Twitter social media portals (@SolanoSheriff) – to reach more than 1 million people world-wide, helping keep them safe and informed during the fires.
KEEPING ROADWAYS SAFE
The winter of 2017 in California and Solano County was one of the wettest on record. Rainstorms exceeded creeks and drainage canals, flooding local roads, downed trees, causing mudslides and road wash-outs. The Department of Resource Management, Public Works Engineering and Road Operations divisions worked around the clock to provide 24-hour assistance alongside emergency responders. Crews posted flood advisory signs, removed fallen trees, cleared mudslides and debris from clogged streams and worked with County residents, keeping them safe.
CONNECTING VOLUNTEERS TO LOCAL DAY OF SERVICE EVENTS
The County of Solano’s Volunteer Program, in partnership with the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) is connecting those seeking volunteer opportunities with a chance to serve our community. In 2017 the County’s volunteer program hosted two Day of Service events, including the cleanup and revival of the Mare Island Cemetery and distribution of blankets and holiday cards to seniors with Meals on Wheels. Anyone interested in volunteering their time can visit www.SolanoVolunteers.Org for events and more information.
--- MAINTAINING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ---
ADOPTED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017/18
The Revenues by Source chart describes the sources of governmental funds used to finance the FY 2017/18 budget. The County’s single largest revenue source is intergovernmental revenue from the 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.
ACCOLADES FOR EXCELLENCE IN FISCAL REPORTING
For the 15th 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, 2016.