Editor’s Note: Below is an excerpt from the State of the County, delivered on Jan. 24, 2017. To see the full speech, please visit www.aroundtularecounty.com.
Working together, we have achieved many great accomplishments in 2016. We remained fiscally sound and passed a balanced budget that provided ample funding to all county departments, made necessary salary adjustments, and increased our financial reserves. This Board will remain dedicated to fiscal responsibility and living within our means, regardless of Federal and State budget impacts.
As Chairman in 2017, I plan to move Tulare County down a path towards a sustainable future for a strong quality of life for the people of Tulare County.
I will share some strategies including the proposal of a financial plan and ways in continuing economic development efforts to combat these potential challenges. In addition, I will touch on some work of our various County Departments and what you can expect to see in 2017.
In maintaining the Board’s focus on fiscal responsibility, I would like this Board to consider the adoption of a Strategic Financing Plan to address current and future financial challenges that will serve the best interests of the residents of Tulare County.
This proposed strategic financing plan should prudently address the following key components:
(1)Potential reorganization of the County’s financial services departments;
(2)Construction, operational staffing and provision of health services for the criminal justice and public safety facilities now under construction;
(3)Development of transportation improvements and infrastructure to better our rural communities, roads, bridges, water facilities, wastewater facilities, flood control facilities, and parks;
(4) Public employee compensation including health benefits, retirement and salary; and
(5) Structural balancing of key departmental budgets that are routinely in deficit.
This Board will continue to promote economic development within Tulare County. This means the County will seek to guide, where feasible, economic development by creating the conditions under which business development can thrive. This includes maintaining a business friendly permit process, a reasonable permit fee structure, and the expeditious construction of public improvements and infrastructure.
Looking ahead, an important part of the County’s ongoing economic development program will be to approve a “Target Marketing Plan.” I would request the CAO return to this Board later this year with a proposed Target Marketing Plan designed to promote economic development on a countywide basis.
I want to share with all of you some of the projects and programs we expect to turn out this year. First off, I would like to start with the reoccurrence of evening meetings of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors this year. Five Board meetings in 2017 will be held during the evening hours and will be located throughout the County, one in each Supervisorial District.
I would also like to mention my anticipation of the results of the efforts put forward by various newly constituted Advisory Committees. The Homeless Task Force will have a busy year collaborating with all jurisdictions in the County to address the many issues surrounding homelessness. The Parks Advisory Committee and the Animal Services Advisory Committee will be equally active helping to guide the operation/policy of their respective subject areas.
This Board is dedicated to laying the groundwork for a viable future for Tulare County. We plan to look ahead and not only address the challenges approaching us tomorrow, but also prepare for the obstacles we expect will head our way in the years to come. We continue down the path the Board has historically traveled upon and we will strive to lay the foundation for a sustainable future.