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Dear Residents of Solano County -
We’re pleased to report that 2016 was another exceptional year. We partnered with local businesses to create healthier food options, hosted a historic election cycle and was recognized for major transportation projects – just to name a few.
Over the summer, the County’s Health and Social Services, Public Health Division partnered with four local convenience stores as part of a healthy store makeover program. The stores agreed to stock more fruits and vegetables and low calorie and no-sugar drinks, creating access to healthier food choices for customers.
On Election Day the County’s Registrar of Voters office, including 1,200 poll workers, assisted more than 167,000 voters cast their ballots. A total of 112,862 vote by mail ballots were received, smashing the previous record of 88,082 in 2012. Although there was a significant number of local, state and national contests, everything was completed in a timely manner with no disputes or recounts.
The County received three major transportation award recognitions from the Solano Transportation Authority (STA), including Transportation for Sustainable Communities, Project Delivery and Agency of the Year Award. The awards are a formal recognition of how much the County values building and maintaining high-quality, safe and reliable roads and transportation infrastructure.
As we close the chapter on 2016, we can take pride in a long list of accomplishments - far too many to mention in this letter - including the graduation of inmates with their high school diplomas, serving nearly double the state average when it comes to our veteran population, making significant headway on the establishment of a regional park district, expanding our marine patrol efforts on the Delta and saying goodbye to Supervisor Linda Seifert while welcoming newcomer Supervisor Elect Monica Brown.
Looking toward the future, we can proudly say that we continue to make great strides forward, providing programs and services that make Solano County a great place to live, learn, work and play.
Improving the health and well-being of those who live and work here
Working to Eliminate Food Deserts in Solano County
On August 27, more than 450 community members, including elected officials, business leaders and health advocates met at the Solano County Fairgrounds for the first annual Food Oasis event. The event featured free food, healthy cooking demonstrations, food distribution and food storage tips. The event was successful in raising awareness of those living more than a mile away from a grocery store, limiting their access to fresh fruits and vegetables. A policy group remains active at this time to help eliminate food deserts in Solano County.
Stay & Play Center Teaches Children Valuable Skills
First 5 Solano partnered with the Solano County Library to open the first Stay and Play center at the Cordelia Library. The new center includes activities for young children to explore and play, all while learning valuable skills, such as social skills, technology and art. The center also has a computer station for parents to apply for jobs or seek community resources, including the new Career Online High School (COHS), giving adult students the opportunity to earn accredited high school diplomas and career certificates while their children are able to safely engage in age-appropriate activities.
Expanding a Growing Media Collection
The Solano County Library System continues to increase its digital presence in Solano County, giving customers access to read more books, watch more movies, listen to more music and enjoy more media on their computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, televisions and mobile devices. In 2016 the Library nearly doubled its e-book collection, expanding from 11,000 titles to more than 19,000.
Number One in Serving our Veterans
The Solano County Veteran Services Office (VSO) averages more than 60 visitors per day, making it the number one most visited VSO in the state of California. 35 percent of all veterans in Solano County receive VA benefits, nearly double the state and national average of 19 percent. With approximately 34,000 veterans and 60,000 dependents, the VSO filed more than 6,000 claims in 2016, resulting in $193 million dollars in benefits to veterans and their families in Solano County, a 10 percent increase over 2015.
Volunteers Support and Strengthen our Community
The Board of Supervisors supports and promotes community volunteerism by strengthening leadership, encouraging innovation and empowering individuals to serve in their communities. Since volunteers are an essential component to County operations, the Board approved a three-year pilot program with the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) to develop and maintain a volunteer center with opportunities in Solano County. With work beginning in December, 2016, CVNL will connect volunteers with open positions, both in County departments and local not-for-profit organizations.
Housing Support for Homeless Families
The Department of Health and Social Services, Employment & Eligibility Division is committed to helping homeless families find and maintain housing. In 2016 the Department successfully obtained several grants, including $825,000 CalWORKs Housing Support grant, $150,000 US Department of Housing and Urban Development grant and $110,000 Rapid Re-Housing Program grant. These funds provide wrap-around services for homeless families, and because of their efforts, Solano County successfully helped 185 homeless families find a safe and stable place to call home.
Streamlined Services Deliver Child Support
The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) was selected by the Solano County Superior Court to pilot and later implement an electronic e-filing system. The e-filing system allows DCSS and the Solano courts to electronically file forms back and forth to each other quickly, safely and securely. The new system has reduced the turn-around time from several days to less than 24-hours and the number of pieces of paper needed to complete forms. As a result, the streamlined system provides more timely delivery of child support payments to families.
Recovering Unclaimed Money
Ever wonder if you are owed money for an overpayment or refund you never received? Wonder no longer. The Auditor-Controller’s Office implemented an online search database to help Solano County residents search for any unclaimed money to which they may be entitled. The database currently includes more than $250,000 of unclaimed money due to Solano County residents and businesses. Unclaimed payments range from $2 to more than $30,000. This free service has helped hundreds of Solano County residents reconnect with the funds they were owed.
Expanded Services Protects At-Risk Residents
The Department of Health and Social Services, Behavioral Health Division recently received funding under Senate Bill 82 to enhance its existing system of crisis services. The funding was used to rehabilitate a property in Vallejo that formerly served women in various stages of recovery. The newly upgraded facility opened its doors in October and treats up to 15 individuals at a time with crisis residential services, which can last between two and four weeks. The new facility is anticipated to treat more than 360 individuals per year and is designed to protect some of the County’s most vulnerable and at-risk residents.
Five Keys Charter School - First High School Graduates
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office made history when four County jail inmates recently completed their high school education. Accomplished while serving out their sentences, these students made exceptional use of their time. Three men and one woman at the Claybank Detention Facility - donning black caps and gowns over their traditional jail stripes - received their high school diplomas. As the first Five Keys Charter School high school graduates, these inmates now have the basic skills necessary to make it on the outside, increasing their chance for long-term success.
Ensuring responsible and sustainable land use
County Takes Steps to Create Special Park District
After two decades of discussion, the County is one-step closer to the possible formation of a County-wide park district. On December 13, 2016 the Board of Supervisors accepted recommendations to seek special legislation to create a dependent Regional Parks and Open Space District, to continue to develop an administrative and financing plan, and to broaden community engagement and outreach efforts.
Maintain a safe community
County Parks and Facilities are Smoke Free
In 2015 the Board of Supervisors adopted the smoke-free facilities policy, making all County parks and facilities smoke-free. Since that time, the Smoke-Free Transition Team has conducted 18 smoking cessation classes for employees and the public, created smoke-free park and facilities signage and rolled out a comprehensive public outreach and educational campaign. The Board approved the reduction of designated smoking areas in December, 2016, furthering their commitment to the health and wellbeing of employees and the community by providing smoke-free parks and facilities in which to enjoy and do business.
New Boat Aids Search and Rescue Efforts
The Solano County Sheriff’s Department, Office of Emergency Services purchased a new Munson 28-foot Packman Landing Craft vessel with Homeland Security grant funds to provide much needed support along the Bay and Delta region waterways throughout Solano County. The state-of-the-art vessel increases dive team efficiency and response time, allowing for deployment of search and rescue divers directly at the location needing to be searched. The vessel also may be used for patrol of the delta waterways and the deployment of tactical teams. It is considered a regional asset and may be called upon for mutual aid to assist other counties.
Invest in and for the future
Enhancing Transportation and Supply Delivery
Travis Air Force Base is the largest employer in Solano County with an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion dollars. The base handles more cargo and passenger traffic than any other military base in the United States. The South Gate entrance is a critical entry point for supplies. Solano County, in partnership with the base, state and federal agencies, made significant improvements to the road, including a queuing lane for trucks while providing safe travel space for bicycles and vehicles. The award-winning, multi-million-dollar improvement project is a great example of a “complete street” for all users of the roadway and serves as a safe and functional area in which to operate.
Connecting our County
The Department of Resource Management, Public Works Division was awarded the 2016 Project Delivery of the Year Award by the Solano Transportation Authority (STA) for the completion of the Historic Winters Bridge replacement project. The original 420-foot long, three span concrete arch bridge, built in 1907, was in need of replacement, as it serves an important connector between Solano and Yolo Counties. The new 453-foot long, three-span reinforced bridge incorporates the architectural charm of the original bridge, provides creek viewing areas for pedestrians and adheres to twenty-first century transportation and safety standards.
Healthier Employees, Healthier Community
For the third year in a row, Solano County has earned the distinguished American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index Award for wellness in the workplace. The prestigious award is given to agencies that place a high value on employee wellness through the development and implementation of health and wellness programs. Employees enjoy fitness classes, wellness challenges, discounted gym memberships, healthy eating advice, free flu shots, ergonomic equipment demonstrations and much more. As the award indicates, when employees are healthier, they are better able to provide the programs and serves necessary for a healthier community.
Device Helps Keep Mileage Rates Fair
The Agriculture, Weights and Measures Department’s new “dynamic dynamometer” is helping make sure the next taxi ride you take is fair and accurate. In the past, a road test was used to determine how far a half-mile, three-quarters mile or mile was before the meter started charging pre-determined rates. Not only were road tests time consuming, but they could also be affected by varying road conditions, leading to wide variations depending on the vehicle. Today, a dynamic dynamometer has been installed to test vehicles like taxi’s, ambulances, patrol cars, using a calibrated roller system which counts wheel revolutions synced against vehicle mileage indicators, creating an accurate, time saving solution.
Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility
Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2016/17
The Revenues by Source chart describes the sources of governmental funds used to finance the FY 2016/17 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 14th 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, 2015.