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County looks back at 2012
San Bernardino County recently released its highlights from each month in 2012. Here’s an excerpt on what the county had to say about last year on issues that affect the High Desert.
• The clerk of the Board of Supervisors added a search function to its agenda system, which allows the public to easily research matters that have come before the board, such as contracts and reports that date back to June 25, 1996. The agenda search can be found at http://cob-sire.sbcounty.gov/sirepub/.
• The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reduce the benefits of board members by nearly 40 percent, making the board member compensation comparable to Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties.
• The Lisa Project was launched, bringing interactive and multisensory awareness to child abuse and neglect. The three-month exhibition was stationed at the Mall of Victor Valley, Victoria Gardens and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
• A combination of funding for new and renewed project grants awarded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development provided the county with more than $7 million to furnish transitional and permanent housing, as well as other supportive services to homeless individuals and families who might otherwise be living on the streets.
• The Department of Public Health opened the Hesperia Health Center as a Federally Qualified Health Center, which increased access to medical services. Patients can receive health screenings, referral services, immunizations, management of acute and chronic diseases, and preventive health education.
• The San Bernardino County district attorney announced the launch of a new website that allows users to have access to current news and provides a “frequently asked questions” section and access to various services by way of an “action center” located on the home page.
• For the sixth year in a row, the county was honored for producing one of the best government budget documents in North America by receiving the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. To receive the budget award, the county had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The budgets can be viewed on a newly created county budget website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/cao/budget/.
• The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $4 billion county budget based on achieving the Countywide Vision. The 2012-13 budget was $28.8 million less than the 2011-12 budget, closed a projected $33.2 million shortfall and accomplished this while setting aside $16.3 million for contingencies and put the county on track to eliminate a five-year gap of $91.5 million by including $40.3 million in savings.
• The Division of Environmental Health Services conducted presentations during the peak of the West Nile Virus season in areas where it was most prevalent.
• The county won 15 Achievement Awards for 2012 from the National Association of Counties. Only nine of California’s 58 counties were honored in 2012.
• More than 1,000 participants received resources and education at Recovery Happens Month events hosted by the Department of Behavioral Health and its contracted Alcohol and Drug Service partners. Recovery Month spreads the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can — and do — recover.
• In a little more than a year since it opened, the Transitional Assistance Department's Customer Service Centers have assisted more than 1 million customers. There are two Customer Service Center sites, one in San Bernardino and one in Hesperia.
• Millions of Californians participated in the Great California ShakeOut, the largest earthquake drill in history, which happened at 10:18 a.m. on Oct. 18. The ShakeOut is organized to inspire Californians to get ready for big earthquakes and practice how to protect themselves when it happens.
• The County Probation Department’s efforts to cope with the State Prison Realignment plan were hailed as one of the top programs in the state by the California State Association of Counties and one of the top programs in the country by the National Association of Counties. October marked the first full year of Assembly Bill 109 operations for the county, which realigned certain offenders who had not been convicted of serious, sexual or violent felonies from state to county jurisdiction. This meant that a projected 6,700 additional offenders may fall under Probation Department jurisdiction, and in response the department hired and trained 107 additional officers, added several probation units and programs, and opened three adult day reporting centers in the county, which contributed to a reduction of the overall county recidivism rate from 82.5 percent to approximately 7 percent.
• Supervisors Josie Gonzales, Robert Lovingood and James Ramos began new four year terms on the Board of Supervisors following Oath of Office ceremonies at the County Government Center.
• The Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed Assistant Sheriff John McMahon to fill the unexpired term of Sheriff Rod Hoops, who planned to retire at the end of December.
• Under a contract unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission will enforce the county’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, which went into effect on Jan. 1. The county is the first local government agency to contract with the FPPC for enforcement of a local reform ordinance.