Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Supervisors approve $13 million plan to reduce number of mentally ill in county jail

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

May is Foster Parent Recognition Month

The Contra Cost Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14 recognized May as Foster Parent Recognition Month. Supervisors’ resolution noted there are approximately 1,100 children and youngsters in foster care in the county. At the ceremony, supervisors presented the resolution to first time foster parents Patricia and Ryan Streeter of Antioch, who became the foster parents of two-month-old Samuel. The couple are the parents of their eight-year-old biological son Josiah. The supervisors’ resolution noted the importance of Foster Parent Recognition Month in Contra Costa County for “being provided with a safe, secure and stable home environment, along with the compassion and nurturing of foster relative and non-relative families….” Photo by D. Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday a $13 million multi-faceted plan that aims to detour people with mental illness who are in county jail and to relocate them in appropriate mental health facilities. Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Chief Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors the county has grant applications pending totaling about $13 million that will help the fund the recommendations from Policy Research Associates.

Supervisors accepted 13 recommendations drafted by Policy Research Associates, a Delmar, NY-based firm that conducted a conference last January with Contra Costa mental health, medical, law, political officials and other community stakeholders in attendance.

Policy Research Associates researchers Brian Case and Regina Hueter co-authored the study “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County.”

Supervisors quickly approved the Policy Research Associates report. There were no comments from the public.

Since 2015, Contra Costa County has been involved in the nationwide Stepping Up movement designed to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county jails. The county’s inmate population’s daily mental illness rate hovers around 15 percent. That is comparable with a national average of 17 percent.

“We have more critically mentally unhealthy people in our jails than in our hospitals. The question is how do we intercept these people?” asked Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, who attended the Policy Research Associates conference in January.

The 13 recommendations the supervisors adopted in the “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County,” include:

  • “Establish an Uber committee and process that allows for shared leadership, responsibility, coordination, and oversight of justice system and behavioral health innovation and reform.”
  • “Establish standardized metrics and data-sharing across county agencies to improve data-informed decision-making.”
  • “Increase county-wide deflection and diversion strategies. Explore the need for a 24-hour crisis stabilization and triage center and a mental health first responder co-responder strategy.”
  • “Further incorporate the use of peers and peer support and recovery across intercepts.”
  • “Identify ‘familiar face’ high utilizer populations to help manage costs, reduce unnecessary utilization of services while increasing individual stabilization. Develop ‘higher utilizer’ strategies.”
  • “Implement a comprehensive substance use disorder strategy: Population identification & treatment resources in the jail & community.”
  • “Examine the need for pre-trial interventions to reduce failure to appear of individuals who are booked and released.”
  • “Improve and pre-and-post-arrest diversion opportunities for the incompetent to stand trial populations.”
  • “Review and address problems solving court criteria to align with national best practice
  • “Increase equity and access to services regardless of AB 109 funding.”
  • “Improve jail-based services and transition planning to reduce recidivism and improve health and other outcomes for detained or jailed individuals.”
  • “Continue to build probation Best Practices, training, and coordination to reduce technical violations and probation revocations.”
  • “Work with Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and the state of California to establish an agreement that allows parolees to access Medi-Cal and receive county services.”

Supervisors also approved the following consent calendar items:

Danville Blvd.-Orchard Court Roadway Project

Supervisors approved a $375,000 Public Works contract with Quincy Engineering Inc. for civil engineering services for the Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court Complete Streets Improvement Project to be completed by March 31, 2021. The road project includes the construction of a roundabout at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court to reduce speeds and improve pedestrian crossing. The project also includes the restriping of the roadway and lane reconfiguration and storm drain modifications, landscaping, storm water treatment, signage, utility adjustments and changes to existing roadside features.

Emergency Driving Program

Gave the green light for the Sheriff-Coroner to sign a $165,000 contract with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to provide an emergency vehicle operations course instruction for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The course will serve 110 students at an initial cost of $1,500 per student.

Redesiginating the John Muir Medical Center as Official Trauma Center

Supervisors redesignated John Muir Medical Center as the county’s official trauma center through May 21, 2031. In approving the consent item, supervisors agreed John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center has seen its patient rate grow by 53 percent since 2011, but its trauma inpatient volume has remained relatively steady with an average of about 1,200 inpatients per year. With the supervisors’ consent action, the county will receive $350,000 a year during the duration of the agreement from John Muir Medical Center for the county to fund programs to decrease violence or prevent injuries throughout the county.

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Supervisors ramp up sales tax discussion before approving $3.69 billion 2019-20 budget

Monday, May 13th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented resolutions of recognition to Scott Walchek, founder NS president of Trov, a Danville-based on-demand insurance company, and to Sylvia Lewis vice president of Sigray Inc., a Pacheco-based X-ray technology company, for both companies being 2019 Innovation Award finalists and winners. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a status-quo $3.69 billion budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year at Tuesday’s meeting, but supervisors made more noise about the possibility they could be pushed to propose a countywide sales tax measure to cover rising labor and health care costs averaging about 3 percent for 2019-2020.

“We need some type of local tax revenue, but there is nothing under consideration right now,” Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond told the Contra Costa Herald after supervisors approved next fiscal year’s spending plan that attracted several critics of Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston’s $10 million budget increase request over recent charges one deputy had sexually and physically abused female inmates at the West County Detention Facility. That deputy has been dismissed by the sheriff.

When County Administrator David Twa initially presented the 2019-2020 tentative budget at an April 23 meeting, supervisors had sparingly talked around the tax issue idea, but at the May 7 meeting all five supervisors were more outspoken about the potential tax idea.

Citing how Alameda County produces $150 million in annual revenue from its sales tax, Gioia said, “We struggle with less.” In addition to Alameda County, San Mateo and San Francisco counties financially benefit from revenue coming from a sales tax.

“John is absolutely right, “said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover. “We need another revenue source. We need to continue to grow our resources.”

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis hinted she could possibly support a sales tax measure given the current state of the county’s inability to deliver public services while adequately fulfilling the financial and health benefit needs of employees. “We are leveraging our dollars and our employees. We can do better,” Burgis said.

Vice Chair Candace Andersen doubted a countywide sales tax measure would win voter support. “I don’t know how a sales tax measure would get passed by the voters,” the supervisor from Danville said.

Supervisors OK DA Investigators Association Labor Pact

Supervisors unanimously approved a new four-year labor contract with the District Attorney Investigators’ Association. Investigators will earn from $8,293.27 per month to $11,480.60 per month based on seniority. The contract runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2023.

8-Unit Pacheco Townhouse Approved

Without opposition from the public, supervisors unanimously approved developer Andy Akay’s plans to construct an eight-unit townhouse subdivision development at 214 Center Ave. in Pacheco. The three-story development will be constructed on a vacant .49-acre parcel of property. Each unit will have a two-car garage. The two bedroom and three-bedroom units will have living areas of 2,199 square feet to 2,203 square feet each.

Chaplaincy Services Contract Approved

Supervisors also approved as a consent item a Sheriff-Coroner contract with the Bay Area Chaplains, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $162,000. The Bay Area Chaplains will provide chaplaincy services in adult detention facilities from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Services will include providing materials, counseling, bible studies, worship services and responding to crisis and emergencies involving inmates or staff.

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Supervisors review proposed $3.7 billion budget, discuss potential new tax

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Supervisors were presented Tuesday a proposed $3.69 billion budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 that sparked dialogue among supervisors of potentially developing a new tax source in order to support the county’s growing service needs, especially in the areas of health, medical, employment and human services.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget consists of $1.7 billion in county imposed general fund revenue that is approximately the same level of local tax revenue budgeted for the current 2018-2019 fiscal year. State and federal funds make up the other $2 billion in budget revenue.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to instruct county administrator David Twa to present the budget for adoption at its May 7 meeting. Vice chair Candace Andersen of Danville was absent at the time of the vote.

“After several years of relative stability, we now enter a period of needing to adjust our county budget to meet challenges due to uncertainties to countywide revenue streams (especially in the Health Services and the Employment & Human Services departments), compounded by sharply rising wage and benefit costs,” County Administrator Twa wrote in his 2019-2020 budget presentation. CCCo Budget Presentation 19-20 Draft

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year county officials plan to wrap up labor negotiations with the Physicians and Dentists Organization that represents workers in the Health and Human Services and at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Clinics, the District Attorney Investigators Association, the Deputy Services Association and the In-Home Supportive Services Association.

Even in a good economy, Contra Costa County employees find themselves underpaid on average 5 percent to 8 percent of what their counterparts earn at similar jobs in the Bay Area. Supervisors listened to a number of speakers representing the county’s health care system, Contra Costa CARES, that the county needs to boost salaries of its healthcare workers 8 percent if it expects to retain employees.

For next fiscal year, county medical director Anna Roth proposed that the supervisors approve a 3 percent cost of living adjustment, designate $135 million in county general funds, count on $1.6 billion in revenues, but expect expenses of $1.8 billion. The department plans to expand the West County Behavioral Health Center next year, she said.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill upon noticing a projected a combined general fund deficit from health services and human services of at least $30 million.

Noting how other Bay Area counties like San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo can adequately pay county workers because of additional tax revenues streaming in from property and sales tax sources, board chair John Gioia of Richmond said, “Other counties have robust tax revenue resources. We don’t have that.”

“You say we need more money,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. “We have to be creative.”

Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher said to balance her department’s budget for 2019-2020 she will have to eliminate 67 positions. For next fiscal year, EHS will have 1,904 fulltime positions in order to operate its diverse operations such as Adult Protection Services that has undergone some criticism for alleged financial abuse of its clients.

Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston has proposed a $7 million increase for salaries and benefits for his 685 sworn officers and 350 non-sworn personnel. For next fiscal year, the sheriff plans to hire three additional sworn officers. Planning for a proposed 128 bed mental health facility for the West County Detention Center in Richmond is back on track after being sidelined for rising construction costs, mostly related to steel tariffs.

With $44 million proposed for the District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Diana Becton plans to increase staffing in the human trafficking unit by $1 million. The DA Office has 222.5 positions on the payroll of which 102 are attorneys, 33 are investigators, 17 are victim/witness experts, and 70.5 are administrative support.

A $3.7 million project at Buchanan Air Field is one of the big tasks on drawing boards for the Public Works Department next fiscal year, department director Brian Balbas said, but the biggest challenge is retaining staff. With a $254 million budget and 545 employees, Balbas said his department is hampered by a high turnover rate of more than 20 percent when workers find better paying jobs at other counties or in the private sector. “The focus for 2019/2020 will be in recruitment and retention,” he told supervisors.

Public Defender Robin Lipesky said in addition to handling 6,900 misdemeanor cases, 3,747 felony cases, and 450 bail hearings, her department handled 600 Stand Together Contra Costa legal consultations, a new duty of her department. Citing a decline in the county’s juvenile population and a decline in the juvenile hall population, the department plans to cut 22 juvenile justice positions, she said.

Supervisors Salary Ordinance Approved

On a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Candace Andersen of Danville and Diane Burgis of Brentwood casting the dissenting votes, supervisors approved an ordinance that will raise their salaries at an established percentage, 65 percent of the annual salary of the Office of Superior Court Judge, effective January 1, 2021.

Effective June 30, each supervisor will earn a monthly base salary of $9,736.75, equivalent to an annual salary of $116,841.

From July 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019 supervisors will each earn an annual salary equal to 60 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge as prescribed by the state legislature. Supervisors will receive another salary boost effective January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 at a base of 63 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge. A third and final salary hike equal to 65 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge in Contra Costa County would go into effect after January 1, 2021.

In addition to the pay increases, each supervisor will receive reimbursement for “reasonable expenses incurred in the conduct of such office” and “eligibility for an eighty-five-dollar monthly contribution to the county’s deferred compensation plan in the same manner as other exempt management employees.”

Each supervisor will also receive an automobile allowance of $600 per month and, in addition to the automobile allowance, mileage at the rate per mile allowed by the Internal Revenue Service as a deductible expense, for all miles driven by the supervisor on county business outside that supervisor’s district.

Supervisors OK Revised WCCTAC Transit Mitigation Fee

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved revised property transportation mitigation fees developers in unincorporated parts of the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee area of El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo that have been in place since 1997.

No one spoke either in favor of or in protest against the fees that are assessed to go towards construction of transportation projects.

Since the inception of the WCCTAC transit mitigation fees in 1997, $11.6 million has been raised to help alleviate transportation impacts from residential, commercial or industrial development, said John Cunningham of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.

Revenues from the transit mitigation fee cover 19 percent of the construction costs of transit projects in the WCCTAC area. Some of those projects include $9,672 towards a $50,903 San Pablo Avenue complete streets project, $156 for the I-580/Harbour Way Interchange pedestrian and bicycle access improvements, $10,175 for the Hercules Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, and $20,749 for capital improvements to the I-80 Express Bus Service.

Accessory dwelling units are exempt from the revised transit mitigation fees that will go into effect July 1, 2020 and will increase or decrease every July 1 thereafter based by the annual percentage change in the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index for the San Francisco Bay Area for the 12 month period ending with the February index of the same year in which the increase or decrease will take effect

The new WCCTAC transit mitigation fees are multi-family residential, $5,439 per dwelling unit; senior housing, $1,469 per dwelling unit; hotel, $3,481 per hotel unit; retail/service, $6.59 per square foot; office, $8.12 per square foot; industrial, $5.56 per square foot; storage facility, 0.76 per square foot; and other, $7 per square foot.

Red Cross Community Services Award Recipients

As a consent items, supervisors adopted resolutions honoring Bryan Canty of Antioch as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Good Samaritan Award, Samantha Barhouse, also of Antioch, as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Disaster Service Award, and the San Damiano Retreat Center of Danville, as the recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Community Service Award.

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County Supervisors agree to raise salaries on 4-1 vote

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Antioch’s Delta Veterans Group honored

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution recognizing the services of the Delta Veterans Group, a nonprofit organization founded by veteran J.R. Wilson. Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood presented the resolution to Wilson at Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting in Martinez. Since 2012, the Delta Veterans Group has sponsored its annual Stand Down event at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds) in Antioch. At the event veterans can receive full medical treatments, court and legal services, DMV, chaplain services, housing, addiction and mental health counseling, employment and many other community services. Veterans are also provided clothing, meals, sleeping tents, and a safe place to stand down. The next Stand Down event will be held in September at the Contra Costa Event Park. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

At their meeting on Tuesday, Contra Costa County Supervisors approved on a 4-1 vote the ordinance that ties their base salaries to 60 percent of the salaries of superior court judges. Supervisor Candace Andersen cast the dissenting vote. The pay raise goes into effect for the period between July 2, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019; then increases to 63 percent of judges’ salaries for 2020 and finally to 65 percent of judges’ salaries thereafter.

Supervisors will receive the same periodic increases as are as granted by the legislature to the judges as recommended by the Ad Hoc Citizen’s Committee.

Supervisors waived the reading of the ordinance and fixed their April 16 meeting for adoption of the ordinance. Two weeks ago, supervisors had voted 3-1 with Andersen opposing and Supervisor Diane Burgis absent due to recuperation from heart surgery.

In casting a negative vote again this week, Andersen said, “I still have my reservations. We still earn Bay Area salary, but this isn’t a full-time job. It’s more than a full-time job. I can leave my house at 8 a.m. and not return until 10 p.m.”

Consider Exempting Transportation Impact Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units

Supervisors can be expected to adopt a policy aimed at exempting the imposition of public transit fees on homeowners wanting to build accessory dwelling units to homes as a jab of slowing down the Bay Area’s runaway rising housing costs.

Supervisors on Tuesday instructed county Conservation & Development Department (CDD) officials to draft a policy that would halt the levying of transit impact fees on ADU applications in unincorporated Contra Costa County, a move that could lift a financial burden off the shoulders of homeowners wanting to add living units onto their homes. ADU transit impact fees are imposed taxes for public transit improvement or road construction to mitigate increased public transit patronage and automobile trips stemming from ADU construction.

Based on county data, since 2017, there’ve been 130 ADU’s approved, 42 interior conversions and 88 new footprint additions approved.   County records also show 130 ADU permits were issued via administrative means such as variance or deviation from the standards. Total ADU tax revenues data collected during that two-year period was unavailable.

“Ultimately, however, the reduction and or elimination of traffic impact fees would unavoidably create a funding gap.” warned CDD Director John Kopchik in a memo to supervisors. “That gap cannot be filled using the fee program’s revenue and must be backfilled with other sources.”

So far there has been political posturing locally and out of Sacramento concerning the status of ADU transit fees, but housing affordability advocates have maintained ADU transit fee are part of the reason for the Bay Area’s housing unaffordability crisis.

Leading the charge on the ADU fee exemption conversation at the county level has been board chair John Gioia of Richmond who has been tuned into the ADU and tax exemption discussions at West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee level.

Gioia said by exempting the transit fees it would remove financial barrier on homeowners wanting to add onto their homes. In West County, the additional costs a homeowner pays on average per ADU is $10,000 the supervisor said.

Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville praised the ADU transit fee exemption fee proposal saying” It’s a great way for families to stay together.”

CDD staff is expected to present a draft ordinance on the ADU tax exemption proposal sometime either in June or July.

Mitchoff Gets Heat Over Library Closure

The upcoming closure of the Pleasant Hill Public Library drew protests from upset community residents, some of whom accused Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill of playing into the hands of real estate interests by closing down the library too soon.

Besides the construction of a new library, the county in conjunction with the city of Pleasant Hill are making way for the construction of a housing development on county owned property long vacant nearby the library.

The outdated library will be demolished in late spring or early summer to clear the site for a new library that will eventually feature a café, a used book store and shelf space for 70,000 books. The new library will be completed in 2021 and according to Pleasant Hill residents like Dick Offerman that won’t help middle school students who rely on the library to study.

Mitchoff took issue with Offerman’s statement that the library’s closure would negatively impact middle school students.

“I’ve visited the library when middle school students are there and many of them are playing video games rather than studying,” she said.

Pat Morgan also of Pleasant Hill criticized supervisor Mitchoff for not doing enough in keeping the old library open.

“It’s unacceptable. This demonstrates real estate money interest. Greed. It’s shameful, “she said.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution to District Attorney Diana Beckton (center) and nine persons for their work in defending crime victims’ issues and their rights at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. The event marks the District Attorney Office’s commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13. This year’s awardees are Juliann Marlang for Special Courage, Sarah Alpert for Making a Difference, United Parcel Service driver Jesse Gregory for Above and Beyond, Sandra Guiterrez-Banales for Victim Advocate, Laura Muro for Support Staff, Senior Inspector Rick Rivera for DA Investigators, Deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler for Attorney, Detective Joseph Nunemaker for Law Enforcement and Nancy Kenoyer for Probation Officer. Vigils were held on Thursday, at the Family Justice Center, in Concord and Pittsburg City Hall. On Saturday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. the Survivors Speak National Healing Vigil will be held at the Sojourner Truth Church 2621 Shane Dr., Richmond. This year’s theme – Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future – encourages commemoration, honor, and respect toward the crime victim advocates, allied professionals, and selfless volunteers who have worked for increased rights for crime victims. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Consent Items Approved

Supervisors approved the Sheriff-Coroner’s request to purchase Automated License Plate Reader cameras in the Discovery Bay area for an amount not to exceed $283,000. The ALPR camera capabilities are not only for the detection of stolen vehicles, but also as an investigative tool for persons and property crimes.

They also approved and authorized the Sheriff-Coroner to execute a contract with the State of California, 23rd District Agricultural Association (Contra Costa County Fair Board), including all indemnification of the State of California, to pay the county an amount not to exceed $35,000 to provide law enforcement services at the County Fair for the period of May 15-19, 2019.

Approve the collection loss write-offs in the public housing program in the amount of $106,729.09 for the quarter ending March 31, 2019, which is up nearly double from the $50,381.06 in collection losses for the same quarter in 2018. The Bayo Vista housing development in Rodeo led with the most loss write-offs with $73,470.36 followed by the Vista del Camino housing development in San Pablo with $10,501.

Supervisors also approved new Housing Choice Voucher payment standards for the Housing Authority that goes into effect April 15. Studio to three-bedroom sized unit payments standards have been reduced between $19 to $101 while the four to seven-bedroom sized payment standards are being increased between $121 and $175.

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County Supervisors approve funding for Kirker Pass truck lane, Northern Waterfront Initiative

Friday, March 1st, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

With Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood absent from the meeting because she was recuperating from successful heart surgery on Monday, Contra Costa County Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve a variety of consent calendar agenda items during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26. They included the following, the first two of which will benefit Antioch residents:

Kirker Pass Road Truck Lane Funding

Supervisors awarded a $14,153,763 contract to Granite Rock Company to construct the Kirker Pass Road Northbound Truck Climbing Lane project. Construction is set to begin this summer to add a truck lane on Kirker Pass Road from the Concord Pavilion to Hess Road. The addition of the lane is designed to reduce accidents caused by trucks traveling up Kirker Pass Road. Other contractors and their bids at the Jan. 22 disclosure were: Bay Cities Paving & Grading, Inc., $14,886,666; Ghilotti Construction Company, Inc., $15,225,077. 60; Gordon N. Ball, Inc. $15,528,038.20; Flatiron West, Inc. $15,528,038.20; Granite Construction Co, $16, 073, 185.10; O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc. $16,073, 788 and DeSilva Gates Construction, $17,500,000.

Waterfront Initiative Funding

Supervisors approved the new funding allocations of $142,500 to implement approved Northern Waterfront initiatives planned for 2019-2020. Those expenditures included $50,000 for the Hercules site exploration for bioscience, $12,000 for a May forum, $10,000 for State Lands/Crockett waterfront access, $70,000 for collaborative marketing and a marketing video. Supervisors had budgeted $500,000 in 2017 to cover Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative projects. Since the initiative’s launch, the only expenditure since then has been the $263,000 to consultant contracts or grant match.

Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle Funding

Spending $1.3 million from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District budget to buy a Type I Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle that will be owned and operated by the county fire district. The acquisition of a new Type I Hazardous Material Response Vehicle will allow the fire district to own and operate its own vehicle. Since the formation of the county’s Hazardous Materials Team in 2016, the team has operated a vehicle on loan from the California Office of Emergency Services. That vehicle was recently out of service for over 30 days while it received warranty related repairs in Sacramento. That compromised the Contra Costa County team’s ability to respond to hazardous response incidents. Buying this vehicle will permit the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District to respond to future hazardous material response incidents.

Emerging Aeronautical Technologies to Be Promoted at County Airports

Supervisors permitted County Airports Director Keith Freitas to promote and market Buchanan Field and Byron Airport as testing locations for emerging aeronautical and aeronautical related technologies. There will be no financial cost to the county general fund associated with the promotion and marketing campaign. Airport staff and any county counsel staff time will be charged to the Airport Enterprise Fund.

Paying Additional $11,000 to Winchester for Sheriff’s Department Ammunition

Supervisors agreed to pay an additional $11,000 to buy Winchester ammunition for the Office of the Sheriff because after more than 20 years, Winchester has changed its ammunition distributor in Northern California from Adamson Police Products to Dooley Enterprises. In 2017, the Office of the Sheriff executed a new purchase order with Dooley Enterprises as the new Winchester ammunition distributor to meet future training and duty ammunition demands. As a result of the change in the purchase order. the county will have paid $411,000, not $400,000 for the purchase of ammunition for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

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Supervisor Diane Burgis’ heart surgery to replace aortic valve a success

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Supervisor Diane Burgis

Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis’ surgery to replace her aortic valve was a success. (See related article).

The surgery performed on Monday, February 25 by a medical team at John Muir Hospital Concord began at 8 am, with the valve replacement completed just before noon. Supervisor Burgis was up and making jokes with friends by early evening.  She will be in the hospital for one week and then recovering at home before returning to work.

“We are excited and relieved that the surgery was such a success,” said Mark Goodwin, Supervisor Burgis’ Chief of Staff. “I’ll be speaking with her regularly over the next few weeks. I’m not sure what the greater challenge will be, keeping her away from the work she loves while she recovers or keeping up with her when she gets back, but I look forward to both. We’re grateful to the medical team at John Muir Hospital Concord and to everyone who has reached out to express their support.”

Goodwin will be the primary point of contact during Burgis’ recovery. Cards and well wishes may be sent to her main office, 3361 Walnut Boulevard, Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.

Supervisor Diane Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, which includes Antioch, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Oakley in East Contra Costa County and Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley in the southern portion of the district.

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County Supervisor Diane Burgis schedules surgery to repair heart valve

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Supervisor Diane Burgis. Herald file photo.

In an open letter to District 3 residents, Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has served the district since 2016, issued the following statement regarding her health.

“When I count the things I am grateful for, representing you is right up there with my family, friends and good health. I am humbled and honored for the trust that you have placed in me, and I take the responsibility that comes with that trust very seriously.

That is why I want you to know that I am having heart surgery on February 25 to replace an aortic valve due to aortic stenosis, or a narrowing of my aortic valve. What some don’t know is that when I was seven years old, I had this same procedure, and my surgeons told me then that I would likely need another surgery later in life. The good news is that due to my overall health, the operation is happening much later than they predicted.

My doctors, who have performed hundreds of these procedures, assure me that my prognosis is excellent and that I will be better than new after the surgery. I will be in the hospital for approximately one week and then at home for recovery.

In the meantime, I promise that you will receive the same high level of service, sound decision-making, and representation as always. My staff and the County staff will keep me updated on the issues, and my office will continue the vital work that we are doing, in consultation with me, and under the leadership of my Chief of Staff, Mark Goodwin.

I also want to put everyone on notice – if you think it’s hard to keep up with me now, just wait!! I look forward to continuing our work together to create opportunities and find solutions to our challenges in Contra Costa County.

I also can’t wait to ride my bike on the Marsh Creek trail, hike up Mount Diablo, kayak on the Delta, chase my beautiful grandson, and get back on the tennis courts!

I am ready for more adventures in this terrific life!

Thank you for your support, and well wishes.”

Mark Goodwin, Burgis’ Chief of Staff will be the primary point of contact during Supervisor Burgis’ surgery and recovery. Well wishes may be sent to Supervisor Burgis at her main office, 3361 Walnut Boulevard, Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.

Supervisor Diane Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, which includes Antioch, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Oakley in East Contra Costa County and Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley in the southern portion of the district.

 

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Supervisors promote solar energy development in rural areas, parking lots, freeway cloverleafs

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Forgive $5.8 million in library book late fees dating back to 1995; Honor Choice in Aging’s Debbie Toth who serves Antioch’s Bedford Center as Board Chair Recipient

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors flashed the green light for Contra Costa County Development and Conservation Department (DCD) officials to conduct additional studies on how solar power can be expanded, especially in the Far East environmentally sensitive Delta areas of Bethel Island and Jersey Island.

Supervisors also allowed county planners to study the feasibility of identifying underutilized parking lots countywide that could be used as solar farms in partnership with MCE, the main electricity provider for unincorporated Contra Costa County and the cities of Concord, Danville, Martinez, Oakley, Pinole, Pittsburg, and San Ramon.

Freeway cloverleafs are also on the DCD’s list of potential new sites for renewable energy.

“Fifty to eighty percent of the county could be used for renewable energy,” Jody London, a DCD official, told supervisors.  London said solar energy represents 85 percent of the renewable energy that could be developed on rural land.  The remaining 15 percent would be energy generated from wind power or biomass.

London said the county could also expand solar energy by issuing more permits to homeowners to install solar panels on roofs.

The house rooftop option drew the support of District 3 Supervisor Dianne Burgis of Brentwood, whose district also covers Bethel Island and Jersey Island.  “I’d be open to option one,” she said.  “We have so many rooftops in Contra Costa County.  I’d like to work with MCE.”

Board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill cautioned DCD staff that she was uncertain the DCD recommendation concerning 450-acre Jersey Island as a potential solar power farm might run into opposition from the island’s owner, the Ironhouse Sanitary District.

London said she would look into that issue.

“We support development of solar energy on brownfield sites, parking lots and infill areas such as freeway cloverleafs,” Bill Chilson of the Mount Diablo Audubon Society wrote in a letter to the supervisors.  The environmental organization opposes wind and solar development in the Delta agricultural and wildlife areas, Chilson wrote.

Juan Pablo Galwan, Save Mt. Diablo Land Use Manager, criticized the plan, writing:

“Advances in solar technology may increase the frequency of collocation or allow an area of land to concurrently be farmed and produce solar energy without negatively impacting or perhaps even increasing crop productivity.  However, currently the most likely scenario is that solar development removes land from most or all ties of agricultural production for the duration of lease which may last several decades.  Therefore, the county renewable energy policies should not encourage solar development on viable agricultural land.”

A $47,000 grant from the California Strategic Growth Council developed the energy study for the County.

Supervisors Approve $362,505 State Grant for 2020 Census

The county is getting ready for the 2020 census and took its first step when supervisors unanimously accepted a $362,505 County-Option Outreach Agreement grant from the state.

The grant will aid the county in developing communications and outreach strategies that will target both geographic and demographic populations who are least likely to respond to the 2020 census.

Barbara Rivera of the Contra Costa County Administrators Office said the upcoming census will be the first one where Californians can respond by going online, but this raised cyber security issues from Julia Marks of the Asian Law Caucus.  “There is a lot fear over confidentiality,” said Marks.

Choice in Aging’s Debbie Toth Honored as Board Chair Recipient

Debbie Toth, the Chief Executive Officer of Choice in Aging, was honored by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Mitchoff, as Board Chair Recipient for 2018.

Mitchoff, of Pleasant Hill, selected Toth, who was named CEO of Choice in Aging in 2012 that serves 600 senior citizens in residential facilities at the Bedford Center in Antioch and the Mt. Diablo Center in Pleasant Hill, for being an advocate for senior access to housing, health and transit.

Mitchoff, who was re-elected to the District 3 supervisorial seat in June, cited her personal experience with her mother as a key factor in nominating the CIA’s Chief Executive Officer for the award.

After Tuesday’s meeting, it is expected District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond will be elected as Chair of the Board   when supervisors reconvene at their next regular meeting slated for January 15, 2019.

Supervisors Forgive $5.8 Million in Library Book Late Fees Dating Back to 1995

A week after the Board of Supervisors made the historic move to eliminate the practice of collecting overdue book and material fees, they approved on a 5-0 vote to discharge about $5,800,100 from public library patron accounts.

The agenda consent item did not attract public comment.

The bookkeeping item covers uncollected fees dating back to 1995 to the present, County Librarian Melinda Cervantes wrote in a report to the Board.  “Of this amount, 73 percent is the value of materials, not cash outstanding.”  There is no financial impact on the county general fund.

Last week supervisors adopted the library commission’s recommendation to cease the collection of overdue book fines beginning Jan. 1, 2019 based on the recommendations in a policy titled Project Equitable Access with the goal of ensuring everyone has access to library materials.

To view the entire meeting agenda, click here.

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