The Board of Supervisors recently held an annual retreat to learn the status of the county and to take a look at some issues which we will be tackling in 2014.
First off, even though I'm no longer chair of the Board of Supervisors, I find this year's schedule just as packed in last year.
Unlike last year, though, we are starting from a better place.
FINANCES: Standard &Poors has changed Contra Costa's rating to Triple A -- the highest rating that can be given. Only one other county in all of California has a rating equal to Contra Costa and that is San Diego County.
That means the county is on sound financial footing and that the bonds we offer are the best investment for banks and investors.
It doesn't mean all our financial problems are solved -- far from it. We still need to be on guard against spending more than we can afford. We still have to be prudent as we work on a budget this year.
FIRE REPORT: The Fitch Report, the draft study on how the Contra Costa Fire Prevention District can operate on reduced resources and still ensure the safety of our communities has been released. Readers can still check it out on the County website: http://www.cccounty.us/ConFireStudy.
It is noteworthy to report that the response times before and after decommissioning four fire companies was relatively insignificant: 6 seconds longer for EMS and 18 seconds for fire calls.
After a town hall and taking into consideration all the comments taken in from the public, the final report will come in front of the board again when we will decide on the best strategies to provide fire fighting services and how to answer the 911 calls that don't require firefighting skills, which composed 85 percent of firefighters' calls.
AMERICAN CARE ACT: Contra Costa is also the only county in California that is operating its own Call Center for CoverCalifornia, the state's version of Obamacare. The state operates the other two call centers. Unlike other parts of the country that have had to rely on the federal website, California has had minimal problems enrolling clients into a health care plan.
What can't be denied is that thousands of Californians have health care insurance today that didn't have health insurance last year. Our state's website, unlike the federal Obamacare website, has been working well from the start.
We need to do a better job of outreach to inform those without health care the advantages of affordable health care and how it benefits individuals, employers and all of us. The county's call center will continue to play a key statewide role as Obamacare attracts more and more of the uninsured.
RETURNING CITIZENS: Contra Costa's effort to work with the prisoners returning to the county from state institutions is drawing national and statewide recognition. The programs, which will begin operating this year, will help stem the recidivism rate of former inmates. What we have in place right now, in line with the county's Reentry Strategic Plan is already having positive results with the reduced rate of recidivism.
When our planning process is completed and we issue contracts to the various community agencies, we hope that not only will returning citizens no longer commit any crime, but also they will receive the services and training to make them productive members of society.
However, with state funding set to be reduced, we will continue to work smartly with the money that we receive from Sacramento. We will also be seeking additional monies from other resources to supplement that operations budget.
WATERFRONT INITIATIVE: The county's Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative is well under way. The first-ever forum bringing together over 400 waterfront stakeholders was held Jan. 20 in Antioch. Attendees from schools to big industries, from banks to park districts, chambers of commerce and environmentalists, cities, county and state representatives attended the day-long forum.
From that historic meeting, work teams are being formed in various areas to help revitalize one of the most underused resources we have in the county. If you would like more information or join in this endeavor, contact Rich Seithal of the county Department of Conservation & Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-925-674-7869.
According to the report "Revitalizing Contra Costa's Northern Waterfront," improvements that take place along the waterfront could be a huge shot in the arm for the county's economy as well provide for the protection of open spaces and sensitive wetlands, transportation infrastructure is improved and recreational opportunities are increased.
Those are all big projects but I will also be involved in numerous county, state and national organizations for public safety, transportation, sanitation and social services the county delivers. For a complete list of all my committees, link to: http://www.cccounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/29170
INTERNAL COMMITTEES: Here is the list of committees and agencies whose meetings I will be attending:
City-County Relations Committee Contra Costa Health Plan Jt. Conf. Comm.
East County Water Management Association eBART Partnership Policy Advisory Committee Family & Human Services Committee, Chair Finance Committee, Vice Chair Hiring Outreach & Oversight Committee Open Space/Parks & EBRPD Liaison Committee - Chair Public Protection, Chair West County Waste Management Authority West County Transportation Advisory Committee Water Emergency Transportation Authority Committee
INTERNAL COMMITTEE -- ALTERNATE: ECCC Habitat Conservation Plan -- Executive Board of Contra Costa Regional Fee & Finance Authority State Route 4 Bypass Authority TRANSPLAN REGIONAL COMMITTEES Contra Costa Transportation Authority LAFCO Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) MTC Transit Sustainability Special Committee San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee OTHERS ABAG - General Assembly Bay Conservation & Development Commission, Alternate Contra Costa County Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board CSAC Board of Directors County Supervisors Association of California (CSAC) - Administration of Justice Committee CSAC Executive Board of Directors CSAC SB 1022 Executive Steering Committee Delta Diablo Sanitation District Governing Board National Association of Counties (NACO) Labor & Employment Steering Committees NACO Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee North Coast Shoreline Joint Powers Authority Pittsburg Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board Tri Delta Transit Authority Board of Directors Urban Counties Caucus, President.
So you can see, it is jam-packed calendar for me and we are not even counting the numerous meetings and town halls with constituents. It is going to be a busy year for me and I hope a prosperous 2014 for all of you.
Supervisor Glover represents District V in Contra Costa County.