INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Valley Rallies to Stop State Water Grab
As the State Water Board comes closer to making a final decision on its Bay -Delta Plan Substitute Environmental Document, Central Valley leaders continue to voice opposition to the Plan that would bring significant harm to the Valley economy.
The San Francisco Bay/ Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta) Water Quality Control Plan (commonly referred to as the Bay-Delta Plan) is a document that intends to improve conditions for fish and wildlife in the Delta by sending large amounts of surface water (up to 50 percent unimpaired flows) down the Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers.
This loss of surface water would devastate the Central Valley’s economy and equates to less water for storage in reservoirs, less water for farmland irrigation, less groundwater recharge and degraded water quality in the region. Additionally, experts have indicated that the increased flows won’t do much to save fish.
On August 20, more than 1,500 people gathered at the steps of the State Capitol to voice opposition to the Plan. More opposition was delivered after the rally during a two-day Water Board hearing on the Plan.
"The Water Board’s proposal to send more of our surface water out to the ocean would decimate the Central Valley’s economy, water quality and quality of life," said Jerry O’Banion, Chairman of the Merced County Board of Supervisors. "Alternatives have been proposed to the Water Board that would improve salmon populations while avoiding this unprecedented water grab – they’ve gone unheeded. We will continue to fight for our water and our Valley."
The Merced Irrigation District has established and promoted an alternative since 2016, the Merced River S.A.F.E. Plan. The plan calls for immediate increases in Merced River flows during key spawning times; increased salmon production at the Merced River hatchery; restoration of habitat on the Merced River destroyed by dredge mining decades ago and addressing non-native bass predation of migrating juvenile salmon. The plan has so far been dismissed by the state.
Board Approves Final Budget
In September, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Final Budget.
The $624.5 million budget places a primary focus on public safety, which is allocated over 54 percent of the County’s discretionary resources. It also adds $1 million to reserves, which restores the emergency fund back to its pre-recession level.
The Board also took action to update hours at various Library branches to make them more accessible, implemented plans for a County-wide park investment strategy, and set aside $1.5 million to be used toward the maintenance of Community and Veterans’ Halls.
The FY 18-19 Final Budget is a decrease of $9.3 million from last year’s Final Budget of $633.8 million. This decrease is primarily due to the completion of the Behavioral Health Center project in April 2018.
While California’s economy has recovered from the Great Recession, Merced County continues to steadily stabilize. The Board of Supervisors continues to take a steady and cautious fiscal approach in order to create a sustainable budget and lessen the potential impacts of a down economy in the future.
Final Budget: At a Glance
The FY 18-19 Final Budget is $624.5 million, which is a decrease of $9.3 million from last year’s Final Budget of $633.8 million. This decrease is primarily due to the completion of the Behavioral Health Center project in April 2018. Of the $624.5 million, $483 million is programmatic funding and $135 million requires funding from local discretionary resources (net county costs). It’s worth noting that as of this Budget, reserves have been restored to pre-recession levels.
|FY 16/17 Approved||FY 17/18 Approved||FY 18/19 Final|
|Local Public Safety/Justice System||$ 63.0||$ 68.7||$ 73.2|
|Health & Human Services||$ 6.6||$ 4.9||$ 5.4|
|Municipal/Co-Wide Services||$ 14.7||$ 16.2||$ 18.1|
|Support Services/CIP||$ 37.9||$ 38.6||$ 38.3|
|Local Requirements||$ 122.2||$ 128.4||$ 135.0|
Local Leaders Break Ground on Next Phase of Campus Parkway
In late July, local officials broke ground on Segment II of the Campus Parkway Project.
The overall project involves the construction of a 4-lane expressway from Highway 99, connecting to Highway 140, and extending to Yosemite Avenue. Segment I from Highway 99 to Childs Avenue is complete. Segment II will extend the expressway to Highway 140, and Segment III will extend it to Yosemite Avenue. Thanks to $100 million in funding secured by Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray through the SB 1 transportation package, funding has been secured for both remaining phases.
SB 1, Measure V Dollars Restoring County Roads
Two new funding sources dedicated to improving roads throughout Merced County and its six cities are starting to show results.
Measure V, a local half-cent sales tax measure approved by voters in November 2016, and Senate Bill 1, a statewide transportation package based on gas/diesel excise tax increases and vehicle registration increases, will generate approximately $10.1 million for Merced County alone in 2018.
These funds are already being put to use in the County. For a comprehensive list of completed/planned projects, please visit: www.countyofmerced.com/MeasureV-SB1.
To date, more than 11 miles of County roads have been resurfaced with Measure V funds, while more than 12 miles of roads have been resurfaced with SB 1 dollars.
Notable Measure V projects include Belcher Avenue between Santa Fe Drive and Highway 59 and Jensen Road from the Gustine city limits to Bambauer Road. Notable SB 1 projects include Turner Island Road from Henry Miller Avenue to Sand Slough Road and Le Grand Road from the area of Athlone Road to Minturn Road.
Upgraded Wedding Room Offers Perfect Start to "Happily Ever After"
There’s a new spot in town for couples to tie the knot, and it’s conveniently located on the first floor of the Merced County Administration Building.
The County recently relocated and renovated its Wedding Room. Updated wallpaper, seating, arch, lectern and flowers offer guests a more modern and attractive setting. Additional amenities are planned to be installed in the near future, including lettering on the facade of the room and a sound system.
"The goal is to offer our guests a beautiful space that lends to lasting memories," said Barbara J. Levey, Assessor-Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters. As the County Clerk, marriage licenses and ceremonies fall under Levey’s purview. "People love the new location and feedback has been very positive," she said. "This is a major milestone in people’s lives and we’re proud to be there to help them celebrate it."
The Wedding Room was formerly located in the basement of the Administration Building. The new site on the first floor offers better access, more natural light and more space to accommodate guests.
The Clerk’s Office typically handles more than 12 weddings a week.
Appointments are available Monday through Friday between 9 and 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. except for holidays. To schedule an appointment, please call (209) 385-7627.
Elections Office Hiring Poll Workers for November Election
The Merced County Elections Office is in the process of hiring poll workers for the November 6, 2018 General Election.
Poll workers undertake a variety of duties during elections, including handling supplies at polling locations, setting up and operating voting equipment, and assisting inspectors with other Election Day duties.
Anyone interested in applying must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter, and a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Applicants must also attend one to two paid training classes depending on the position applied for.
There are also openings for student poll workers. Students must be at least 16 years old, a U.S. citizen or legal resident, be in good standing, have at least a 2.5 GPA, and have written permission from a parent/guardian as well as the school.
To apply, please visit: https://www.co.merced.ca.us/1973/Become-a-Poll-Worker
As a side note, the Merced County Registrar of Voters has partnered with The Bus to provide free rides along fixed routes on Election Day.
With more than 2,000 employees, the Merced County team has some outstanding members who do exceptional work. Here are some recent examples:
Supervising Deputy DA Supervising Deputy District Attorney Matthew Serratto was named the top prosecutor of the year for small and mid-size cities in California by the California District Attorney’s Association Board of Directors. Since joining the DA’s Office in 2007, Serratto has tried 58 cases to verdict and was the lead prosecutor for the "Operation Scrapbook" gang bust.
Behavioral Health Director Behavioral Health Director Yvonnia Brown was honored for her achievements in the mental health field during the "2018 California Champions of Mental Health Charity Awards Dinner." Since joining the County in 2014, Brown spearheaded the construction of the new Behavioral Health Center and has championed many programs to improve local services.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Battalion Chief John Slate, Deputy Director of the Merced County Office of Emergency Services, was in the right place at the right time in August. While waiting for members of a fire strike team at a rest area on Highway 99, he was able to assist an individual who was having a heart attack. Slate, with assistance from the other 22 members of the strike team, was able to perform emergency procedures, resuscitate the man and call in an ambulance.
|Board of Supervisors||Planning Commission|
- October 2, 2018
- October 16, 2018
- November 6, 2018
- November 20, 2018
- December 11, 2018 - Cancelled
- December 18, 2018 - At County Courthouse Museum
Regular Board of Supervisors meetings are held on scheduled Tuesdays at 10 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Meetings are held in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95340.
- October 10, 2018
- October 24, 2018
- November 14, 2018
- November 28, 2018
- December 5, 2018
- December 19, 2018
Regular Planning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month (with the exception of December) in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95340.
|Municipal Advisory Councils|
- Delhi MAC meetings:
7 p.m. second Thursday of the month,
16091 Locust St., Delhi
- Franklin-Beachwood MAC meetings:
6 p.m. fourth Wednesday of the month,
Franklin Elementary on Franklin Road
- Hilmar MAC meetings:
6 p.m. fourth Monday of the month.
20077 Falke St., Hilmar
- Le Grand MAC meetings:
7 p.m. first Monday of the month,
13038 E. Jefferson St., Le Grand
- McSwain MAC meetings:
7 p.m. fourth Thursday of the month,
926 N. Scott Road, Merced
- Planada MAC meetings:
6 p.m. first Wednesday of the month,
9167 Stanford Ave., Planada
- Snelling MAC meetings:
6:30 p.m. second Wednesday of the month,
Old Snelling Courthouse, SR 59, Snelling
- Winton MAC meetings:
7 p.m. third Tuesday of the month,
7091 W. Walnut Ave., Winton