Sharing Information | Encouraging Engagement
I was reflecting on my inaugural year on Trinity County’s Board of Supervisors and decided to share a special “year in review” update. This year seemed to go by so quickly. A humbling and rewarding experience – It was full of opportunities to learn, to grow, and to (hopefully) make a difference.
For me, this journey began with the focus areas I emphasized during my campaign, encapsulated in the acronym – R.E.S.P.E.C.T. So, here is my year in review seen through the themes of “RESPECT.”
Residential Property Rights
I feel that we experienced mixed results in this area.
It is great to see progress being made with the development of our General Plan and Community Plans. I am also pleased that the board officially adopted the Placemaking Action Plan which reflects a great deal of community input.
The new application process for commercial cannabis cultivation, which requires CEQA studies and mitigation plans, aims to ensure responsible growth. Despite progress in this area and many others, concerns remain in some areas regarding the impact of commercial cannabis operations on nearby residents. This is especially true for areas in which residents submitted requests for “opt-outs.” This is an area that will continue to receive board attention in 2024.
Public workshops (which will continue in 2024) offered residents and business owners opportunities to shape updates to our Cannabis Ordinances, our new General Plan, and Community Plans – all essential for defining expectations and safeguarding residential property rights in Trinity County’s future.
This is an area where I feel like we created a lot of momentum. Trinity County’s designation as the poorest county in California emphasizes just how important economic development is to our future. While we have a long way to go, we did take some important first steps.
A significant milestone for 2023 was the formation of the Trinity County Community Development Corporation (TCDC), focused on community and economic development. Public workshops organized by TCDC allowed us to gather and prioritize economic development ideas, positioning us well for future funding opportunities.
The California Jobs First program, which will funnel millions of dollars into Northern California projects, presents a huge opportunity. Trinity County is actively participating in this initiative, including having key representatives on the steering committee. The economic development ideas identified through public workshops provide a strong starting point for our participation in this program.
Recognizing that housing is pivotal for economic growth, Trinity County reinstated the Subdivision Review Committee to streamline housing development processes. Housing is also one of the top priorities for TCDC.
While some businesses continue to struggle, it was encouraging to welcome new entrepreneurs to Trinity County.
The commercial cannabis cultivation program projected over $300,000 in new tax revenues this fiscal year, a figure set to grow as temporary tax rate reductions expire. We will learn how accurate this projection is over the next six months.
Community-led (and county-supported) efforts led to us receiving $1.5 million to begin renovations of our Veterans Memorial Hall. While the overall project will require a lot more funding, this is a great start that wouldn’t have happened without strong collaboration.
Our persistent efforts in water-related matters, while complex, have yielded significant wins for Trinity County which we hope will eventually benefit both our economy and environment.
Recruiting and retaining staff remained a challenge throughout the year. Nevertheless, we successfully filled crucial positions, including our new Chief Administrative Officer and Human Resources Director. Strong collaboration led to the creation of the Natural Resources Division, positioning us to address natural resource opportunities and challenges in a more proactive and well-informed manner.
Improved funding sources and focused leadership enhanced the Department of Transportation, resulting in the acquisition of new equipment for road repair and maintenance. Progress was evident in tackling storm-related damage to county roads and work is underway on our (very) long list of required county road maintenance and repairs.
Health and Human Services responded adeptly to changing regulations, ensuring uninterrupted service delivery for those most in need. A newly signed Good Neighbor Authority agreement with the U.S. Forest Service is already boosting funding and collaboration here in Trinity County.
I am pleased to report that the board will be considering the addition of a new Value to our Strategic Plan that is focused on this area.
“SOLUTION ORIENTED – We respect the need to work within rules, regulations, policies, and laws while always taking a solution-oriented approach.”
We made a great deal of progress in this area. Trinity County now has a current Placemaking Action Plan, a new Regional Transportation Plan, and a Strategic Plan that is finally being used to guide our investment of time and resources. The board will be weighing in on the plan during our first meeting of 2024. Our shared goal is to ensure that we move forward in a thoughtful, focused, and productive manner.
As noted above, we are actively working on our new General Plan and eight new Community Plans. We are committed to staying on time and budget as we move through this multi-year initiative. These milestones are crucial as we prepare for the future.
TCDC is actively working on community-based plans, addressing key areas like housing, recreation, small business support, youth career development, and funding opportunities.
I believe that strong engagement is crucial to our success. That is why I invested a great deal of time and energy into sharing information and encouraging engagement. I’m happy to report that I experienced many examples of strong, productive engagement throughout the year.
For example – there was strong engagement, both from the county and our residents and business owners during TCDC’s public workshops for economic development, several town hall meetings regarding water matters, and the county-led workshops focused on cannabis ordinance updates. It was also great to see numerous organizations that provide services in Trinity County (such as the Forest Service, RCD, Watershed, Fire Safe Council, and more) facilitate engagement through their workshops and events.
I am also pleased to report that the board will be considering the addition of a new Value to our Strategic Plan that is focused on this area.
“ENGAGEMENT – We understand the importance of communicating in a clear and timely manner that builds trust and engagement within the county.”
My efforts to share information and encourage engagement in 2023 included posting articles and board meeting notes on my website, sending regular emails, attending community meetings, gathering and sharing survey results, hosting town hall meetings, and more. There are over 200 people signed up to receive my email updates and many more see them via posts to community-based groups on social media.
I hope that stronger communication will lead to a growing level of trust, understanding, and engagement throughout our communities.
I am encouraged that we may soon incorporate these words – “We understand the importance of communicating in a clear and timely manner that builds trust and engagement within the county.” – into our Values. This will place a strong emphasis on the importance of effective communication for everyone involved in county-related business.
I am encouraged to see this approach already taking hold as more department heads share written updates and post information on social media. We also now have a way to sign up to receive emails from the county that include important updates and notices.
I am one of those “what you see is what you get” kind of people. I hope that by being transparent about my/our discussions, decisions, and actions… we can build trust in county-related business.
My sharing of meeting notes, meeting notices, and key agenda items aims to foster a sense of greater transparency. With public meetings recorded and available on the county’s YouTube channel, we are now providing easy access to proceedings. I’m also happy to report that, as of our second meeting of 2024, we will finally be caught up on the approval and posting of official minutes for our Board of Supervisor Meetings.
I start the new year truly excited about what lies ahead for Trinity County. While we continue to face many of the same challenges, we did make a lot of progress last year and created strong momentum that we can now build upon in 2024.
I am excited that we will review Trinity County’s Strategic Plan during our first board meeting this year. This is a great opportunity to start the year with the board and staff (via the leadership of our CAO) strongly aligned regarding our priorities for the year. It is also an opportunity for you to share your input regarding priorities for the county. If you can’t attend the meeting, please feel free to share your thoughts about priorities via email.
Serving as your Trinity County Supervisor is an honor, a privilege, and an ongoing commitment to the place we all call home. I’m grateful to be a part of this journey with you all. I believe that, together, we can truly make a difference.
Here’s to a great new year for Trinity County!
Sharing Information | Encouraging Engagement
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