by Ryan Kelley, D-4 Superintendent
Today, January 11, we selected a new Chairperson and, I have this opportunity to reflect on my Chairmanship of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors.
Firstly, Imperial County ended the lawsuit between the Imperial Irrigation district and Imperial County. That policy decision set in motion the State Water Resources Board Workshop, the Governor’s Salton Sea Task Force, the appointment of the Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources for Salton Sea Policy, and the Governor’s $80 million dollar budget allocation from the water bond.
Secondly, Imperial County initiated an application to manage the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA). Imperial and Trinity Counties are the only California Counties without direct management of the program. After speaking with the California Environmental Protection Agency, Imperial County submitted an application to manage the program and plans to transition the program to the Imperial County Fire Department in 2016.
Since becoming a member of the board three years ago, I have concentrated my energies on Imperial County assuming its rightful standing in the state and region. This board, during m chairmanship, has changed the conversation in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington. No longer will outside agencies, commissions or districts impose their demands on Imperial County and its resources. Imperial County is resolute in speaking up for our community.
In conclusion, we collectively have a great board with which I’m proud to be associated. We have offered the county a problem solving oriented governing body for county government.
Again, thank you all, board members and county employees. It’s been an honor and pleasure to serve as the Chairman of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors.
Additionally, I am announcing my candidacy for re-election as Imperial County Supervisor, District-4.
At the State of the County, I identified three goals for 2015; Direct Delivery of County Services, Resource and Economic Development, and Imperial County Pride. The following are the objectives attached to those goals and their current status:
Direct Delivery of Imperial County Services
- North End Holding Facility – Coordinating with the City of Brawley on improvements to the former Police Department jail.
- Hold a Board meeting in each city once in 2015 – We have held Board meetings in Brawley, Calexico, Calipatria, El Centro and Holtville. Imperial and Westmorland will occur in early 2016.
- Conduct a strategic planning session every year, and invite the public to participate – The Strategic Planning session and workshops were conducted throughout the year. Imperial County Strategic Plan adopted on December 22.
- Utilize County Library locations for electronic submission of permits and fees – An Imperial County Information Kiosk is in design planning. The project was included in the Strategic Plan.]
- Review current County Department locations and plan placement for proximity to distal communities and transportation options – Imperial County created a facilities inventory and map. The information is being used for distribution of County services, with consideration to transportation infrastructure.
- Master fee schedule for all county services – a master fee schedule was created and is accessible on the Imperial County Website. It was the first steps of a consolidated business permit and fee application model, identified in the Strategic Plan.
Resources and Economic Development
- Promote the Salton Sea Initiative by incentivizing energy development in the South Salton Sea – The Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area was included in the Imperial County General Plan Update. 2015.
- Hold the State of California accountable for the contractual obligation of mitigation and restoration of the Salton Sea – Imperial County testified during the State Water Resources Board Salton Sea Workshop on March 18, 2015. Imperial County, with Imperial Irrigation District, is compelling the State of California to honor its obligation. $80 million dollar allocation in the Governor’s Budget announcement is testimony to Imperial County’s successful activities.
- Promote increased energy transmission form Imperial County – Imperial County formally supported Imperial Irrigation District in their anti-trust lawsuit against the California independent System Operator, for not recognizing current transmission capacity from Imperial County.
- Complete the General Plan Amendment with Energy Overlay, but respect private property rights by reducing the fee costs associated with developing unproductive ground – Imperial County rejected the Department of Interior’s designation of all irrigated farmland as renewable energy development area in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan; subsequently, Imperial County’s land use authority was preserved. Imperial County passed and adopted the General Plan Update with Renewable Energy Overlay in September 2015.
- Support imperial County Applicants for State and Federal Boards and Commissions – Hidali Garcia, from Brawley was appointed to the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Board.
- Promote Imperial County as the vocational education center of renewable energy by coordinating with private industry and the California State University System – San Diego State is developing a resident engineering program for the Imperial Valley Campus.
Imperial County Pride
- Acknowledge citizenship every month and/or annually. Create the “Citizenship Medal” for heroism, altruism or accumulative acts of benevolence – Imperial County “Medal of Merit” given on December 8, 2015.
- Fix the “Imperial County” display in the State Capital – Imperial County Display was installed and operational on November 24, 2015.
- Hold a contest for 7th and 8th graders to design an Imperial County Flag – Contest was expanded to include all age group form K-12 and adult population. Contest is still open until January 25, 2016
- Hire a Communications Officer for Imperial County. Get our message out and present the valley the way we see it – Imperial County Public Information Officer hired in November 2015.