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County Builds On Its Efforts To Strengthen The County
At the end of June, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the County's $777 million budget. The budget reflects our priorities and values, and this year's budget continued to focus on the areas that residents have prioritized. While mostly a status quo budget, the Board voted to increase our funding for roads with the help of Measure D and SB1. We also set aside one-time funding for the Community Action Board, Barrios Unidos, Encompass and for Community Bridges' Meals on Wheels. We approved funding for a new program focused on downtown Santa Cruz called Homeless Outreach and Proactive Services (HOPES) that seeks to find supportive services for those in our community in need of mental health or substance use disorder services.
The budget reflects the work that the Board has committed to do in strengthening the County's financial foundation. Our Board voted five years ago to triple our reserves to ensure we had adequate resources to ride out the next storm, whether it comes from nature or is man-made. We set out to do it in seven years and accomplished it in five years. This committed fiscal prudence resulted in our credit rating improving to its highest level, which in turn will mean lower costs whenever we have to borrow money. We have reduced our structural imbalance from a high of $12 million to around $5 million. On our continued path, we will retire two-thirds of the County's debt in the next ten years. We have worked to continue to reduce costs and this year we undertook a major solar installation at all County facilities. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, this investment will save us over $25 million over the next 20 years. Lastly, we led the state in working with our employees to reduce future pension and health care liability costs by signing new agreements that save us over $150 million in the next thirty years. In a signal of how difficult it is to achieve these successes, our neighbor to the south, Monterey County, faced a $36 million deficit and laid off over 100 employees this year.
During budget hearings we heard a number of ideas and plans that could benefit our county but for which we don't have resources at this moment. We heard about new program possibilities that deal with issues addressing homelessness and ideas for more effective strategies to address the needs of the significant number people experiencing mental health issues in our community. We also heard about improvements needed to the physical infrastructure at our parks, libraries and county facilities. We asked our County Administrative Officer to return at our first meeting in August with funding strategies that will help accomplish these critical goals. We have shown that by working together we can accomplish many goals. I look forward to continuing this discussion with the community as we further our work to address unmet needs in the unincorporated county.

Soquel Creek Water District - Pure Water Soquel DRAFT EIR 
For those of you who are not part of the Soquel Creek Water District Newsletter, I wanted to pass this content along (directly from their newsletter) so that you are aware of the Districts environmental review process for their Pure Water Soquel Project: 

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Pure Water Soquel Project (Project) has been prepared. The Project is comprised of various facilities and pipelines, including: an advanced water purification system; pipelines for conveyance of source water, brine, and purified water; and groundwater recharge wells. The Project would involve the advanced purification of treated municipal wastewater for groundwater aquifer recharge, to help address critical overdraft conditions in the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin and to prevent further seawater intrusion. The Draft EIR is available for public review online at . See website for locations to view in person. 

There is a 45-day review & comment period from June 29 to August 13, 2018.  During this time, a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 31 from 6-8pm at Twin Lakes Church, 2701 Cabrillo College Dr., Monschke Hall, Aptos, CA 95003.  The meeting will include an open house with information stations followed by a short presentation and then a public comment period.  

Comments on the Draft EIR can be submitted three ways. 
  1. Via U.S. Postal Service to Pure Water Soquel Project CEQA, 4041 Soquel Drive, Ste. A-501, Soquel, CA 95073-3105; 
  2. Via email (
  3. At the Public Meeting being held on July 31, 2018 
A Community Guide been also been created which is a 20-page handbook to the Draft EIR and is intended to provide a summary of the proposed project and key elements of the environmental analysis provided in the Draft EIR, including design features, mitigation measures, and feasible alternatives. The handbook also provides information about the environmental review process and how to provide comments on the Draft EIR. The  Community Handbook is available here  (pdf, 13MB).
Family Movie Night Series Continues

Our free Family Movie Nights Series continues in the plaza at the Heart of Soquel Park located at 4740 Soquel Drive.  Join us for the third movie night on Thursday, July 19 for the screening of
Despicable Me 3. Tortilla Flats restaurant will provide a limited quantity of complimentary flatbreads, burritos, and chips and salsa starting at 7:00 pm along with Soquel Elementary School selling popcorn to support some of their programs.  
Don't miss out on the opportunity to perform with the Ugly Mug's open mic musicians before the movie begins.  If you are interested, please sign up at or calling (831) 477-1341.  Many thanks again to our generous sponsors Dignity Health Medical Foundation and Dominican Hospital for making this series possible for our community.  If you or your business is interested in helping to sponsor future movie nights, please contact my office.     The show will begin as soon as the sun goes down. Click HERE for more information.  Hope to see you under the stars!

Pure Water Soquel Project Draft EIR Community Meeting

Tuesday, July 31
6 to 8 p.m.
Twin Lakes Church
Monschke Hall
2701 Cabrillo College Drive


5:30-6:30 p.m.
Porter Memorial Library
3050 Porter Street

5:30-6:30 p.m.
People's Coffee
1200 17th Avenue 
Live Oak


5:30-6:30 p.m.
Loma Prieta School Community Room
23845 Summit Road
Summit Area

Not paid for with County funds