February 2024 Newsletter

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A Message from Supervisor Coursey

Even with an extra day this leap year, February is flying by. At the county, we’ve spent our days working on climate action, improving our service delivery and public communications. As you’ll read below, the Board recently approved plans for a local composting facility to bolster our goals of carbon neutrality by processing up to 65,000 tons of organic waste here at home instead of hauling it out of the county. Among other initiatives in the last month, the Board also reviewed a promising plan for a Climate Action and Innovation Center. Read on to find out more about these and other exciting projects currently underway.

In addition to climate action, we’ve been hard at work to improve our service delivery through strategic measures that aim to fill and sustain current vacancies at the county. Our communications team also recently launched a podcast series to make your local government more accessible and transparent. We’ve included more on these items below. 

In this newsletter, we’ve collected all the latest county news on the issues you care about most. We’ve also added information and resources on upcoming events, community announcements and local happenings. As always, we appreciate your engagement and look forward to hearing from you. 


Chris Coursey


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What's Happening at the County of Sonoma?

Sonoma County Outlines Efforts to Fill Vacancies

The vacancy rate in the County of Sonoma’s workforce declined to 11.5 percent in January, down from 12.3 percent at the end of 2022, according to a new report presented this month to the Board of Supervisors.

The presentation outlined impacts of the county’s efforts to further reduce vacancies. These include offering financial incentives, increasing telework options, accelerating the hiring process and removing barriers to employment.

If you are looking for work or considering a career change, this is a great time to explore job opportunities with the County of Sonoma. Current job opportunities are posted here.

Learn More

Local Parks Tax Supports $14 Million in Improvements

Crucial updates and new projects are taking place at parks throughout the county thanks to $14 million in Measure M sales tax revenue per the latest Measure M annual report.

Regional Parks directed funds toward facility renovations, increasing extreme weather resiliency and promoting equitable access at parks and facilities. Cities tackled deferred maintenance projects, installed new playground equipment and sports areas, built new trails, and addressed climate change in their parks.

“The power of this collaboration goes beyond municipal boundaries and offers massive benefits to the community,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey. “Parks are being redeveloped and trails are being built. Programs are connecting youth and families with the outdoors. And the county and cities are leveraging this tax funding for additional revenue from state, federal and private grants. I’m proud that Sonoma County is a part of this partnership with our cities.”

Learn More

Sonoma County Launches 'SoCo Chat' Podcast

The County of Sonoma invites residents to tune into our new digital podcast series SoCo Chat. The series, available on SpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon MusicYouTube as well as the county website, highlights current issues, stories, local events, policy initiatives, and county news.

With new segments available each week, the program will feature in-depth discussions with county leaders, staff and partners as well as anecdotes and trivia questions that will allow listeners to win prizes and engage. 

Learn More & Listen In

Climate Action Made Local

Center for Climate Action & Innovation

Considered at SDC

In 2022, the county won a $250,000 grant to explore the feasibility of creating a Center for Climate Action and Innovation at the former Sonoma Developmental Center campus south of Glen Ellen.

This month Permit Sonoma released a business plan outlining ways to create a hub on the property where government, universities, nonprofits, and businesses can work together to find new responses to the ongoing climate crisis. The center could provide valuable research and development activity, adding new jobs and diversity to the county’s economy while affirming Sonoma County’s place at the forefront of climate resiliency and adaptation.

Learn More & Access the Plan 

Supervisors Approve Plan to

Create Advanced Composting Facility

What happens to the grass clippings, leaves, and other organic material that we place in our green recycling bin every week?

Currently, it’s hauled to composting facilities outside of Sonoma County. But the county wants to change that. Last month the Board of Supervisors authorized planning for the first centralized composting facility in Sonoma County.

The facility will process 65,000 tons of organic material each year. By reducing trucking trips and utilizing solar and other renewable technologies the initiative will contribute to the County’s goal to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2030.

Learn More

Supervisors Extend Temporary Tree Removal Ban

The Board of Supervisors extended a temporary moratorium on cutting down protected trees for another four months while Permit Sonoma works on updating a 35-year-old woodland protection ordinance. In December, the Board directed staff to make changes to the Tree Ordinance and adopted the 45-day moratorium as a placeholder. Their latest vote extends the moratorium until May 31.

The moratorium prohibits the removal of 31 species of protected trees 6 inches in diameter or greater at breast height, with limited exceptions. The Board of Supervisors is expected to consider the updated Tree Protection Ordinance before the moratorium expires on May 31. 

Learn More

Public Transit & Transportation

Bikeshare Coming to the North Bay


Transportation Authority of Marin and Sonoma County Transportation Authority have partnered to bring a bikeshare program to the North Bay. The program is scheduled to launch in summer 2024 and we want to get your help in choosing a name!

The proposed Bike Share Pilot Program will bring pedal electric assist bicycles (Class I e-bikes) and approximately 75 parking hubs with wayfinding and advertising signage to sections of Sonoma and Marin counties. The initial system network will also include modular bicycle parking racks for shared bicycles to lock.

Visit the online bikeshare survey here.

SMART Strategic Plan Workshops

Mark your calendar to join SMART for a series of strategy workshops to gather community insight and feedback regarding SMART’s Strategic Plan and specifically passenger rail service, pathways, rail extensions, and freight services.

Let's shape the future of SMART together! Below are dates for the series of online Workshops:

  • Feb 28: Multiuse Pathway
  • Mar 14: Railway Extensions
  • Mar 27: Freight Services
Learn More & Register

Apply for the SMART Citizens Oversight Committee!

Residents are invited to apply to the SMART Citizens Oversight Committee (COC), an advisory body established by the SMART Board of Directors to represent the diversity of Sonoma and Marin counties.

COC members hold quarterly meetings, issue reports, and provide input related to the SMART the Strategic Plan among other important duties.

Members may self-identify or be nominated by local organizations including:

  • Local financial, business or taxpayer organizations
  • Environmental, voting, and transit advocacy groups
  • Major Sonoma and Marin County employers
  • Organizations representing seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities.
  • Advocacy groups representing bicyclists, pedestrians, and passengers.
  • School districts and colleges. Parents and educators may be considered eligible candidates.
  • Disadvantaged communities, minority groups and civil rights organizations

Learn More

Building Wildfire Resilience

Apply for $1 Million in Grants to Reduce Wildfire Risk

Sonoma County is now accepting applications for $1 million in grants to fund projects that protect residents from wildfires by creating fuel breaks, expanding defensible space around homes, and removing vegetation along evacuation routes in fire-prone landscapes. 

The Vegetation Management Grant Program provides funding in wildfire-prone areas to support the work of local fire districts, schools, communities with Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), Resource Conservation Districts, community groups, nonprofit organizations, licensed foresters, Tribal entities, and resource managers.

Applications are due by 3 pm on March 28, 2024.

Join an informational webinar on February 27, or March 12 from 5-6:30pm. 

Register, Apply and Learn More

Lower Your Insurance Risk with SoCo Adapts

SoCoAdapts and Sonoma County want to help you lower your insurance premiums, give you more choices in insurance plans, and contribute to a safer community. And qualify for $10,000 in rebates! How? Through a free Wildfire Risk Assessment.

Benefits of the Wildfire Risk Assessment include:

  • Lower Insurance Premiums
  • More Insurance Options
  • Enhanced Community Safety
  • Eligibility for $10,000 in rebates!!
Learn More

Public Service Announcements

Check the Mailbox for Your March 5th Election Ballot

Ballots for the March 5 presidential primary election have begun landing in mailboxes. This election, you have more ways to cast your ballot in a presidential election than ever before.

Once you have filled out your ballot, you may:

  • Send it back in the mail, postmarked on or before March 5 and received by March 12.
  • Drop it off at one of the county’s 21 official ballot drop-boxes, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until 8 p.m. on March 5.
  • Return it directly to the Registrar of Voters Office during regular business hours. It is located at 435 Fiscal Dr. in Santa Rosa.

Prefer to vote in person? Stop by one of the county’s 31 official vote centers. View an interactive map of the county’s vote centers and official ballot drop-boxes here.

Visit the Official March 5th Election Page

Public Hearing Notice – Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) - February 8 through March 11, 2024


A draft of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) assessment, formerly known as the Assessment of Fair Housing, for Sonoma County is now available for public review.

The draft AFFH is a requirement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of all participating jurisdictions of federal grant programs. The public comment period is: February 8 through March 11, 2024. Information on how to submit public comment and the public hearing scheduled for this assessment can be found here.

Learn More

Access Benefits Online!

Do you receive CalFresh, Medi-Cal or CalWorks? You can now manage your benefits online at BenefitsCal.com.

Create an account today to upload documents, get notifications about key deadlines, check your card balance, and more.

BenefitsCal.com is an online portal where Californians can get and manage benefits, including food assistance through CalFresh (formerly food stamps), affordable health insurance through Medi-Cal, and cash aid through CalWORKs, General Assistance, and the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

Skip the line! Do it online!

Learn More

Events and Community Bulletin

Celebrate Black History Month!

February is Black History Month, a time to recognize, celebrate and honor the diverse history, culture and contributions of Black Americans.

This Black History month, visit the Sonoma County Library website to explore events, activities and educational resources, participate in one of the many events hosted by Sonoma State University and Check out the Museum of Sonoma County to register for a special event with local artist Rose Hill, in discussion with Denise Ward. The talk will be focused on Black Americana and its place in American History and our collective experience.

We’ve included additional links below for more events, information and resources:

Recycle Your Mattress

If you are one of the many shoppers who purchased a new mattress this Presidents Day weekend, remember that there are some no-cost, easy ways to keep your unwanted one out of the landfill or from becoming illegally dumped in our community. Learn more about retailer take back, recycling options and more at www.ByeByeMattress.com

Learn More

Sonoma County Restaurant Week Feb 19-25

Feb. 19-25 is Sonoma County Restaurant Week, your chance to try out new places that serve great food and beverages, support small businesses AND help sustain our local economy! No tickets or passes are required, and you can go to as many restaurants as you like. Each restaurant will have at least one preset menu to choose from:

  • Lunch $10/$15/$25
  • Dinner $25/$35/$55
  • Sweet Perk $5
Learn More

IOLERO Strategic Planning Workshop

The Community Advisory Council (CAC) and IOLERO invites the public to participate in a 2024 Strategic Planning Workshop to be held on Saturday Feb. 24 from 10:00am.-2:00pm. The location will be at the Sonoma County Library, 9291 Old Redwood Hwy #100, in Windsor CA. 95492.

The purpose of the workshop is to set priorities for the CAC in 2024. Board of Supervisors Chairperson David Rabbitt and Sheriff Eddie Engram will address the CAC and public at the event.

Residents are encouraged to contribute ideas and feedback in writing before the workshop or in person during the workshop.

Comments in writing can be emailed to: [email protected].

Spanish Translation will be provided if requested by February 20, 2024.

Coffee, water, and a light lunch will be provided.

Learn More

Farmworker Resource Fair

Sonoma County Job Link in collaboration with many community partners will be hosting a Farmworker Resource Fair on Sunday March 3rd, 2024, 1:30-4pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Mary Agatha Furth Center, 8400 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor.

There will be food, music, danza, health screenings, and over 25 local agencies that provide information and support around housing, advocacy, immigration, tax preparation and more! We hope to see you there. For questions, please call (707)565-5550.

Learn More

North Bay Science Discovery Day

Join us for the North Bay Science Discovery Day on Saturday, March 9 from 10 am - 2 pm at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

North Bay Science Discovery Day is a FREE hands-on science, tech, engineering, & math event for all ages and families in Santa Rosa. See the flyer above for more information.

Visit the Event Page

Job & Resource Fair for the Unhoused

Join Sonoma County Job Link on Wednesday, March 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for the 2nd Annual Job & Resource Fair for unhoused resident and those at risk of becoming unhoused.

The event will have on-site employers, resource providers, a resume clinic, free haircuts and more! Lunch included for all participants along with a $25 Gift Card. 

Learn More
Supervisor Coursey