Sonoma County is in its full autumn glory, and we hope you’re finding time to enjoy the spectacular colors. We also hope you will take time to enjoy this latest issue of the SoCo Correspondent, which features a report on how the county has invested $39 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to support communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You will also find updates on the county’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, limit rent increases in mobile home parks, and ban e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco.

As always, we encourage you to share this newsletter with friends, colleagues and family members or urge them to sign up for the SoCo Correspondent so they can receive it directly, normally on the first and third week of each month.


¿Está interesado en leer sobre lo que hace el Condado de Sonoma dos veces al mes? Este boletín estará disponible en español. Regístrese aquí para suscribirse a nuestro boletín, el SoCo Correspondent.

New report details impact of ARPA funding

in Sonoma County

What can $39 million of investments through community-based organizations do for residents? The county found out at the Oct. 24 Board of Supervisors meeting, where staff presented an update on American Rescue Plan Act funding for community-based organizations that have supported hundreds of Sonoma County residents through programs that bolster food security, provide job training, strengthen mental health, expand rural broadband and many other local programs.


The community projects were initially selected in May 2022 to receive money from ARPA, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021. The Board of Supervisors prioritized funding to help people who suffered the most during the COVID-19 pandemic while strengthening community organizations that are best positioned to serve the county’s most marginalized residents.


ARPA has funded 487,000 meal equivalents delivered. Almost 450 people have received direct financial assistance. More than 100 people have received workforce development and career preparation training, and 175 people have received intensive mental health supports.


The Board approved funding or tentative funding for another year for 26 of the projects, ensuring that ARPA funds will continue to make an impact on the community

Learn more about the American Rescue Plan Act

County partners with Santa Rosa, Burbank Housing, private sector to create affordable housing for seniors

Photo credit: City of Santa Rosa

Six years after the Tubbs fire destroyed the Journey’s End mobile home park in north Santa Rosa, a new affordable housing development for seniors has risen in its place.


The development, Laurel at Perennial Park, is the result of a partnership between the City of Santa Rosa, the county’s Community Development Commission, Santa Rosa nonprofit Burbank Housing and Related California, a San Francisco developer. The state and federal government and the private sector also helped to fund the project, which will ensure that people with modest incomes have an affordable place to live for many decades to come.


“Aspirational projects like this can succeed, against all odds, when we work together at all levels of government, from local to federal, arm in arm with philanthropy and the private sector,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors.


The Community Development Commission contributed $2.9 million to the first two phases of the project, which developed 132 affordable apartments for low- and very low-income seniors. It has pledged nearly $159,000 to the third phase, which will add 30 additional units with construction anticipated to start in early 2025.


When completed, the development will also contain approximately 260 market-rate units, transforming the site into a mixed-income, multi-generational community. The Mendocino Avenue development, which celebrated its grand opening last month, marks an important milestone in Santa Rosa's recovery from the 2017 wildfires. 

Find out more about the development

County expands ‘Clean Commute’ options for employees  

The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion by getting more people out of their cars. One way to do that is by increasing the alternatives – and incentives – for people who are willing to use cleaner forms of transportation.


Last month, the Board of Supervisors upgraded the county’s Clean Commute Employee Benefit Program. It includes a partnership between Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa CityBus that would allow county and city employees to ride both bus systems for free simply by showing their employee ID badges. The program is scheduled to start in January, if approved by the Santa Rosa City Council at its Nov. 14 meeting.


Under the expanded Clean Commute program, county employees also will be provided free electric vehicle charging for up to three hours at 46 different county-operated charging station ports and free bike parking at 28 bike storage lockers located on the county campus. County employees also will receive an increase in the monthly incentive for Clean Commute Program participants from $40 to $100.


“As one of the region’s largest employers, we have an obligation to encourage and provide solutions for our employees in this collective effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “This innovative program not only helps take metric tons of CO2 out of the air, but it also provides incentive for employees to get and stay active for long-term health well-being.”  

Learn more about the county’s Clean Commute program

County acts to limit size of rent increases

in mobile home parks

Photo of a mobile home park - Foto de un parque de casas móviles

Rents in mobile home parks in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County could increase no more than 4 percent annually or as much as 70 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, under a plan tentatively approved by the Board of Supervisors in October.


The revisions to the county’s mobile home ordinance bring Sonoma County’s policy in line with recent updates passed by neighboring cities. If finalized by the Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 7 meeting, the rental cap would take effect Dec. 7.


“Individuals living in mobile homes often are lower-income and have little choice when the landlord raises the rent on their park space,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “While they own their home, they are unable to pick up and move it elsewhere. The amendments to this ordinance are similar to those used by local municipalities and are designed to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”


The amendments would also allow a mobile home park owner to raise rents up to 5 percent when an on-site mobile home changes ownership. Currently, the county caps annual increases at 6 percent or 100 percent of annual CPI, whichever is less. The county also does not have any limits on increases when a mobile home changes owners. 

Find out more about the county’s mobile home ordinance

Find room to grow with a county job

Scenic photos of Sonoma County with a start here message for seeking career opportunities

Are you looking for a new job? Thinking about career options for the future? Learn how you can take the next step in your professional life and join the County of Sonoma family!


Start Here! is a virtual class that provides an overview of the county’s job application, examination and selection processes. The two-hour session provides information on how to submit a thorough application, best practices for the interview and examination, and much more. Send an email to [email protected] and we will invite you to future class opportunities. Let us help guide you through the county’s selection process.

Explore current job openings

County moves to ban e-cigarettes, flavored tobacco

Flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes will no longer be available in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County soon after the Board of Supervisors voted to ban the sale of these products on Oct. 24. The changes to the county’s tobacco retail ordinance were a response to public health data that show e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco use increasing among high school-aged youth.


In Sonoma County, 46 percent of 11th graders said they have used an e-cigarette, and 76 percent report that it is “fairly” or “very” easy to obtain e-cigarettes, according to the California Healthy Kids Survey. The devices, also known as vapes, can cause serious health implications, according to medical researchers A 2022 scientific statement from the American Heart Association outlines negative effects to the body and mind, including to pulmonary and cardiovascular function, brain health and addiction, mental health and sleep health.


Sonoma County’s ordinance aligns with the cities of Petaluma, Sebastopol and Windsor, which have also outlawed the sale of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco. Since 2022, California law has prohibited the sale of most flavored tobacco products, with some exemptions.


The county ordinance will take effect 30 days after the Nov. 7 second reading.

View the report about youth tobacco use

Ag + Open Space partners to conserve

Gillis Ranch Preserve

Gillis Ranch Preserve, a 139-acre working ranch south of Sebastopol, is now conserved for future generations thanks to a partnership between its new owners and Sonoma County Ag + Open Space.


The farm was bought last month by Greg Gillis, with Lorri and Oscar Duckworth as minority owners. At the time of the sale, Ag + Open Space purchased a conservation easement over the ranch for $2.5 million. The property, located near another Ag + Open Space easement on Duckworth Family Farm, will be used for regenerative grazing and other low-intensity agricultural operations. The buyers also intend to offer guided field trips and tours of the property, expanding upon their commitment to connect communities to agriculture and the natural world. Additionally, Ag + Open Space is helping the new owners explore opportunities for collaboration that could support restoration projects in Cunningham Marsh and along Volkerts and Blucher creeks.


“Connecting youth and families to conserved lands helps show why this work is so important,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who also serves as a director of Ag + Open Space. “With the conservation of Gillis Ranch Preserve, we’re seeing folks who have long been committed to connecting our communities to agricultural and open space lands expand their work, and we are truly grateful to the Duckworths and Gillis.”


This deal is the latest acquisition for Ag + Open Space, which has conserved more than 124,000 acres of natural and working lands countywide.

Find out more about Gillis Ranch Preserve

County widens study on alternatives

for veterans building in Guerneville

What’s the best way to create a public gathering space in the lower Russian River area when the county replaces the Veterans Memorial Building in Guerneville? The answer will come from a study recently approved by the Board of Supervisors to explore alternatives for the facility.


The 66-year-old building is slated for replacement under the five-year capital improvement plan adopted in September by the Board of Supervisors. A new facility may house law enforcement, fire services and emergency management staff. Last month, the board expanded the scope of planning and design work to explore additional off-site public amenities such as open park areas and gathering space. 

“It is critical for the lower Russian River communities to have a space for public events, gatherings and recreation,” said District 5 Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who represents the area. “Before we replace the Veterans Memorial Building, the county needs to conduct bilingual community outreach and consider potential alternatives for a public gathering space. This expanded study will ensure these steps are taken.”

Learn more about the project

Improvements coming to Helen Putnam Regional Park

Sonoma County Regional Parks will be making improvements to Helen Putnam Regional Park outside Petaluma, thanks to nearly $321,000 in funding from Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit.


SMART agreed to pay for the improvements to offset the environmental impacts of its planned bike and pedestrian path near San Rafael between McInnis and Smith Ranch roads. As part of the project, native trees and shrubs will be planted along riparian areas in Helen Putnam Regional Park near the Arroyo Trail/Cattail Trail by the Chileno Valley trailhead. The improvements will help reduce erosion, improve water quality, sequester carbon and beautify public land.


“South county’s much-loved Helen Putnam Regional Park is going to be even better with an enhanced riparian corridor,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt, who represents the 2nd District. “We are grateful to SMART for investing their mitigation funds in our open spaces and improving recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.”


The popular park, located southwest of Petaluma, has approximately 6 miles of trails that wind through oak woodlands and grassy hillsides. Ridge-top trails provide panoramic views of Petaluma and the southern Sonoma County countryside.


The Board of Supervisors approved the agreement last month and the SMART Board of Directors is scheduled to finalize it on Nov. 17.

Visit Helen Putnam Regional Park

Public input sought on ways to improve county

for people who walk and bike

How can we make Sonoma County more accessible to people who walk or bike to their destination? The county wants to hear your ideas.


The Sonoma County Transportation Authority is creating an Active Transportation Plan that will set priorities to support “human-powered” modes of travel such as walking, biking or using mobility devices. It needs your input to identify needs, barriers and opportunities to ensure a successful Active Transportation Plan. You can provide feedback by filling out a survey, attending an upcoming meeting, or adding pins to a digital map identifying areas that need improvement.


The Sonoma County Transportation Authority acts as the countywide planning and fund programming agency for transportation. It is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors representing each of the nine cities and the county Board of Supervisors. 

Help shape the Active Transportation Plan

Free holiday parking at Regional Parks

for veterans and active-duty military

In appreciation of their service, veterans, active-duty military and their families can receive free parking at all Sonoma County Regional Parks on the Veterans Day holiday weekend.


Veterans, military members and family are eligible for a special pass that waives the $7 day-use parking fee from Friday, Nov. 10, through Sunday, Nov. 12. Passes may be obtained in advance by showing a valid military identification card, a Veterans Affairs card, a veteran’s identification card or an honorable discharge record at one of the following locations:


  • County of Sonoma's Veterans Services, 3725 Westwind Blvd., Suite 100, in Santa Rosa, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed Friday, Nov. 10).
  • Sonoma County Regional Parks, 2300 County Center Drive, Suite 120A, in Santa Rosa, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed Friday, Nov. 10).
  • Doran Regional Park, 201 Doran Beach Road, in Bodega Bay. Passes will be available at Doran beginning Oct. 15 and through the holiday weekend.


Regional Parks offers the passes with support from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to honor the sacrifices and contributions of local veterans and their families. The county also offers a year-round Distinguished Veterans Day-Use Pass, which provides free parking to disabled war veterans, former prisoners of war and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. For information, visit

Plan a visit to one of the county’s 58 parks

Sheriff’s Office renews dog training program at jail

Humans may be able to train a dog to sit, but dogs can teach us lessons that are much more valuable, including virtues like loyalty, patience, responsibility and forgiveness.

It’s one reason the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Bergin College of Canine Studies to teach people who are incarcerated how to train and care for service dogs. Since 2015, the program has graduated more than 37 service dogs that help people with disabilities navigate life.

This fall, five people incarcerated in the Sonoma County jail are participating in the 11-week program. Participants not only learn dog commands, grooming and vet care, but also valuable life skills and tips to successfully re-enter the community after they are released from custody.

“Programs like the service dog program provide invaluable resources,” said Deputy Rob Dillion, spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. “Not only do the participants gain skills and knowledge but they have the potential to also help provide a service dog companion for someone. We are proud to partner with Bergin College of Canine Studies to bring the program back and look forward to seeing the exciting results.”

View a video about the program

Two county websites win national recognition

Most people know that Sonoma County is home to some of the nation’s best wine, beer, food and scenic vistas. But did you know we also have some of the best government websites in the United States?


The county’s Information Systems Department recently won two of the 11 Pinnacle Awards issued by the National Association of Government Web Professionals. The awards celebrate the best in government web communications, design, development and innovation.


Regional Parks’ website was honored in the “Microsite/Special Feature” category, while the Economic Development Board was honored in the “City/County Custom Website” category for its Sonoma County Connections website, which promotes the county’s nine incorporated cities and multiple unincorporated communities. 

“This is a credit to staff members of the Economic Development Board, Regional Parks and the county’s web team for their work and collaboration on these award-winning websites,” said Dan Fruchey, director of the county’s Information Systems Department. “These awards are a reflection of our hard work and the pride we have for our region.” 

Support your community by getting involved

Get involved with local government

Make a difference in Sonoma County! Local government thrives when passionate individuals like you step up to serve. There are countless opportunities for you to get involved and play a crucial role in shaping the future of our beloved Sonoma County. Check out the current vacancies: 


Your involvement can make a significant impact. Take the first step and explore how you can contribute to a brighter future for Sonoma County.

Find out more and apply online

Adopt the pet of the month

My name is Big Mac. I’m a 102-pound Anatolian Shepherd mix who is just under 3 years old. I was very overwhelmed when I came to the shelter as a stray, but staff has been working with me to help me understand the world is not such a scary place. I’m a true gentle giant but will need continued socialization, a quiet home with experienced adults, and ample time to adjust. I do like other dogs, but can have a hard time handling it when too much is going on around me..


Big Mac is one of dozens of cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals at Sonoma County Animal Services in need of adoption.

View animals available for adoption

Volunteer and employment opportunities

Clothes pins on a string hold up printed speech bubbles that say "We need you"

Volunteer opportunities

Make a difference in your community. Find out how you can give back here.

A person in a white shirt and blue tie holds up a blackboard with the words "Employment Opportunity" spelled out very neatly in chalk.

Employment opportunities

Take your next career step with the County of Sonoma. Explore employment opportunities here.

In the news

(stories may require subscriptions)

Upcoming events

A megaphone against the backdrop of a blackboard with chalk writing that says, "Save the Date!"

Upcoming events

Nov. 2 -- Planning Commission

Nov. 7 -- Board of Supervisors

Nov. 8 -- Springs Municipal Advisory Council

Nov. 9 -- Lower Russian River Municipal Advisory Council

Nov. 9 -- Commission on the Status of Women

Nov. 10 -- Veterans Day (most government offices closed)

Nov. 15 -- Continuum of Care Board

Nov. 15 -- Community Development Committee

Nov. 16 -- Planning Commission

Nov. 16 -- Coast Municipal Advisory Council

Nov. 16 -- Dry Creek Valley Citizens Advisory Council

Nov. 21 -- North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council

Nov. 21 -- Mental Health Board

Nov. 23-24 -- Thanksgiving Holiday (most government offices closed)

Nov. 28 -- Board of Supervisors

Nov. 28 -- Human Rights Commission

Dec. 5 -- Board of Supervisors

Dec. 6 -- IOLERO Community Advisory Council

Dec. 7 -- Planning Commission


Getting outside and enjoying the county

Nov. 5 -- Storywalk Community Celebration - Helen Putnam Regional Park

Nov. 11 -- Science Saturdays: Craft A Habitat - Spring Lake Regional Park

Nov. 17 -- Hikes With Hounds - Riverfront Regional Park

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A publication of the County Administrator’s Office – Communications Staff