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Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) head, Timothy Lutz, pointed out Tulare’s declining COVID 1.4% case rate, six recently confirmed hospitalizations, and 177,085 residents vaccinated.
With the request from the HHSA, the board of supervisors unanimously ratified an “order by the Tulare County Director of Emergency Services Rescinding and Repealing Prior Emergency Orders” related to COVID-19.
The supervisors agreed to extend the deadline for applying for the SQF Complex Fire Disaster Alternative Program for debris removal and cleanup from December 31, 2020, to July 31, 2021.
The Tulare County Board of Supervisors, according to its website, sets policy for County departments, oversees the County budget, adopts ordinances on local matters, and establishes land-use policies that affect unincorporated areas of Tulare County.
They respond to the needs of County constituents daily by meeting or discussing issues individually with County community members to help resolve problems and address their concerns.
The meeting is held live on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 9:00 am through the county’s YouTube channel.
Tulare County Board of Supervisors Members present:
Larry Micari (District One), Pete Vander Poel (District Two), Amy Shuklian (Chair-District Three), Eddie Valero (Vice Chair-District Four), Dennis Townsend (District Five), Jason T. Britt (County Administrative Officer), Jennifer M. Flores (County Counsel), and Melinda Benton (Chief Clerk).
After the pledge of allegiance and moment of silence, each member of the Board of Supervisors gave updates of their meetings with various organizations. Director Shuklian marked the declining unemployment rate in the county and a rise of 300 retail jobs.
Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) head Timothy Lutz noted Tulare’s declining COVID 1.4% case rate, six recently confirmed hospitalizations, and 177,085 residents vaccinated. In addition, since the “winter surge,” he said cases are “leveling off,” making Tulare the only county in the Central Valley in the “yellow metrics.”
Then, he stated that the agency had vaccinated 30% of residents in the county. However, from staff assessments, the incentives such as the lottery and gift cards had “no discernible change” in vaccination rates since May 23, 2021. In addition, HHSA had set up mobile times and pop-up sites to test and vaccinate people below the Health and Equity metric.
He was open to state on-site personnel suggestions and ensured masking rules align with state and CDC guidelines. For instance, fully vaccinated people are not required to mask, except indoors, childcare, transportation, correctional, and homeless facilities. Hence, businesses are responsible for enforcement.
He maintained “no timeline” for a vaccine database while waiting for the state public officer to conduct an epidemiology report on September 1, 2021.
Outreach is “ongoing” in press releases and social media with available information in English and Spanish. He thanked response workers and for their performance “exceeding” 10% of the state average.
Despite new COVID variants such as the Delta strain from India, he stressed vaccination to boost the immune system. Members Micari and Valero thanked the healthcare responders’ commitment amidst “daunting tasks.”
Katharine McDonagh, the attorney representing Tony Gomes, called for reinstating her client as a mapper in Tulare County. She added that his department violated Personnel Rule 12.5 ba when the notice of termination was not signed and denied “any impartial hearing.”
Scott James, a taxpayer from Springville, pleaded with the board to take over the Ponderosa Community Services. He cited problems such as asbestos in the piping, snow removal contractors sued by the Department of Labor for tax evasion due to unpaid wages, and “division in the community.”
All supervisors approved 5-0 the consent agenda (from items 5 through 27) in total, while mainly discussing the following items:
#10. Under General Services Agency, the supervisors approved a license agreement between the County of Tulare and the American Refuse, Inc. for the use of Assessor’s Parcel Number 318-130-001, known as the Earlimart Transfer Station, with a monthly license fee of $500, for a three-year term, effective July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2024.
#23. The supervisors agreed to extend the deadline for applying for the SQF Complex Fire Disaster Alternative Program for debris removal and cleanup from December 31, 2020, to July 31, 2021. In addition, they extended the deadline for completing work for the SQF Complex Fire Disaster Alternative Program from June 30, 2021, to May 31, 2022. Finally, they ratified the acceptance of applications for the SQF Complex Fire Disaster Alternative Program after the original deadline of December 31, 2020.
#28. The supervisors approved the agreement, from the request of the County Administrative Office, with the Allen Law Firm, Inc. as the contractor, and Marcus Torigian, as Contingency Contractor, to provide conflict defender services, in an amount not to exceed $8 million, effective July 1, 2021.
#29. With the request from the HHSA, the board ratified an “order by the Tulare County Director of Emergency Services Rescinding and Repealing Prior Emergency Orders” related to COVID-19.
#30. With the request from the Solid Waste Department, the board authorized the reopening of the Woodville Landfill for Non-Refuse Disposal, effective Oct. 1, 2021. The body approved reducing services to Refuse-only Disposal at the Teapot Dome landfill effective October 1, 2021. Then, they supported the complete relocation of disposal services to the Woodville Landfill effective July 1, 2022.
The meeting moved to a close session at 10:43 am. In Agenda Item D, The board decided “unanimously” to adopt the administerial law judge’s recommended findings, conclusions, and proposed decisions regarding a person with the post of Cadastral Mapping Technician 2.
The next board meeting will be on June 22, 2021 in-person.
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