April 4, 2023 — Tulare County Board of Supervisors

Documented by Dani Huerta

 Here’s what you need to know

  • Chair Dennis Townsend presented the “State of the County,” with updates provided by various departments. Some updates and accomplishments: the Assessor’s Office received a modern property tax computer system that allows taxpayers to access taxpayer information online, the Tulare County Museum became a certified autism center and a new public health clinic opened in Visalia.
  • Fire Chief Charlie Norman provided an update on recent floodings. There are 600 employees assigned to the incident, which is down from 850 at the peak. Ongoing priorities are Kings River mitigation measures, providing assistance to isolated communities, temporary repairs to roads and bridges, and to safely move water through channels. The flood hotline will return to business hours Monday through Friday.
  • Neighbors of a rezoning project in Visalia questioned why they were not notified of the project during the public testimony segment of the public hearing. Aaron Bock of the Resource Management Agency explained that the public hearing is only to cancel the Williamson Act. Not all residents in the neighborhood were notified because only residents within 300 feet of the property are to be notified. Further development of the project will be presented to the board at future meetings.

Follow-up Questions

  • Were residents notified of the flood hotline’s new hours ahead of the change?
  • Will more residents of the neighborhood near the Visalia rezoning project be notified of further changes or do future notifications only apply to residents within 300 feet of the project?

Board of Supervisors

  • Larry Micari – Vice chair, District 1
  • Pete Vander Poel III, District 2
  • Amy Shuklian, District 3
  • Eddie Valero, District 4
  • Dennis Townsend – chair, District 5
  • Jason T. Britt, County Administrative Officer
  • Jennifer M. Flores, County Counsel
  • Melinda Benton, chief clerk

The Scene

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting was held simultaneously both in-person and streamed via YouTube at 9 a.m. on April 4, 2023. The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance and a moment of silence. 


  • “State of the County” presented by Chair Dennis Townsend.
    • He began by thanking the board and staff for their work and support. He said the county is strong despite the storms. 
    • County Administrative Officer updates
      • The county is well equipped to handle destruction from the recent storms.
      • A 7% cost-of-living increase was given to employees
    • Human Resources and development Department updates
      • A down payment assistance program was implemented to help employees afford a home.
      • Training was provided through Supervisory Academy courses and the National Association of Counties High performance leadership academy.
      • The county was awarded the excellence for high performance leadership award, placing first in the nation for enrollment and participation. 
      • 596 new hires
    • Assessor’s Office updates
      • It received a modern property tax computer system that allows taxpayers to access taxpayer information online. Online payment options will be added in the future.
    • Resource Management Agency updates
      • Over 3,000 code compliance inspections performed, 550 planning projects completed and 90 abandoned vehicles abated.
      • The largest road maintenance effort was completed, with 37 miles of roads repaired and overlaid.
    • Health and Human Services Agency updates
      • The Veterans Office assisted over 2,000 veterans
      • Animal Services responded to 6,300 calls, handled 700 pet adoptions and spayed/neutered over 2,000 animals
    • AG Commissioner’s Office updates
      • The Valley is the highest agricultural-producing region in the world. Tulare County’s produce is exported to more than 90 countries worldwide.
    • General Services Agency updates
      • The Tulare County Museum partnered with Visit Visalia to become a certified autism center.
      • Each of the county’s parks received upgrades.
    • The Registrar of Voters increased accessibility to residents in the mountain area.
    • Tulare County Fire Department handled two forest fires with no civilian injury as well as assisting with recent flooding.
    • Tulare County IT Department updates
      • 21,000 incident request tickets completed.
      • IT helped with voting accessibility in the mountain area.
    • Water and Electrical Security updates
      • Work on the Friant Kern Canal is still in progress
      • The county became administrator of the East-Orosi water system.
      • The largest solar project in the nation is set to break ground next month.
    • Infrastructure updates
      • A new public health clinic opened in Visalia and a new HHSA office in Dinuba. Two new sheriff substations, and a business incubator will be added.
      • Public Health lab expansion is planned. 
    • The Probation Department’s connection center uses a community-centered approach. 
    • Law Enforcement
      • Townsend thanked DA Tim Ward and Mike Boudreax of the Sheriff’s Department.
  • Board of Supervisors matters
    • Valero
      • Last week he met with city staff in Woodlake, spoke at the Well Conference and met with residents in Three Rivers. 
      • Upcoming is a Yosemite Sequoia RCDC meeting, a Three Rivers meeting on information access for seniors, Tulare County Forest Health Task Force meeting, Latino Caucus of California Counties meeting, Sequoia Kings Canyon quarterly update, Farmer Bob’s World meeting, Rep. Bob Costa will be visiting, and he will be attending the Community Services Employment Training (CSET) navigation center groundbreaking.
    • Shuklian
      • Last week she spoke to a political science class and attended the ribbon cutting for Common Heart coffee market.
      • Upcoming is a Mental Health Board meeting, TC Hope groundbreaking, Health Advisory Board meeting, California State Association of Counties (CSAC) legislative conference and the museum jamboree. 
    • Vander Poel
      • Last week the Avenue 56 raising project moved forward. 
      • Upcoming is a Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) meeting, San Joaquin Valley Insurance Authority Strategic Planning ad hoc committee meeting and the Visalia navigation center groundbreaking.
    • Micari
      • Last week he attended the Tulare County Farmer of the Year award, Lindsay Orange Blossom festival, Exeter AG boosters fundraiser, Woodville school softball and baseball clinic.
    • Supervisor Townsend
      • Last week was the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council meeting. 
      • Upcoming is a LAFCO meeting, Rotary breakfast meeting, Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency, Exeter Republican Women Federated, First Friday Coffee, tour of affected riverbanks, the Jackass Mail Run Ex-Wagonmaster Dance, Tule River improvement Joint Powers Authority and a Tulare County Water Commission meeting.  
  • Received an update from Norman on the status and response efforts regarding the March 2023 flood.
    • 600 employees are currently assigned to help with flood aftermath compared to 850 at the height of the incident. There have been over 170 water rescues with no civilian injuries or deaths.
    • Ongoing priorities are Kings River mitigation measures, providing assistance to isolated communities, temporary repairs to roads and bridges and to safely move water through channels.
    • Affected public projects are the Springville Wastewater Treatment Plant, Tonyville Wastewater Treatment Plant, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Bartlett Park.
    • The flood hotline is 559-802-9791. It will return to business hours Monday through Friday only. More information is available at tularecounty.ca.gov/emergencies/
  • (Approved) Consent Calendar (Items 6-20)
    • Item 14 was pulled off the calendar for discussion and item 9 was pulled for correction. The remainder of the consent calendar was approved.
      • The first sentence of the summary of Item 9 should have the date Nov. 3, 2020, and the second to last sentence should read Nov. 19, 2020.
      • Item 9 correction approved.
    • Some of the approved items included the OK of the ratification of an agreement with the Board of State and Community Corrections for the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (item 11), the ratification of all evacuation orders issued by the emergency services director between March 28 and April 3,  (item 18) and the ratification of a Proclamation of Local Health Emergency due to Flood Debris by the deputy county health officer on March 29 (item 19). 
  • Public hearing: Request from the Resource Management Agency (RMA) to approve Williamson Act Cancellation No. WAC 22-005 between the county and Sarjit S. Malli c/o Malli Investments, LP, to remove a 57.84-acre parcel from Agricultural Preserve No. 1300 and Williamson Act Contract No. 4381 within the Visalia Urban Area Boundary. Determine that the cancellation is consistent with the purposes of the Williamson Act. Determine and certify to the Tulare County Auditor-Controller the cancellation fee shall be in the amount of $162,500. Adopt the conditions of approval for tentative cancellation of WAC 22-005. Authorize the clerk of the Board of Supervisors to execute the Final Certificate of Cancellation of Land Conservation Contract upon which time the conditions and contingencies have been satisfied and enumerated in the Certificate of Tentative Cancellation. Approve a categorical exemption.
    • Aaron Bock, Resource Management Agency (RMA), introduced the item. 
    • Public Testimony
      • Orlean Martinez asked what the purpose of the act is. One of her neighbors received a notification about it and would like clarification. Bock explained that the purpose is to allow the land to be subdivided because they no longer want the land to be used for farming.
      • Teresa Tanaka asked what the purpose of the subdivision is. She wants to know what the owner will do with the land. She said only one person in her neighborhood was notified. Bock explained that only people within 300 feet of the property were notified. This item is only the first step of the subdivision process. 
    • Approved
  • There were no board matter requests

Public Comment

  • Angel, resident of District 2, said residents of Alpaugh and Allensworth are concerned about snowmelt. He thanked the county and the Fire Department for their help in those communities. 

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at fresnodocs@fresnoland.org with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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