June 13, 2023 — Kings County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Josef Sibala
Here’s what you need to know:
- During the June 13 meeting, the Kings County Board of Supervisors stressed the need to maintain utilities and rights of way that allow for transportation, utilities, and irrigation in the Santa Rosa Rancheria.
- District Attorney Sarah Hacker mentioned that various local enforcement agencies organized a gang bust, “Operation Moovin’ Out,” on June 8, which arrested 62 defendants, of which three are linked to homicides and one with a cold-case homicide that has remained unsolved since 2016.
- She asked the board to pay competitive salaries for district attorneys and asked to devote American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) pandemic relief funds for signing and retention bonuses.
- The board confirmed the appointment of Leonard Bakker to the position of chief probation officer and Kyria Martinez to the position of county administrative officer.
- The board authorized the use of $1.7 million in ARPA pandemic relief funds for proposed projects from the ARPA Committee and $6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funding for employee retention and hiring incentives.
- How will residents benefit from the ARPA funding allocation?
- Will the county increase salaries in the district attorney’s office?
- How will the county address the incidence of criminality?
According to its website, Kings County is a “general law” county, meaning the state constitution and general law determine the county’s governmental structure.
The Board of Supervisors is the governing body for Kings County and many county special districts. Each of the board’s five members is elected in a nonpartisan manner to a four-year term.
The board sets policies and depends on the county administrator, county officials, and department heads to fulfill its wishes.
The Board of Supervisors has administrative, legislative, and quasi-judicial duties and responsibilities prescribed by the state constitution and statutes.
The meeting was held at 9 a.m. in the board chambers at 1400 West Lacey Blvd. in Administration Building No. 1 in Hanford.
Kings County County Board of Supervisors members present:
- Joe Neves, District 1 (Lemoore and Stratford)
- Richard Valle, District 2 (Avenal, Corcoran, Home Garden, and Kettleman City)
- Doug Verboon, District 3 (North Hanford, Island District, and North Lemoore)
- Rusty Robinson, District 4 (Armona & Hanford)
- Richard Fagundes, District 5 (Hanford and Burris Park)
- County Administrative Officer Kyria Martinez
- Agricultural Commissioner Jimmy Hook
- Assessor Kristine Lee
- Human Resources Director Carolyn Leist
- Public Health Director Rose Mary Rahn
- Behavioral Health Director Lisa Lewis
- Human Services Director Wendy Osikafo
- Public Works Director Dominic Tyburski
- District Attorney Sarah Hacker
- Lupe Villa from Election’s Office
- Maria Hoover from King County Minor’s Advocate Office
- Sheriff David Robinson
- Diane Badasci
- Alex Hernandez
- Blake Zante
- J Eckles
- Kelly Luna
- Renee Missakian
- Jay Wood
- Melissa Kevorkian
- Melissa Scheffel
- Christine Ravelo
- Eli Wiseman
- Nichole Fisher
- David Khn
- Topazio Guzman
- Abe Jacobs
- Tyler Pepe
- John Bsmajian Criscom
- David Long
- Heather Silva
- N. Rencher
- Bob Ramos
- Chase Nunez
Chase Nunez, a sophomore, asked for support for the Greater Fresno Boys Baseball for the 39th Annual World Boys Baseball Tournament held in Toyohashi, Japan.
He will organize a drive-thru pulled-pork dinner on June 25 at the Laton Lions Hall. The tickets are $20 each.
District Attorney Sarah Hacker said that a massive gang bust, “Operation Moovin’ Out,” on June 8, was organized by various agencies such as the Sheriff’s Department, Hanford Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Department of Justice and the FBI.
The local enforcement agencies have arrested 62 defendants in “Operation Moovin’ Out,” of which three defendants have been linked to homicides, and one individual with a cold-case homicide remaining unsolved since 2016.
They targeted human trafficking violators, money laundering, drug sales and possession and sale of illegal weapons.
She asked the board to pay competitive salaries for district attorneys and asked to devote APRA funds for signing and retention bonuses.
For the new 62 cases, she said the District Attorney’s Office is looking for independent contractors such as retired prosecutors.
Maria Hoover from the Kings County Minors Advocate Office said that the pay structure for district attorneys should be reviewed.
She said $791,315 was available for the indigent defense of juvenile children and dependency, which can fund additional attorneys.
She urged for increasing starting pay for attorneys. Sarah Hacker added that in Operation Moovin’ Out, three suspects were juveniles, of which one was arrested for homicide.
Lupe Villa from the Elections Office mentioned that in April 2022, Kings County became a “Vote of Choice Act County,” allowing early voting for electors. He urged the renewal of the election administration plan.
A. The board (5-0) approved the minutes from the meeting on June 6 and the special meeting on June 5.
In the consent calendar, the board (5-0) unanimously approved items as follows:
A. Agriculture Department (reported by Agricultural Commissioner Jimmy Hook)
1. The board adopted the agreement with the California Crop Improvement Association for the county’s assistance with the seed certification program effective July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.
The cooperative agreement is for the county to enforce the plowdown and monitor the pink bollworm host-free period.
The previously approved agreement has been amended to increase the agreement for a new total not to exceed $8,572. The increase in funds is required due to additional identified cotton acreage.
2. The board retroactively approved the amended cooperative agreement with the California Department of Food and Agriculture for the county’s Pink Bollworm Cotton Plowdown and Host-Free Monitoring Program from Dec. 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.
There is no impact on the general fund. Revenue of $8,572 for this program is included in the fiscal year 2022-2023 adopted budget.
3. The board approved the cooperative agreement from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024, with the California Department of Food and Agriculture for the County’s Petroleum Enforcement Program.
Revenues of $2,850 for this program are included in the fiscal year 2023-2024 recommended budget.
The agricultural commissioner/sealer, through cooperative agreement 23-0147-000-SA, will audit and inspect petroleum locations under the California Business and Professions Code.
Activities include inspection of advertising media at petroleum locations and labeling compliance inspections of petroleum and automotive products.
This program protects the industry and the consumer by helping to ensure petroleum products are advertised and labeled as required by law. This agreement is from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.
4. The board approved the cooperative agreement from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024, with the California Department of Food and Agriculture for the County’s Weighmaster Enforcement Program.
Revenues of $480 for this program are included in the fiscal year 2023-2024 recommended budget.
The agricultural commissioner/sealer, through cooperative agreement 23-0199-000-SA, will inspect weighmaster locations licensed as junk dealers and recyclers under the California Business and Professions Code. Activities include verifying the accuracy of their license information.
This program protects both the industry and the consumer by helping to assure junk dealers and recyclers are properly licensed as weighmasters and that they carry out practices to help deter theft in the metal recycling industry. This agreement is from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.
B. Assessor/Clerk/Recorder (reported by Assessor Kristine Lee)
1. The board approved the purchase of one digital microfilm scanner.
The Kings County Recorder requested to purchase one digital microfilm scanner to replace a broken unit. This unit will access only old, recorded documents and vital records stored on microfilm.
Funds for the one-time purchase and installation cost of $7,987 to replace the irreparable microfilm machine will be taken from contract savings achieved in other clerk/recorder service agreements.
C. Behavior Health Department (reported by Behavior Health Director Lisa Lewis)
1. The board approved the amendment to the agreement with Inspiring Pathways, Inc., to provide short-term Residential Therapeutic Program services for female minor beneficiaries residing in Kings County, effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.
The fee-for-service agreement and the contract amount will be, at most, $235,000 for the fiscal year 2023-2024.
Inspiring Pathways, Inc. currently operates a residential treatment program for women placed in out-of-home care in Kings County.
This program is designed to serve six female beneficiaries ages 12 to 17. They also participate in the placement of nonminor dependents. Their services will provide short-term, specialized, and intensive therapeutic services to youth in their care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
D. Public Health Department (reported by Public Health Director Rose Mary Rahn)
1. The board approved the supplement to the memorandum of understanding with Anthem to enable the effective sharing of protected health information upon execution.
Anthem is contracted with DHCS to provide Medi-Cal benefits. Medi-Cal services are available for eligible county residents through a memorandum of understanding signed in 2015 with Anthem.
The delivery of MediCal services requires the sharing of protected health information (PHI). The supplement with Anthem will ensure that the clients’ PHI is safe when exchanging information.
E. Public Works Department (reported by Public Works Director Dominic Tyburski)
1. a. The board accepted the dedication for In-Lieu Parcel Map 22-03 (Douglas E. Martin, Gary A. Martin) into the county-maintained mileage;
b. Accepted the dedication for in-lieu Parcel Map 22-04 (Douglas E. Martin, Gary A. Martin) into the County Maintained Mileage.
The road fund will bear any future maintenance costs.
As defined in the County of Kings Improvement Standards, a land division requires a tentative map, tentative parcel map, final map, and in-lieu parcel map as described in Section 66426 of the Subdivision Map Act.
The parcel owners to be subdivided (Douglas E. Martin, Gary A. Martin) were required to dedicate additional right-of-way along the frontage of 9th Avenue as a condition of approval of this land division to the minimum 30-foot half-width required by Kings County Improvement Standards.
These land divisions are located on 9th Avenue on both south and north sides of Iona Avenue (Map 22-03 applies to the north side of Iona Avenue, and Map 22-04 applies to the south side of Iona Ave.).
The community development staff has reviewed the landowners’ request for the division to ensure orderly development and public health and safety as per the resolution.
2. a. The board allocated two full-time janitors
b. The board allocated one full-time building maintenance worker
c. The board allocated one full-time building operations specialist
The impact on the general fund is estimated to be $121,310. Human Services Agency and Behavioral Health will offset approximately $242,413 in revenues, splitting it equally. This amount is for the salary and benefits and maintenance contracts.
The estimated salary and benefits are expected to be about $269,890, and the maintenance contracts are about $92,500 plus $1,332 to Public Works.
Behavioral Health and Human Services have agreed to pay for the janitors and 25% of the senior building maintenance worker and the building ops specialist, and all the maintenance contracts for a total split of $242,413.
SB81 will pay 75% of the senior building maintenance worker and the building ops specialist for $121,310. This will be included in the fiscal year 2023-2024 final budget.
F. Sheriff’s Office (reported by Sheriff David Robinson)
1. The board approved the purchase of an airboat and trailer
The total cost for the airboat and trailer, to be at most $114,000, will be paid for from the Sheriff Operations Budget.
The Sheriff’s Contingency Fund will cover the actual cost of the airboat and trailer.
California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) will reimburse this purchase shortly; upon receipt, those funds will be deposited back into the Sheriff’s Contingency Fund.
G. Administration (reported by County Administrative Officer Kyria Martinez)
1. The board approved the first amendment to the agreement with Burnham Benefits for Employee Benefit Brokerage services effective June 25, 2023 through June 24, 2027.
There is no change to the current administrative costs for broker services currently being paid, which is 1.5% of the plan cost paid by the county for health plan benefits.
Plan costs include insured premiums, claims, reserves, administrative expenses, provider access fees, and other ancillary charges directly associated with the county’s self-insured Health Plan Benefits.
These costs will be paid from the Health Insurance Fund, funded by employees and the county.
Regular agenda items are as follows:
A. Human Resources Department (reported by Human Resources Director Carolyn Leist)
1. The board (5-0) confirmed the appointment of Martinez as County Administrative Officer effective June 12, 2023, and set the compensation retroactively to that date.
The salary for this position is recommended at $17,682 per month. The salary and benefits will be paid out of the administration budget. The county administrative officer position resides within the compensation band of $14,000 to $19,000 monthly.
B. Administration (reported by County Administrative Officer Kyria Martinez)
1. The board (5-0) confirmed the appointment of Leonard Bakker to the position of chief probation officer effective June 12 and set the compensation retroactively to that date.
The salary for this position is recommended at $12,999 per month. The salary and benefits will be paid out of the probation budget. The chief probation officer position resides within the compensation band of $11,000 to $15,000 monthly.
2. The board (5-0) directed staff regarding the county’s response to the notification seeking comment regarding any potential impacts to county operations under the proposed trust land acquisition.
The board received a notification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior indicating that the Santa Rosa Indian Community of Santa Rosa Rancheria, California has applied to put the real property “in trust,” making it part of their sovereign nation.
The property is contiguous with other lands that the tribe recently applied to have placed “in trust,” for which the board approved a letter of support on May 23.
The parcels in this request consist of 370.28 acres over 11 parcels and are located directly south and are contiguous with the parcels that the board supported being placed in trust on May 23, and are south of the hotel and casino, on the north side of Kansas Avenue, the west side of 17th Avenue and the south side of Kent Avenue.
All subject parcels have a combined secured property tax roll of $34,905 for the 2022-2023 tax year, which includes $3,655 in direct assessments for the South Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). Should the land be placed in trust, this will become lost revenue.
The supervisors stressed the need to maintain existing utilities and rights of ways that allow for transportation, utilities, and irrigation, even with flood waters in the area.
3. a. The board (5-0) authorized the use of American Rescue Plan Act funding for $1.7 million for proposed projects from the ARPA Committee.
The proposed amount of $1.7 million includes:
- $64,700 for the Sheriff Camera license plate, video, and audio detection system.
- $700,000 for the Behavioral Health- Cohen Veterans Clinic.
- $140,000 for Digital Evidence Storage for the Sheriff’s Department
- $300,000 for agenda software for the board clerk within the Board of Supervisors Office.
- $200,618 for COVID-19 administrative-associated costs.
- $30,000 for Burris Park Wagon Museum air conditioning unit.
- $50,000 for a Public Works online portal for permitting and reservations
- $16,000 for the installation of a new door access system at the Job Training Office
- $20,000 for Job Training Office rewiring for software capacity improvements
- $135,397 for the Fire Department’s Computer Aided Dispatch
- $50,000 for Stratford Public Utility District water storage projects
b. The board (5-0) authorized $6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funding for employee retention and hiring incentives.
Martinez said the incentives would encourage employee retention to carry to the fiscal year 2023-2024 when the county should have recommendations from the compensation study.
She said the incentives represent a one-time allocation, meaning they would not be a recurring expense for the county. Administration and Human Resources will develop criteria for the funds.
Valle said allocation sends a positive direction for public safety leaders regarding hiring and retention. Feri and Fire Chief William Lynch added that the $6 million would go a long way to ensure fully staffed public safety departments.
Hacker emphasized 23 vacancies for attorneys, while 14 attorneys are working. She said the District Attorney’s office had been “gutted” due to competition with other counties regarding hiring attorneys.
She stated the need for more attorneys in the Central Valley. The District Attorney’s Office and Pubic Defenders Office have taken the greatest hit, she added.
She mentioned that the county needs to pay attorneys the market rate to draw and retain talent in the county.
Martinez said the allocation would be $3 million for hiring and the other half for retention. She asked for time to develop the criteria.
c. The board (5-0) authorized withholding any remaining allocated American Rescue Plan Act funding of $3 million until a future board date.
The county has received $29.7 million directly from the U.S. Treasury. The ARPA Committee has identified some imminent need for the use of the funds to be considered for allocation as part of the spending plan of the ARPA Committee.
The current proposed amount for ARPA fund use is $7.7 million. These funds are primarily from the $4.28 million for county revenue loss presented to the board and approved through the final adopted budget in the fiscal year 2021-2022.
The additional funds that make up the $6 million are from the administration allocating other funds to finance proposed projects from the ARPA committee presented at the board meeting on June 6.
Martinez recommended additional time to follow up on already-funded projects and do a thorough analysis, as some projects might not need the original amount allocated in previous board meetings.
Responding to Valle, Martinez clarified that the funds would be unallocated.
The fund’s administration was discussed and identified through the county’s internal ARPA Committee of department heads.
Closed session includes the following:
- Personnel exemption: Two cases [Government Code Section 54957] Public Employee – Discipline/Dismissal/Release
- Litigation initiated formally. Title: El Rico GSA v. County of Kings, et al., Kings County Superior Court Case No. 23CU0202 [Govt Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)]
- Litigation initiated formally. Title: Southern California Edison Co. v. State Board of Equalization, et al., Orange County Superior Court Case Nos. 30-2022-01258057-CU-MC-CJC and 30-2022-01258109-CU-MC-CJC [Govt Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)
The meeting ended at 12:45 p.m. The next board meeting will be on Tuesday, June 20 at 9 a.m.
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