Documented by Josef Sibala
Here’s what you need to know:
- The Kings County Board of Supervisors found that local emergency conditions continue to exist and that the declaration of local health emergency remains in effect. Supervisor Valle voted no. Abraham Valencia from the Kings County Office of Emergency Services stated that the local emergency can provide state and federal funding while protecting the public.
- The board approved the California Department of Public Health’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS grant agreement retroactively, effective from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2028. Kings County would be compensated up to $440,431 for expenses related to the operation of the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program.
- The board accepted the donation of $60,000 from the James G. Boswell Foundation to the Kings County Sheriff’s Office. Some $10,000 of the donation is intended to be used for the Rural Crime Unit of the Sheriff’s Office.
- A community health worker in Valley Voices, a nonprofit organization formed in 2019, Eriseli Barrios, asked for simultaneous translation at the Board of Supervisors meeting to encourage effective public participation. Aleya Reyes, also from Valley Voices, asked for details regarding the American Rescue Plan Act committee.
- Will the county receive state grants for crosswalks in Kettleman City?
- How will the county make meetings more inclusive and accessible to all?
- How would the county address flooding in Tulare Lake?
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)
- Rusty Robinson, District 4 (Armona and Hanford)
- Richard Fagundes, District 5 (Hanford and Burris Park)
- Doug Verboon, District 3 (North Hanford, Island District, and North Lemoore)
- County Administrative Officer Kyria Martinez
- Public Health Director Rose Mary Rahn
- Fire Chief Josh Cunningham
- District Attorney Sarah Hacker
- Tyler Pepe
- Monica Connor
- Melissa Kevorkian
- Mike Ornellas
- Jonathan Brewster
- Christine Olvera
- Jay Wood
- Sarah Poots
- Mariana Valdivia
- Staci Wilkins
- T Hommerding
- Katlyn Frazier
- Cynthia Baruch
- Nichole Fisher
- John Bsmajian Criscom
- David Long
- Heather Silva
- Kristi Lee
- Atonya Moore
- N. Rencher
- Cassie Bakker
- Chris Narez
- Dustin Ference
- Finance Director Eric Garina
- Fire Chief Bill Lynch
- Eriseli Barrios
- Allan Barba
- Debbie Produsco
- Aleya Reyes
- Fire Capt. Matt San Filippo
- Human Resources Director Carolyn Leist
- Administrative Analyst Domingo Cruz
- Kings Mosquito Abatement District Manager Michael Cavanagh
- Abraham Valencia from the Kings County Office of Emergency Services
- Senior Planner Christina Chavez
- Alex Hernandez from the Community Development Agency
Public Health Director Rose Mary Rahn said their two-week surveillance showed an increase in COVID-19 cases to 19 throughout the county.
She added that the Kings, Fresno and Madera hospital areas have increased COVID cases but the number remains low and isolated. She encouraged the public to test, isolate and take the vaccine.
Responding to Supervisor Verboon, she said there is one confirmed West Nile case and one probable one. The state is testing sewage water for COVID-19 in the water.
Finance Director Eric Garina introduced Lusana Martinez as a new hire in the Financial Department.
Fire Chief Bill Lynch stated that 11 personnel are working outside the county, especially responding to the fires in Northern California.
A community health worker in Valley Voices, Eriseli Barrios, asked for simultaneous translation in the Board of Supervisors meeting to encourage effective public participation.
Allan Barba, owner and operator of the Selma Flea Market, raised concerns that anyone can operate on the fairgrounds for three to four weeks.
Debbie Produsco added that their hours of operation at the fairgrounds conflict with another business.
Aleya Reyes from Valley Voices asked for details regarding the American Rescue Plan Act committee.
A. The board (4-1) approved the minutes from the meeting of Aug. 22. Supervisor Fagundes abstained.
In the consent calendar, the board (5-0) unanimously approved items as follows:
A. Behavioral Health Department:
1. The board approved the amendment to Participation Agreement No. 22-122 with the California Mental Health Services Authority for budget modification to include professional services and a subscription to the SMS/Text Notification System effective upon execution through March 18, 2029.
According to the information in the agenda packet, the agreement adds $25,593 in committed funding. The revised amount of committed funding shall be at most $1.4 million, including the $25,593 increase.
Expenses under this agreement and sufficient revenue for expenses were included in the department’s fiscal year 2023-2024 adopted budget.
B. County Counsel:
1. The board appointed Rick Rossiter as a trustee of the Lemoore Cemetery District for a term set to expire on Jan. 1, 2026.
C. Community Development Agency:
1. a. The board approved the use of SolarAPP+ for online, automated solar permitting;
b. The board authorized the Community Development Agency director to sign and submit the documents required to use Stripe, Inc.’s services and products.
According to information in the agenda packet, Senate Bill 379 (SB 379) requires most California cities and counties to implement an online, automated permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits in real time or allows the city, county or city and county to issue permits in real time for a residential solar energy system.
This requirement is to be satisfied by Sept. 30, 2023. The bill requires local governments to report to the Energy Commission when it complies with specified requirements and other information.
The reporting will focus on the number of permits issued for residential solar energy systems and residential energy storage systems paired with residential solar energy systems and the relevant characteristics of those systems.
SolarAPP+ is the preferred program for compliance with SB 379, and is used to expedite the process for standardized plan review. Stripe, Inc. is a third-party payment vendor utilized by SolarAPP+ for payments and fee processing.
SolarAPP+, in conjunction with Stripe, Inc., will automate plan review and the process for issuing permits to qualified businesses or individuals to install code-compliant residential photovoltaic (PV) systems and subsequently process payment for those permits.
This action the county to comply with state requirements and monitor payments and permitting, while circumventing any unforeseen or unauthorized transactions within county funds or accounts.
D. District Attorney’s Office:
1. The board received the annual report of the Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Trust Fund Program for July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.
According to the agenda packet, the beginning fund balance on July 1, 2022, was $414,408, and the total amount of real estate document fees collected during the fiscal year was $40,260, plus interest earned in the amount of $6,745, totaling $47,005.
This brings the total program revenue received for the fiscal year to $461,413 in Fund 100302, with zero expenditures to report.
E. Job Training Office:
1. The board approved the documents to close the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Subgrant.
According to the agenda packet, Subgrant AA211010 provided $2,433,739 in Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding to support local businesses and residents to connect, bolstering the local economy.
Subgrant AA211010 allocated Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act training funds provided to Kings County for use in the local area.
From July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023, over 500 services comprising work experience, vocational training, on-the-job training and other services designed to assist Kings County residents in obtaining permanent employment were provided.
F. Public Health Department:
1. The board authorized the advanced step hire of Jesus Gaona as an environmental health officer.
2. a. The board retroactively approved the California Department of Public Health’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS grant agreement, effective from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2028;
b. The board adopted the budget change.
According to the agenda packet, the State Office of AIDS will compensate Kings County up to $440,431 for expenses related to the operation of the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program.
Funds can be used for various housing-related services, including short-term rent or mortgage assistance to avoid eviction or foreclosure; emergency hotel stay, housing information services, supportive services and case management to help individuals maintain stable housing and improve their overall well-being; and financial assistance to help cover the cost of utilities.
Eligibility for the HOPWA program is based on income and HIV status criteria. All recipients in Kings County must be enrollment participants in the Ryan White Care Program.
The Ryan White Care Program is a federally funded program that addresses the health care needs of individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS.
The program provides financial assistance to help people living with HIV/AIDS gain access to medical care, medication, support services and other essential resources.
It aims to enhance the quality of life for those impacted by the disease and reduce health disparities within this vulnerable population.
G. Public Works Department:
1. The board adopted a resolution certifying the county’s maintained road mileage for 2022.
According to the agenda packet, the state uses the number of road miles maintained by local jurisdictions in the various formulas to calculate the distribution of gas tax revenues to the counties throughout the state.
As a result, the board must certify the amount of road miles maintained each year to the state controller. In 2022, there were no changes to the county’s maintenance responsibility. The maintained mileage to be certified for 2022 is 920 miles.
2. The board authorized the purchasing manager to approve the purchase order for a Vermeer CST100 mini utility loader using Sourcewell (formerly the National Joint Powers Alliance) purchasing consortium.
According to the agenda packet, the cost of the lease to own (purchase) of the new Vermeer equipment is quoted at $76,021.
Once the equipment is secured through this purchase order, a lease-financing agreement will be presented to the board with locked-in finance rates for final approval.
The Vermeer CXT100 is a compact utility loader with versatile features, including dual hydraulic auxiliary controls, a 40-horsepower turbocharged engine, a compact footprint and an array of available attachments that help increase productivity and efficiency.
The purchase of a new Vermeer utility loader and five attachments is necessary to help meet the need for increased demand with decreased staffing.
Once the equipment is secured, a lease-financing agreement will be presented to the Board with locked-in finance rates for final approval.
The Parks Department has used Sourcewell as it serves governmental, educational and nonprofit organizations with a cooperative purchasing program that manages solicitation requirements and offers a network of awarded contracts.
The county has used this service for several years, and it complies with county-approved purchasing requirements.
The James G. Boswell Foundation donated $60,000 to the Kings County Sheriff’s Office. It asked that $10,000 of the donation be used for the Rural Crime Unit of the Sheriff’s Office.
The remaining $50,000 was donated “in recognition of Sheriff Robinson’s outstanding leadership during the recent floods and is intended to be used at the discretion of the Sheriff.”
H. Sheriff’s Office:
1. The board accepted the donation of $60,000 from the James G. Boswell Foundation.
2. a. The board authorized the purchase of the two new dental X-ray machines.
According to agenda packet reports, the dental X-ray machines were ordered via a purchase order in the Sheriff’s Detentions budget, and the total cost of $11,765 will be reimbursed from the Prison Inmate Welfare Fund once the payment has been completed.
The Kings County Jail is required to provide dental care to incarcerated people. The Jail population can have more acute dental issues because many of them have received little dental care before going to jail.
The current dental X-ray machine in the Kings County Jail became inoperable. Without X-ray capabilities, dental services would have been delayed, opening the Sheriff’s Office and County to the possibility of grievances and complaints being filed by inmates.
Due to the emergency, the Kings County Sheriff’s Office ordered two new dental X-ray machines through purchase orders. The purchase consisted of a stationary wall unit replacement and a hand-held unit. The hand-held unit will be used for work on individuals that the stationary wall unit will not accommodate.
Regular agenda items were as follows:
A. District Attorney’s Office
1. The board (5-0) approved the annual reporting of the District Attorney’s Office military equipment.
District Attorney Sarah Hacker said the county did not purchase any military equipment.
B. Fire Department
1. a. The board (5-0) approved the master instructional service agreement with the Fresno City College Fire Academy to provide educational services to in-service personnel
b. The board (5-0) authorized the fire chief to sign the instructor agreement with the Fresno City College Fire Academy for instructor services.
According to Fire Capt. Matt San Filippo, the agreement means the department will receiv $15,000 eof the instructional full-time equivalent student hours for fiscal year 2023-24.
Fresno City College Fire Academy offers Instructional Service Agreements to both fire and law enforcement agencies as a way for them to generate revenue toward their training budget.
College courses are created for the mandated training that agencies provide to their firefighters or sworn officers.
The members are registered in these courses, and the revenue paid to the college from the state is shared with the agency according to the Instructional Service Agreement Contract. That revenue can be used to augment the training budget of the partnering agencies.
The Fresno City College Fire Academy currently has partnerships with 12 local fire agencies of various sizes, and each of those agencies has benefited as a result.
C. Human Resources Department
1. The board (5-0) approved the county’s Deferred Compensation Defined Contribution Administrative Expense Reimbursement Allowance Reserve Policy to administer the Deferred Compensation Program.
According to the Human Resources Director Carolyn Leist, the Administrative Expense Reimbursement Allowance Reserve is an account whose assets are held in an interest-bearing investment option with the defined contribution vendor on behalf of the defined contribution plan participants.
The revenues and expenses of the account and the plan must be used for the exclusive benefit of the plan participants.
In addition to anticipated expenditures in the budget, the reserve policy would establish a reasonable level of reserves for certain major, though intermittent, expenses.
The Kings County Deferred Compensation Plan requires an Oversight Committee for the Deferred Compensation program.
The Oversight Committee is composed of the county administrator, the director of finance, the assistant director of finance treasurer, the human resources director, and a local retiree.
On June 26, 2023, the Oversight Committee unanimously approved the proposed Deferred Compensation Expense Reimbursement Policy and recommended approval by the Board of Supervisors.
The Contingency/Stabilization Reserve is designed to absorb unanticipated expenses without sacrificing other planned expenses and dramatically changing the account’s revenue stream.
The Deferred Compensation Committee said it believes that $7,500 is a reasonable reserve as it is approximately a quarter of the year’s budgeted expenditures. The nature of these expenses is unknown.
The “Mock” IRS Compliance Audit is a reserve of $20,000 for a “mock” compliance audit that allows the committee the latitude to request such an audit when it believes that it would be prudent to take such action.
Once spent, this reserve would be replenished over two to four years, depending on the audit results. The approximate amount needed to administer the Deferred Compensation program and the fees is $35,000.
The fees are paid for by the Human Resources Department and reimbursed annually at the end of each fiscal year.
The committee will review and update the reserve policy at least once every four years as necessary and appropriate, and all reserve levels will be reviewed and adopted annually.
An account balance over the approved reserve level will be returned to the plan participants at the end of each fiscal year.
Leist stated that the reserve policy will facilitate putting aside funds for identified activities.
2. The board (5-0) approved the new job specification for Assistant Sheriff – Standards and Training for Corrections (STC), and set the salary at $8,741 to $10,665 monthly.
According to the agenda packet, the Assistant Sheriff – STC will be a new classification in the Sheriff’s Office. It will administer, supervise and coordinate the functions of the Detentions Division of the Sheriff’s Office through subordinate management.
The Assistant Sheriff – STC position requires possession of Standards and Training for Corrections (STC) certifications.
D. Administration – Kyria Martinez/Domingo Cruz
1. a. The board (4-1) received a report regarding the local health emergency caused by floodwater contamination and vector-borne illness;
b. The board (4-1) found that local emergency conditions continue to exist and that the declaration of a local health emergency remains in effect.
Supervisor Valle voted no.
Administrative Analyst Domingo Cruz provided the following current information:
- Water levels have continued to drop since the peak in late May and are expected to continue to fall. The recent tropical storm should have minimal effect on the lake.
- There have been no large-scale die-offs or diseases detected in wildlife. Plans exist to continue testing and monitoring through October.
- Kings County has reported two instances of West Nile Virus, with 47 mosquitoes testing positive for the virus. Ongoing abatement efforts are in progress throughout the county.
- The presence of avian botulism type C has been confirmed in two birds gathered from Tulare Lake. This botulinum toxin type typically doesn’t relate to human botulism caused by distinct toxin variants.
- County personnel have diligently evaluated the ever-evolving conditions and furnished the community with guidance on avoiding the dangers of flood and vector-borne illnesses.
- Plans for cleanup efforts are in progress.
Valle asked Rahn whether there had been any change during the water testing. Rahn said that water is expected to have coliforms.
Fagundes stated that floodwater will be an ongoing concern in the county.
Supervisor Robinson asked how mosquito abatement applies.
Kings Mosquito Abatement District Manager Michael Cavanagh said that the lake bottom is outside the boundaries, and those sections of Kings County that are in the district are not producing a lot of mosquitoes.
He stated that the district is only treating the perimeter. He mentioned that the lake bottom gets attention in the media. However, he said that from a mosquito control standpoint, the district deals with the ramifications of the snowpack in various ways.
Abraham Valencia from the Kings County Office of Emergency Services said the local emergency can provide state and federal funding while protecting the public.
Public hearings include the following:
A. Community Development Agency
1. a. The board conducted a public hearing to find that Development Code Text Change Number 668.17(a) is exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review under California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15061 and that Section 15300.2 does not apply;
b. The board (5-0) found that Development Code Text Change Number 668.17(a) is consistent with the 2035 Kings County General Plan policies.
c. The board (5-0) adopted and waived the second reading of an ordinance approving the Development Code Text Change Number 668.17(a).
Senior Planner Christina Chavez supported the ordinance change because it would “promote sustainable ag production.”
B. Community Development Agency
1. a. The board conducted a public hearing to find that Development Code Text Change Number 668.17(b) is exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review under California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15061 and that Section 15300.2 does not apply;
b. The board (5-0) found that Development Code Text Change Number 668.17(b) is consistent with the policies of the 2035 Kings County General Plan;
c. The board (5-0) adopted and waived the second reading of an ordinance approving the Development Code Text Change Number 668.17(b)m
Alex Hernandez from the Community Development Agency said that no zoning permit would be needed for accessory dwelling units.
C. Community Development Agency – Chuck Kinney/Alex Hernandez
1. a. The board conducted a public hearing to provide citizens with an opportunity to make their comments known regarding the county’s 2020 Community Development Block Grant CV1 accomplishments;
b. The board (5-0) authorized the Community Development Agency director to sign and submit the documents required to close the grant to the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Alex Hernandez said that there is an active home-assistance program. He mentioned that the state would grant the county $600,000 for the Kettleman Bridge and crosswalks and a firetruck for Kettleman City.
The closed session at the end of the meeting included the following:
- Conference with Labor Negotiator/Meet and Confer: Negotiators: Kyria Martinez, Carolyn Leist, Che Johnson of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore General Unit – CLOCEA
Supervisor’s Unit – CLOCEA
Blue Collar – SEIU
Detention Deputy’s Association
Deputy Sheriff’s Association
Probation Officer’s Association
The meeting ended at 1 p.m. The next board meeting will be on Sept. 12, at 9 a.m.
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