2010 Annual Report

The following items provide a glimpse into the various accomplishments and accolades the County of Solano has received over the year. Click here for a printable executive summary of the 2010 Annual Report.

Awards & Recognition

Solano County named 100 Best Communities for record 4th time

PEAK partnership earns NACo award

County retains strong credit ratings

Awards in budget development, financial reporting

Financial

Acting now to preserve resources

Final budget for FY2010/11

Job Creation

County investing in job creation

Solano Grown promotes local products, growers

Nut Tree Airport improvements

Middle Green Valley Specific Plan

BEST© connects business to kids

Live Career Help

Infrastructure Investments

Public Works invests in local roads

Solano County Events Center opens

Workforce wellness pilot program

Building consolidated campuses for one-stop service

Consolidate campus improves more than customer service

County expands use of technology

Public Health, Forensic labs open

First high-tech pest trapping effort

Community Services

Guided tours at Lake Solano Park

Supporting returning veterans

Helping former women convicts

Fouts Springs adds ag experience

Sheriff teams intercede drug traffic

Leading the state in thwarting consumer fraud

Evidence-based practices changing behavior

Spray Safe initiative protects public

Public Health battles H1N1

Contaminated sites cleaned up

Grants secured for Family Justice Center

UC Cooperative Extension maximizes its community connection

 


Volunteer hours up at Library

Child Support Awareness Month

Improved call center efficiency

Old County computers fill school computer labs

Mustang Days at Nut Tree Airport

County invests in restoring the Suisun Marsh

Go Before You Show

First 5 leverages investments

Foster Care Youth save for the future

SolanoHelps – Promoting Self Service Technologies

Child Welfare Services above national standard

Dental Services shifted to younger children

 

To the Citizens of Solano County

2010 has been a year of contrasts. A seemingly unending focus on the rippling effect of the economy on the County budget was offset by the implementation of innovative programming—from stimulating job growth to new ways of doing business—and national recognition for doing what we do best in providing important day-to-day core services. That can only happen when you have a dedicated team that understands what we do is more than a job, it’s public service.

America’s Promise Alliance recognized that characteristic in Solano County when they selected this community as one of America’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. The award symbolizes our spirit of collaboration. We make Solano County a great place to live, learn, work and play by partnering with other government agencies, local non-profits and our business community.

Moody’s Investors Services appreciated our approach to problem solving when they affirmed the County’s credit rating. Maintaining a desirable credit rating in this economy is a notable feat, and it was only possible with our long-term focus on the bigger picture. During the boom years, the County saved the windfall to cover us during the inevitable downturn. Nobody then could have predicted what we’re experiencing now would be so much more than a down cycle. Still, we have been working hard to adjust our ongoing spending to reflect our new fiscal realities. Our proactive approach—meaning addressing these budget issues before they become a crisis—earned us Moody’s continued confidence.

As always, we need to acknowledge that what we have achieved and what we hope to achieve in the future is only possible with the ongoing support of the citizens of Solano County. By focusing on our core priorities, we can continue making Solano County a model county for others to emulate.

Sincerely,

John M. Vasquez, Chair               Michael D. Johnson

Board of Supervisors                  County Administrator

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AWARDS & RECOGNITION

 

Solano County named 100 Best Communities for record 4th time

Solano County has been named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People by the America’s Promise Alliance—the only California community to earn that distinction in every year of the competition. The 100 Best designation recognizes those communities that make youth a priority by implementing programs to help keep children in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce.

A different organization in Solano County has taken the lead in the nomination process to provide a different perspective of Solano County. This year the Solano Library Foundation was the lead. Previously, the Solano County Office of Education, Solano County Public Defender’s Office and First 5 Solano were the lead agency.

The competition recognizes the entire Solano community. Some of the County programs contributing to the win this year, include:

·         Board of Supervisors’ challenge match to the local business community to raise funds for the Solano Kids Insurance Program;

·         County-led partnerships of Baby First Solano, Early Childhood Mental Health/Development Health Collaborative, and Solano Children’s Alliance;

·         First 5 Solano’s Pre-Kindergarten Academies; and

·         Library’s Solano Kids Read campaign.

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PEAK partnership earns NACo award

Once again a partnership in Solano County garnered national attention. This time it was the Partnership for Early Access for Kids (PEAK), a collaborative effort of 10 public and nonprofit partners including First 5 Solano and Health and Social Services, who earned a National Association of Counties’ Achievement Award. Under the PEAK strategy, First 5 Solano and Mental Health Services Act dollars were used to create the PEAK initiative that linked the Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment program with the early identification and treatment of mental and developmental health problems in young children.

PEAK screened 718 children ages 0-5 for risk of mental and developmental delays with nearly one in three of the children showing significant concerns and referred to additional therapy, demonstrating the need for more services.

In addition to providing needed services to children 0 to 5, the PEAK effort aims to reduce related treatment costs of children, which if not identified until after the child has entered school increases costs substantially.

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County retains strong credit ratings

Strong financial management and proactive steps taken to adjust to the prevailing economic conditions are among the reasons Solano County retained its current credit rating by Moody’s Investor Services. The rating agency reviewed the County’s financial position in November, and Moody’s affirmed the County’s Aa2 Issuer rating, Aa3 Pension Bond rating, and A1 Certificates of Participation rating. These ratings were initially assigned to the County in April 2008. Moody’s cited in its April 2008 report that the County’s General Fund position, proactive budget monitoring, manageable debt level, rapid repayment of outstanding long-term debt and overall healthy financial operations in assigning their ratings. The County has maintained the rating agency’s confidence in all of these areas.

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Awards in budget development, financial reporting

The Government Finance Officers Association awarded the County its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the FY2009/10 budget document and its Certificate of Achievement in Financial Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. This was the eighth year in a row the Auditor-Controller’s Office received the certificate of excellence.

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Online survey tracks customer feedback

One of the many ways the County is working to maintain its high customer service standards is through seeking feedback from residents. An online survey launched in June gives residents a convenient way to let the County know how it is doing. The surveys capture information on the latest interaction with a department, which can be in person, on the phone, in writing, or over the Internet. Respondents are also asked to rate how they feel the County is performing overall. Residents can find the survey from the home page of the County’s website by clicking on the “How are we doing?” icon.

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FINANCIAL

Acting now to preserve resources

The economic story for 2010 has been a convergence of high unemployment, waning property values and sluggish retail sales activity. This collision has meant an increased demand for services at a time when revenues continued to decline. In June the Board adopted a balanced $793 million budget with the expectation that additional reductions would be made throughout the year to further align ongoing expenses with ongoing revenues. This proactive approach included several budget workshops that examined the mandatory and discretionary services provided by the County. Over $4 million in reductions came from employee concessions, early retirements, elimination of positions as result of reductions in levels of service as well as reorganizations of the Library, Assessor-Recorder and Health and Social Services. These reduction efforts will continue into 2011. More than $5 million in additional reductions will be incorporated into the FY2011/12 Recommended Budget.

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Final budget for FY2010/11

The Revenues by Source chart describes the sources of funding used to finance the FY2010/11budget. The County’s single largest revenue source is intergovernmental revenue, which is generally restricted to fund the County’s implementation of State and Federal programs. The Discretionary Revenue chart provides information on the use of General Fund dollars to finance County operations, including property taxes and intergovernmental revenue that come to the County without restrictions. The Spending Plan by Function chart shows where the County allocates its budget. Public Protection represents the single largest category of expenditures in both the total budget and Discretionary Spending.

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JOB CREATION

County investing in job creation

Solano County used American Reinvestment and Recovery Act resources to help expand local job opportunities. Accessing Recovery Zone bond program capital brought a $9.2 million modernization investment to the Mariani Packing Co. in Vacaville; retaining nearly 400 jobs and adding 10 new jobs. The City of Dixon will use $1.2 million in these bonds to improve its downtown core and bring water access to its 300-acre industrial area. Several small businesses received temporary subsidies to offset the cost of hiring 20 people who were on public assistance. The County established a technical assistance and loan program, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, to help microenterprise businesses.

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Solano Grown promotes local products, growers

The Solano Grown project began in February when the Solano County Agriculture Department and University of California Cooperative Extension began working with a representative group of local growers. The effort was in response to a need identified in the Solano County Agricultural Futures Project completed in 2008 that encouraged the development of a local brand to help market products produced in Solano County. The brand was launched in October.

A key component of the local brand is a Solano Grown logo, which is loosely based on box label designs prevalent in the county during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The logo has a blue base (a reference to the Delta), rolling Solano hills and a bold banner identifying the county. The logo can be used in marketing materials as well as to identify local products to consumers.

The website – www.solanogrown.org – provides consumers a portal to a wide array of local products. Solano producers can list products, hours of operation, contact information and links to their respective websites. The website will also feature recipes using local products.

In the works are advertising campaigns, booths at area agricultural fairs, and a series of workshops to assist growers in the marketing efforts.

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Nut Tree Airport improvements

The selection of Mountain West Aviation as the fixed base operator and Wings Flight School to provide flight training enhanced the current operations of the historic airport. Looking to the future, the County embarked on an update of the Nut Tree Airport Master Plan. Over the course of four community workshops the public learned about potential options for the airport over the next 20 years. Find updates on the project’s progress at www.solanocounty.com/airportmasterplan.

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Middle Green Valley Specific Plan

The Board adopted the Middle Green Valley Specific Plan, a required implementation program of the 2008 General Plan, that establishes a land use and circulation layout. The plan also creates some land use tools—such as development clustering, a transfer of development rights program, and use of conservation easements—to limit the effects of residential development on the rural character of the valley, and on its view sheds, wildlife habitat, wildlife movement corridors and agricultural activities.

About 1,490 acres, or 78%, of the plan area is designated as permanent open land, of which nearly 440 acres will be preserved as working agriculture. About 23% of the planning area is designated for development in a "neighborhood framework" where each neighborhood has designated informal pattern of rural roads, residential building types, and community buildings.

The Specific Plan establishes a vision for Middle Green Valley to provide long-term conservation of agriculture that is near and compatible with a series of connected and sustainable rural neighborhoods. This Plan is a result of community, landowner, and County consensus building and cooperation, recognizing the need to protect the unique rural qualities of the area, while providing the means for appropriate settlement patterns to take place.

The General Plan policies for the Study Area served as a backbone for the development of the Plan, however, those policies were also considered minimum requirements in its development. Not only does the Plan directly address the policies laid out in the General Plan concerning the Middle Green Valley area, but it also strives to address many of the other goals, objectives, and policies set forth in the General Plan. There are over 100 of the General Plan’s goals and policies with which the Specific Plan can be found to be consistent. They relate to agriculture, water use, energy resources, biological and recreational resources, public health, sustainable land use, and many others.

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BEST© connects business to kids

First 5 Solano launched a long-term Business Engagement Strategy Team approach in partnership with Solano Economic Development Corporation to enlist support for expanding the quality of the future workforce by supporting early childhood education and development programs, as well as addressing young children’s and family issues in the current workforce.

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Live Career Help

Live Career Help is one example of how the Library uses technology to deliver a critical service, even as staffing levels decrease. Live Career Help connects job seekers with a personal career specialist online. More than 1,400 people each year use the one-to-one service for help in composing cover letters, proofreading resumes, preparing for interviews and getting step-by-step assistance with job searching. The service is free with a library card number and is available from any computer with an Internet connection.

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INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS

Public Works invests in local roads

The Resource Management Public Works Engineering and Operations Divisions constructed nine public works improvement projects, investing $6.7 million into 51 miles of road across the county, and partnered with the Solano Transportation Authority and the City of Fairfield on the construction of a new four-lane parkway (North Connector).

·         Grizzly Island Road Bridge at Hill Slough: Completed construction of a new 190-foot long, two-lane pre-stressed concrete bridge on Grizzly Island Road south of Suisun City. Rehabilitated the existing one-lane bridge for use as a fishing pier.

·         Old Town Cordelia Improvement Project: Improved 0.6 miles of Cordelia Road, including the installation of a concrete pedestrian path adjacent to the road, traffic calming concrete intersection treatments, overlaying of the road with asphalt concrete, historical markers and landscaping.

·         Stimulus Overlay Project Phase 2: Overlaid 2.7 miles of Lewis Road east of Vacaville with asphalt concrete.

·         Overlay Project 2010: Overlaid 6.1 miles of County roads (Allendale Road, Clark Road, Country Club Drive, Dixon Avenue East, Lynch Road, McGary Road and Olive School Lane) with asphalt concrete to extend the life of the roads.

·         Guard Rail Safety Project: Installed 3,100 feet of metal beam guardrail in 19 locations on six different roads.

·         Vacaville – Dixon Bicycle Route Phase 4: Improved 0.7 miles of Pitt School Road south of Dixon, including construction of paved shoulders suitable for bicycle lanes and overlaying of the road with asphalt concrete.

·         Pleasants Valley Road Curve Improvements: Reconstructed two sharp curves to make them less severe in order to improve traffic safety.

·         Currey Road – Sievers Road Intersection Improvements: Reconstructed a substandard intersection to improve traffic safety.

·         Chip Seals 2010: Installed a chip seal (oiled fine gravel) treatment on 41 miles of 39 different County roads to extend the life of the roads.

·         Suisun Parkway (North Connector): Partnered with the Solano Transportation Authority and the City of Fairfield on the construction of a 1.7 miles of a new four-lane parkway (North Connector) near Fairfield to improve traffic circulation. The project opened to traffic in October 2010.

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Solano County Events Center opens

The 79-year-old library building on Texas Street reopened in September as the Solano County Events Center to provide additional meeting space for the County and the community. The historical features, including the fireplace and hand-painted roof trusses, were retained. First 5 Solano relocated from leased space in Fairfield to the second floor of the building, giving First 5 more space and saving over $73,000 annually.

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Workforce wellness pilot program

Kaiser Permanente Health chose the County as their Northern California pilot for an innovative workforce wellness program, focusing on improving early identification and management of diabetes.

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Building consolidated campuses for one-stop service

The opening in early January of the new Health and Social Services campus on Tuolomne Street in Vallejo made helping the increased number of people seeking assistance a little easier. The “one-stop shopping” concept of consolidated services saw a 6% increase in productivity and 15% increase in the number of client visits. That same month the County learned it was receiving $2.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment funds to add a dental clinic to the William J. Carroll Government Center building under design in Vacaville. When complete in 2012, this project will provide one-stop service to residents in the northern part of the county.

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Consolidate campus improves more than customer service

More than 1,500 clients frequently used three or more programs in Vallejo. They had to arrange for a car to travel between appointments, spending on average 30 minutes on the road for weekly appointments, or used three or more bus routes between appointments, often resulting in missed appointments. Now, they can access these services on one integrate campus.

Reducing an average 16.6 miles of travel for each of the 1,500 clients eliminated an estimated 125 metric tons annual carbon footprint. Over the 50-year life of the new building, this will save $29.8 million in child care costs, $418,550 in Carbon Dioxide-CER credits, $666,250 in staff travel time, $4.5 million in bus fares, and $7.3 in avoiding client no-shows, for a total savings of $8 million to the community when compared to the cost of construction. Over 50 years, an estimated 7.7 million staff and client hours will be re-directed from unproductive travel to productive services and recovery.

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County expands use of technology

Access to more County services and programs became a click or two away with an expanded use of technology, including:

·         Acceptance of online payments for a variety of services ranging from Library late fees to property taxes;

·         Launching SolanoHelps to guide residents through a series of questions to identify potential eligibility for federal, state and local health and social services programs (solanocounty.com/SolanoHelps);

·         Online applications for Food Stamps and Medi-Cal benefits and ongoing reporting requirements;

·         An interactive phone service providing timely answers to common questions on CalWORKs, Food Stamps and Medi-Cal;

·         Video conferencing at the Health and Social Services campus in Fairfield bringing staff closer to home-bound clients, reducing travel time, and increasing time serving clients; and

·         Scanning birth and death records into an online document repository making the records easily available and reducing office and mailing expenses by 50%.

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Public Health, Forensic labs open

A ribbon-cutting ceremony in January officially opened a Public Health Laboratory and Clinic and a District Attorney Forensics Laboratory on Courage Drive in Fairfield. The first floor clinic provides behavioral health care and primary care in the service delivery model that earned the County a 2008 California State Association of Counties award. The Public Health Lab in Vallejo was relocated to the second floor along with the new Forensics Lab. A new Bureau of Forensic Services was established and began the comprehensive certification process for the Forensics Lab. By August the lab was fully accredited; it has processed over 1,800 samples.

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First high-tech pest trapping effort

In the battle against the spread of the European grapevine moth, Solano County became the first in the state to deploy high-tech geo-referenced traps that allowed pest finds to be mapped in the field and analyzed for their impact to nearby crops. The high-tech traps are part of the Agriculture Department’s three-prong approach to control and prevent exotic pests from impacting the local farm gate valued at $252 million, according to the 2009 Solano County Crop and Livestock Report.

The first prong is pest exclusion- keeping pests out. Numerous exotic pests have been interdicted before they could be established through the efforts of Solano County inspectors working at parcel terminals and inspecting arriving shipments of plants and ag commodities. The second prong of the stool is pest detection. The Solano Agriculture Department deploys thousands of traps to survey for dozens of non-native insects such as the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Oriental Fruit Fly, Gypsy Moth, Japanese Beetle, Glassy-winged Sharpshooter and many more.

The final prong of the pest stool is eradication. With increasing globalization, more pests have snuck through the exclusion safety net to be detected in California. If allowed to establish, these pests would compete with native species, damage food and landscape plants and cause increased pesticide loading to the environment. Solano County has successfully eradicated infestations of Glassy-winged Sharpshooter, Med Fly, and Japanese Dodder (a parasitic plant).

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COMMUNITY SERVICES

Guided tours at Lake Solano Park

The County Parks and Recreation Division partnered with Solano Resource Conservation District (SRCD) to tap local volunteers and launch a new community outreach effort to showcase the Lake Solano watershed, including its wildlife, history and recreational opportunities. SRCD trained volunteers to kickoff the twice monthly hikes in March, which continued through early fall.

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Supporting returning veterans

The war in Iraq and its IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) has resulted in a dramatic increase of the number of brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among returning veterans. Recognizing their need for support, Solano County Mental Health coordinated the Solano County Veterans Resource Collaborative, which has hosted a training workshop for more than 100 attendees on PTSDs and mild traumatic brain injury and established a single point of contact for returning veterans.

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Helping former women convicts

The Solano County Re-entry Council is a grassroots movement supported by the Sheriff’s Office, Probation, and Health and Social Services. Early strategic planning efforts attracted federal dollars to fund a $700,000 program that has helped 160 women released from jail and prison to re-enter their communities, find employment and successfully re-unite with their families and children. Only 13 communities nationwide were selected for this demonstration project.

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Fouts Springs adds ag experience

The Fouts Springs Youth Facility established an onsite camp vegetable garden for the wards to learn about agriculture as well as enhance their meals with “home-grown” vegetables. The wards grew squash, zucchini, string peas, bell peppers, chili peppers, tomatoes and a variety of herbs. Fall and winter crops will be grown to provide a year-round vegetable garden. The wards also harvest an existing apple orchard.

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Sheriff teams intercede drug traffic

The Solano County Sheriff’s Office Cal-MMET (California Multi-jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team) and the Sol-NET (Solano County Narcotics Enforcement Team) made 78 arrests and confiscated a variety of drugs with a street value in excess of $750,000, including 18 pounds of methamphetamine, 48 pounds of processed marijuana, and 55,000 marijuana plants. They also recovered 49 weapons and five children were removed from unsafe environments.

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Leading the state in thwarting consumer fraud

The Solano County Weights and Measures Division was the first in the state to address consumer protection issues associated with the rise of gold-to-cash buyers, establishing the model for other counties to follow in protecting consumers. Working closely with the District Attorney’s office, Solano Weights and Measures inspectors participated in statewide surveys that identified packaging fraud, underweight and under-filled products and mislabeled consumer items. These cases have saved consumers millions of dollars and resulted in significant settlements. This targeted effort is in addition to ongoing annual task of sealing – ensuring the accuracy – of more than 5,000 measurements and weighing devices used in daily consumer transactions, such as gas pumps and produce scales.

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Evidence-based practices changing behavior

The Probation Department continued to integrate the use of evidence-based practices into its array of programs. Their efforts affirm extensive research that shows cognitive behavioral programs are effective strategies to change the behavior of offenders.

For example, the Crossroads Cognitive Life Skills curriculum, a 10-week program designed to develop critical thinking skills and establish positive goal-directed behavior, was provided three times during 2010. The participants were a targeted group of 18- to 25-year-old offenders. Sixty percent of participants completed the program and only one “graduate” has committed a new crime.

For juvenile offenders at Fouts Springs Youth Facility or the Juvenile Detention Facility, Probation facilitate Crossroads groups on misdemeanor offenses, anger management and life skills. They also did two cycles of the gender-based Girls Circle curriculum. In April 2010, the department implemented the Aggression Replacement Training program, a 10-week evidenced-based practice course designed to assist juvenile offenders in improving social skill competence and moral reasoning to better manage anger and aggression. During FY2009/10, 27% of the juveniles on probation participated in at least one cognitive behavioral group.

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Spray Safe initiative protects public

Partnering with its counterparts in Yolo County and the Farm Bureau in both counties, the Solano County Agriculture Department launched a “Spray Safe” initiative. This grower-based program proactively addresses safe pesticide use practices to protect the community and the environment.

About 250 people attended the initial workshop in June that featured various information sessions, such as water contamination and legal liabilities, and demonstrations. Growers were broken into small groups to participate in demonstrations of drift reduction technology and high-tech spraying systems. Grower participation and enthusiasm for initiative is high.

Coupled with a rigorous regulatory program, Solano County has among the lowest incidence of pesticide-related illnesses and injuries in the state.

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Public Health battles H1N1

The Emergency Preparedness and Response Program focused almost all of its attention in 2010 on continuing the effort to protect the community from the H1N1 virus. Public Health staff 21,277 vaccinations by conducting clinics in unusual locations where great numbers of people gather – home and garden shows, farmers markets, churches, health and safety fairs.

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Contaminated sites cleaned up

The Resource Management Environmental Health Services Division evaluated 115 properties throughout the county that have been contaminated by leaking underground fuel tanks to determine the status of soil and/or groundwater cleanup activities occurring at each location. The Division also oversaw the full completion of cleanup activities at 16 of these sites, which exceeded the state’s annual cleanup goal and the federal average for regulatory agencies overseeing leaking underground fuel tank cleanup projects.

Overall, Solano County ranked sixth out of 34 counties and state agencies implementing a local cleanup oversight program. Solano County’s closure data can be viewed on the California State Water Quality Control Board’s web site at https://geotracker.waterboards.ca.gov/ .

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Grants secured for Family Justice Center

During the past year, the Office of Family Violence Prevention – on behalf of a strong 60-plus partnership of local government, law enforcement, court and community-based organizations – acquired $850,000 in grant funding to make a Solano Family Justice Center a reality.

The proposed Solano Family Justice Center will offer victims of child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse and sexual assault an opportunity to build hope and new futures by collocating many of the agencies that serve victims under one roof. As a one-stop service center for victims of family violence, the center will provide, safety planning, assessment of injuries, legal aid, referrals for safe shelter or housing, referrals for food and medical services including counseling, and a child-friendly and safe playroom where children can play and interact under the watchful eye of trained professionals while they and their parents avail themselves of the full range of critical services.

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UC Cooperative Extension maximizes its community connection

One of the goals of the University of California Cooperative Extension is to connect the vast research resources of the university system to the working practitioners in the community, from farmers and home gardeners to families. Some of this connection is accomplished through educational events, growers meetings, publishing informative papers, and partnerships.

Those partnerships include working with other County departments. Master Gardeners worked with Resource Management to hold composting classes in Benicia, Fairfield and Vacaville. More than 3,000 residents learned how to turn household waste into compost and decrease the amount of material in the local landfills.

Working with local schools is another community connection. The Science, Engineering and Technology Project is a national 4-H initiative that works to expands the exposure to the subjects as part of interactive, fun experiences. Twenty-three teens from Vallejo, Suisun City, Vacaville and Dixon have participated in 15-hours of training that would enable them to lead these hands-on, inquiry-based activities. Each teen is expected to spend about 30 hours working with 5- to 11-year-olds over a six-month period. Since May, more than 430 students at after-school sites had participated in SET activities.

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Volunteer hours up at Library

Library volunteer hours are up 15% from last fiscal year, and the Library continues to find new ways to use volunteer help to supplement the professional services of staff. Volunteers deliver services such as free legal advice, career help, computer training, and literacy tutoring in ways the Library could not afford to do without their help.

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Child Support Awareness Month

As part of Child Support Awareness Month in August 2010, the Department of Child Support Services released 110 suspended driver licenses via the annual “Get Back on the Road Again” program. This statewide program relaxes the standards to release a suspended license for one month and encourages non-custodial parents to re-engage in the child support program. More than $1.6 million dollars was collected statewide and distributed to families as a result of this program.

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Improved call center efficiency

The Solano County Department of Child Support Services has partnered with other local child support agencies across the state to share resources and leverage strengths. As a result, Solano County has dramatically improved customer call center efficiency. On average, customers calling Solano DCSS are now on hold about 13 seconds, down from more 8 minutes in early 2010. Calls abandoned by customers (usually due to long wait times) have also been reduced from 35% to 3.4%.

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Old County computers fill school computer labs

Solano C-DISC (Computer Donations into Schools and Classrooms) continues to soar with 89 surplus computers in 2010 donated to schools across the county. While the computers no longer meet the needs and demands of the county, they enable local schools to build computer labs and integrate technology into the classroom. The donated surplus computers helped the schools avoid about $200,000 in computer purchases. This is the third year of the Solano C-DISC program, which earned a 2008 Cities, Counties, Schools Merit Award for the community outreach efforts of the Central Services Division of the Department of General Services.

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Mustang Days at Nut Tree Airport

The Nut Tree Airport hosted the first Annual Mustang Days event in conjunction with Travis Air Museum. Hundreds of Solano County residents explored the history and romance of the World War II P-51 Mustang and other planes of the era. Several World War II aces were on hand to share their stories with the community.

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County invests in restoring the Suisun Marsh

The County awarded eight wildlife habitat restoration grants totally $96,400 to fund a variety of projects, including construction of ponds and nesting islands, improved drainage and tidal water flows, and removal of invasive weeds that choke out native marsh plants.

Funding for the competitively awarded grants came from the Suisun Marsh Specific Fund, which includes mitigation funding from the 2005 Kinder Morgan settlement agreement as a result of a broken diesel fuel pipeline that leaked into the Suisun Marsh.

The County’s investment in these marsh projects will bring improved habitat conditions for waterfowl and other wildlife to the Suisun Marsh, one of the County’s most notable natural ecosystems and the largest remaining estuarine marshland in North America.

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Go Before You Show

An aggressive “Go Before You Show” media campaign has reached over 300,000 women of reproductive age and their families. Ads on the radio and at bus shelters, shopping centers, churches, grocery stores, shelters and Family Resource Center events encourage women of childbearing years to see their doctor within the first three months of being pregnant.

Early prenatal care helps improve the health of mom and baby with early intervention strategies for medical issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and substance use. Early prenatal care has been proven to save dollars by reducing the need for neonatal intensive care unit visits, and long-term medical care, education and social services costs.

Health officials are trying to overcome the statistic that low-income women tend to avoid early prenatal care, which increases the potential for poor health outcomes for mom and baby. The women often cite lack of transportation or insurance and a previously healthy baby as for waiting to see a doctor.

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First 5 leverages investments

The First 5 Solano Commission’s strategic investments of more than $5 million annually are deployed to leverage over $4 million more in local, state, federal and foundation dollars for Solano County’s youngest children. These grants fund vital community services that address the health, well-being, social, cognitive, academic and emotional developmental needs the County’s youngest children and support the stability and well-being of their families and communities. First 5 Solano also funds activities that promote and support a stronger infrastructure and more effective system of services for children aged 0-5.

·         Created a Community Stability Fund that devoted increased funding to the Family Support Services Initiative (Family Resource Centers) to assist with basic needs funding for families to address the impacts of the economic downturn.

·         Increased funding and provided home-visiting services for 209 children in contact with Child Welfare Services who remained safely in their homes/communities.

·         Provided prenatal support services to high-risk pregnant African-American women, teens and women at risk for substance abuse, resulting in 299 newborns at full-term, optimum birth weight and substance-free.

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Foster Care Youth save for the future

As part of the Connected by 25 Initiative, Child Welfare Services partnered with Travis Credit Union to provide foster youth financial literacy information. By gaining experience in financial matters, the foster youth have a batter start in establishing their own homes and successfully gain employment. Seventy-eight percent of the 27 foster youth who completed the program provided have opened and maintained a savings account.

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SolanoHelps – Promoting Self Service Technologies

SolanoHelps was launched in April to help the increased number of people in the community affected by layoffs and poverty. The free, confidential online self-assessment tool is available at www.solanocounty.com/solanohelps. The tool guides people through a series of question s that identify federal, state and local health and social services programs that may be available to them. SolanoHelps cannot guarantee eligibility for these services, due to complexities in the eligibility rules, but it does give people a reasonable idea of possible eligibility. People are strongly encouraged to apply for any service for which they feel they may be eligible.

Based on the information provided, SolanoHelps provides contact information for each program to ask questions, get additional information, and learn how to apply for these services. SolanoHelps does not ask for names, save information, or share information with anyone. By the end of September, the site had been accessed over 2,600 times.

SolanoHelps is the first wave of technology supported, self-help services that Health & Social Services plans offers. Individuals and families receiving CalWORKs, Food Stamps, and Medi-Cal can get answers to common questions about their cases at any time using a interactive phone service. People can apply for Food Stamps and Medi-Cal benefits online, and Food Stamp recipients can complete their quarterly reports and annual renewals online.

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Child Welfare Services above national standard

Social workers in Child Welfare Services continue to provide services above the national standard. Adoptions occur within 12 months of opening a case, which exceeds the national average by 29%. Permanent placements exceed the national average by 9%.

A series of innovations has helped Child Welfare Services to exceed standards and keep pace with the increasing number of cases. Solano County implemented a hotline to complete safety and risk assessments earlier in the process.

Based on the assessment, the most vulnerable children are served by multi-disciplinary teams including community and family members. Team members make joint decisions about the best path for the child’s safety: remaining at home with support services, being placed with relatives or extended family, or foster care, if necessary.

Parents of children who stay at home enroll in Solano’s voluntary family maintenance program with the goal to keep their children safe while at home.

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Dental Services shifted to younger children

A funding decrease in the Smile in Style program reduced the number of children served with classroom education by nearly one-third. At the same time, dentists started serving children up to age five during the Women’s, Infants and Children (WIC) classes held at the County’s Federally Qualified Health Centers in Vallejo and Fairfield. By rearranging how these services are provided, the County increased its ability to use federal dollars to cover program costs, saving local tax dollars for other uses.

The dental clinic uses pediatric anesthesia services to treat the most severe cases of “early childhood caries” (also known as “baby bottle tooth decay”). Since the inception of the program in March 2008, over 90 children have been successfully treated. As the need for services is increasing, the dental clinic has signed up externs from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry. Third year dental students learn dental pathologies of the County’s most needy clients while providing much needed services to the community.

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