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County Executive Officer Budget Message

Our mission "to work with the community to develop sound and innovative public policy, provide strong leadership and deliver excellent services in a fiscally responsible manner" guided us over the past year as we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. I could not be prouder of how our staff stepped up, adapted, and provided critical resources, leadership, and services during this unprecedented and ongoing event. 

Together, we helped to minimize the loss of life and negative economic impacts from the pandemic, while still delivering core County services. And while there is no denying the challenges of the past year, I'm optimistic as we move forward on implementing the objectives set by the Board of Supervisors at its' January meeting.

Some priorities from last year remain at the top of the list, like Emergency Preparedness. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant focus of County efforts in 2020-21 and will continue to be a priority in 2021-22.  But other actions, such as preparing for the next wildfire season -- through clearing hazardous fuels from around our homes and roadways, building large-scale fuel breaks, and improving evacuation route safety -- are vital to keeping our community safe.  

The Board's Economic Development objective shaped our response to COVID-19's economic toll.  In 2020-21, the County helped launch the Nevada County Relief Fund that leveraged County dollars with private contributions to award over $1 million in micro-grants to small businesses to help them keep their doors open. In the coming year, the County plans to invest $5.8 Million, or 30%, of the County's federal stimulus relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, for "Community & Economic Resiliency" in new grants and loan programs designed to bolster our local economy. 

The County will continue to build on the progress we've made towards our Housing and Homelessness objectives. Projects like Lone Oak senior housing, the 51-unit Cashin's Field, the 41-unit Brunswick Commons, and the Coach and Four Motel renovation are but the beginning. 

Broadband was made a stand-alone Board objective for 2021-22 because reliable internet is a necessity. The County expedited by a year broadband access to over 800 residents in the Peardale area. The Board awarded our second round of "Last-Mile Broadband Grants," which will allocate $500,000 to support distance learning, remote working, and telemedicine and will be implemented in 21-22.

The Board also affirmed that the County's Core Services and Financial Stability must remain a priority. Strong fiscal oversight has allowed the County to weather the impacts of COVID-19 thus far, and we will continue to be prudent with our resources given ongoing economic uncertainties.  

As we continue to navigate the changing landscape forced on us by this pandemic, I remain committed to:

Communication: We expanded our public outreach team and partnered with community news outlets to keep the public aware of matters impacting the community and local government. The County's Ready Nevada County dashboard provides the public with key information in the event of a fire emergency and was widely used during the Jones Fire events in 20-21.  The COVID-19 dashboard reports key metrics that facilitate public monitoring of the state of the pandemic in our community. I believe that an informed community leads to an engaged community where new ideas can be generated, and different viewpoints can be shared.  

Community Engagement: This past year has shown us that "we are better together."  Throughout these many months, County staff engaged the community in the emergency response to COVID-19, collaborating with community partners and stakeholders, including hospitals, non-profit social and health service providers, healthcare facilities, school districts, city governments, faith communities and other public, non-profit and private agencies. Together, we responded to this emergency as it unfolded, but we also focused on our recovery from the pandemic.  

Organizational Excellence:  I am committed to a high-performance work culture in order to deliver excellent public service that our residents expect and deserve. We continually seek to improve the way we conduct business most efficiently. This includes attracting talented individuals and investing in our employees' careers through professional development and growth opportunities.    

For the last six years, this document has been recognized for its excellence and distinguished budget presentation by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. This recognition is due to the outstanding work of Martin Polt and the budget team of Barry Anderson and Georgette Aronow, along with our temporary budget analysts, Gina Doerksen, Stephanie Miller and Bret Fielder. Thanks also to Mali Lagoe, Joshua White, Taylor Wolfe, Caleb Dardick and Pam Raymond, and the many high-performing fiscal personnel throughout the organization. 

I would like to thank the Board of Supervisors' Budget Subcommittee, Chair Dan Miller and Vice-Chair Sue Hoek, for their generous commitment of time reviewing budgets with serious scrutiny, careful analysis, and good humor.

This has been a year like no other. The global pandemic has had a profound effect on our staff and our community. But it has also increased our resiliency and ability to adapt. We're ready to handle whatever comes our way, whether new challenges or new opportunities -- focused on delivering the highest standards of service to our community.

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