Click HERE to download a PDF copy of the 2020 Annual Report.
On behalf of the Solano County Board of Supervisors and County staff, we are pleased to present our 2020 annual report. We remain committed to providing residents with programs and services that promote resiliency, self-sufficiency and local-control, in addition to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who lives, learns, works and plays in Solano County.
On February 13, 2020, County officials welcomed more than 400 members of the community, including families and their young children, for the grand opening celebration of the new First 5 Center, located at 3375 Sonoma Blvd., Ste. 10 in Vallejo. The new center is the first of its kind in Solano County and serves as a welcoming hub, providing a broad range of services to families with young children.
In late February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, Solano Public Health, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and Travis Air Force Base helped hundreds of cruise ship passengers quarantine at Travis. Since then, Solano Public Health, in coordination with all County departments, has helped Solano County residents and businesses navigate the state-mandated stay-at-home health orders. On August 25, the Board approved $45 million in CARES Act funding to support Solano County residents and businesses in the form of rental assistance programs and small business loans.
On August 17, 2020, the LNU Lightning Complex fire burned 42,000 acres in Solano County, impacting 849 structures on more than 500 parcels, resulting in 298 homes and 395 other structures being destroyed. The Solano County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, in coordination with all County departments, stood up the Local Assistance Center and continues to assist property owners impacted by the fire with the clean-up and recovery process.
In addition to overcoming challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency and LNU fire recovery, Solano County also made significant progress in the development plans of the Solano360 fairgrounds project, hosted two successful election cycles and honored some of our oldest living residents. As we end year 2020, we are saying goodbye to Supervisor Skip Thomson while welcoming Supervisor-Elect Mitch Mashburn. You can explore our annual report at the County’s website, SolanoCounty.com, where you will find many more accomplishments.
Erin Hannigan, District 1 Supervisor and Chairwoman of the Board
Birgitta E. Corsello, Solano County Administrator
COMMITTED TO HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Solano County is committed to the improvement of health and wellness of all those who live, learn, work and play in our community, and has expanded many critical programs and services to support residents and businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency
PROTECTING COUNTY EMPLOYEES AND PATRONS
Beginning in March, the Department of General Services, Facilities Maintenance division, began working to identify, locate and purchase critical safety supplies. Staff worked with partnering suppliers, health care providers, community organizations, state and local government agencies to secure enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies to keep County employees and the public safe – as the global demand for these products continued to skyrocket. The move to quickly secure enough PPE and cleaning supplies, coupled with the installation of custom sneeze guards at all public counters at County facilities allowed for County departments and employees, when appropriate, to safely remain open during the pandemic.
PUBLIC HEALTH HELPS KEEP RESIDENTS SAFE
The Solano County Health and Social Services Department, Public Health division, has been the lead agency on behalf of the County in helping Solano County residents, businesses and the community manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency. Since early February, when the pandemic health emergency first began, Public Health staff has been working with federal, state and local governments, health care providers and County departments to declare a public health emergency, issue stay-at-home health orders, lead testing, conduct thousands of track-and-trace efforts, implement an extensive media and public outreach campaign and produce and disseminate safety messaging – all with the goal to ensure that everyone who lives, works and visits Solano County stays safe.
FIRST 5 COORDINATES POP-UP CARE SITES IN VALLEJO
In March, just a month after the grand opening celebration of the new First 5 Center in Vallejo, First 5 was activated by the Solano County Office of Emergency Services to provide childcare options for families of essential workers in Vallejo due to the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency. First 5 staff, in coordination with the Solano County Office of Education, Vallejo Unified School District, Solano Family and Children’s Services and Child Start, successfully assisted 76 families with a total of 124 children ages 0-12 get placed in Vallejo pop-up childcare sites, allowing their parents to go to their essential jobs.
EXPANDING BENEFITS FOR RESIDENTS DURING COVID
The Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, Employment and Eligibility division administers critical federal, state and local programs, including food and cash assistance and access to medical benefits for Solano County eligible low-income residents. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, Employment and Eligibility staff transitioned most of the benefit programs online and over the phone, and limited in-person visits. Between March and September 2020, staff received, on average 3,593 applications for services per week, approximately 500 more per week than the year prior to the pandemic (March – September 2019), demonstrating the growing demand of community members needing support during the ongoing pandemic health emergency.
REACHING OUT TO OUR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
The Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, Older and Disabled Adult Services division staff, in coordination with the Napa / Solano Area Agency on Aging and the Solano County Volunteer Center, worked with local services providers to pivot their service delivery operations to support the older adult population living in Solano County in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, LNU Lightning Complex fire and public safety power shutoff events. Staff helped coordinate an army of local volunteers, including nurses and college students, to make tens-of-thousands of personal phone calls to clients, including older adults and those living with disabilities, to check-in with them, to see how they were doing, and to see if they needed anything. These phone calls served as an alternative to the services individuals would traditionally receive at the clinic and at senior centers – something that was not possible during the health emergency. Volunteers, in coordination with Solano Public Health, also stood up and staffed a COVID-19 Older Adult phone hotline, a resource for older adults, their caretakers and families to call during the ongoing emergency. Volunteers provided callers with critical information, including healthcare and mental health resource and to refer services, including healthy eating and exercise classes – all available for free online.
ANSWERING CRITICAL QUESTIONS DURING THE PANDEMIC
The Solano County Department of Resource Management, Environmental Health division consumer protection staff played an integral role in assisting Public Health staff triage and answer questions related to the State’s shelter-at-home health mandate during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency as part of the County’s public “warm-line.” As the pandemic continued, Environmental Health worked directly with local businesses, helping them meet state mandated protections, ensuring they could remain open while protecting the health of their employees, customers and the community. Since the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency began in March, Consumer Protection staff have responded to more than 400 concerns from residents related to the way businesses were implementing COVID-19 protections – helping them to meet and maintain state-mandated COVID precautions.
MAINTAINING CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES
Every Solano County department has made changes to their business operations to remain open to the public, with modifications, to ensure continuity of government as the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency continues
COORDINATING A SUCCESSFULL 2020 CENSUS COUNT
Solano County, in partnership with the cities, school districts and local non-profit agencies, coordinated with the Solano Economic Development Corporation to implement the Complete Count Census Committee. Throughout the pandemic, the committee worked together to conduct extensive outreach to the Solano community, including in English, Spanish and Tagalog, using traditional and social media channels, radio, print, email list-serves and some in-person meetings to encourage everyone to complete the 2020 census. Because of their efforts, Solano County tied as the ninth most-responsive County in the state with a 74.1% total response rate. By comparison, the state response rate is 69.6% and 66.9% nationally.
LIBRARY EXPANDS READING PROGRAM / ACCESS TO COLLECTION
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, Solano County Library Services moved much of its operations online, including the popular Summer Reading Challenge. More than 1,500 residents signed up for the challenge, which encouraged readers of all ages to keep track of the number of minutes they read during the summer months of May, June and July. By the end of the challenge, the program had recorded more than 740,986 minutes (or 1.41 years) of collective reading – making it one of the most successful challenges ever for the Library.
CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES MIGRATES SERVICES ONLINE
The Solano County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) serves more than 14,000 families, helping them to meet the essential needs of their children. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, many families faced unexpected financial hardship, including loss of employment and benefits. DCSS launched a public awareness campaign in English, Spanish and Tagalog to let families know services had changed to become easier to access, including online, phone and texting options. DCSS also worked with the Superior Court of California to offer families hearings online through Zoom, ensuring families have continued access to the legal system while helping them stay safe at home.
PUBLIC DEFENDER ADVOCATES FOR CLIENTS
To protect clients and staff, the Solano County Public Defender’s Office has transitioned most of its in-person client representation services to online and over-the-phone during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency. Throughout the Court’s limited operations, Public Defender attorneys have continued to appear in person, complete with personal protective equipment, to help clients maintain critical access to the criminal justice system. Public Defender staff have also worked together to advocate for early jail release for some clients for their health and the health of jail staff, their families and the community.
ROV HOSTS SAFE ELECTIONS FOR REGISTERED VOTERS
The Solano County Registrar of Voters (ROV) successfully administered two elections during the 2020 election cycle, including the March 3, 2020 Primary Election and the November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, the ROV modified their business operations for the General Election to provide Solano County residents with multiple options to safely cast their vote, including vote-by-mail, curb-side ballot drop-off and in-person voting locations; complete with state-mandated social distancing best practices on Election Day. Because of their efforts, the ROV reported 178,512 vote-by-mail and 30-490 in-person ballots cast, or 209,002 total votes, representing 80.74% of the total registered voters as part of the General Election - a tremendous turnout and success for the democratic process.
CONNECTING VETERANS TO THEIR BENEFITS
The Solano County Veteran Service Office (VSO) serve more than 34,000 Solano County veterans and more than 90,000 of their dependents, providing them with programs and services to which they are entitled as part of their military service. This year, the VSO filed more than 6,000 benefit claims, resulting in $24 million in new Federal dollars to Solano County veterans and their families. The Solano County VSO is in the top three VSO’s in the state with a participation rate of 35.7 percent. As a comparison, the national participation rate is 24 percent. For more information, call the VSO at (707) 784-6590 and online at www.SolanoCounty.com/Veterans.
USING TECHNOLOGY TO ISSUE CRITICAL DOCUMENTS
The Solano County Treasurer-Tax Collector-County Clerk, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, embraced the use of technology to continue to issue critical documents to Solano County residents. In coordination with the Solano County Department of Information Technology, Treasurer-Tax Collector-County Clerk staff implemented the issuing of marriage licenses using video conferencing. Staff also used the DocuSign and Microsoft Teams platforms to conduct appointments and meet with clients. The Department’s transition to online services has allowed residents to obtain essential documents while the County lobby remains closed.
HONORING OUR OLDEST LIVING RESIDENTS
The Solano County Board of Supervisors, in coordination with the County Administrator’s Office and the Senior Coalition of Solano County, successfully hosted the fourteenth annual Centenarian Commemoration event on October 6, 2020. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the Board moved the in-person event into the virtual setting, recognizing centenarians through a series of personal video vignettes – all while being live-streamed during the meeting. The Board recognized 56 centenarians and distributed a commemorative yearbook.
STEWARDSHIP OF OUR COMMUNITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The Board of Supervisors makes strategic investments in programs, services and infrastructure improvements for County residents of today and tomorrow. In the aftermath of the LNU Lightning Complex fire, Solano County is working to assist those impacted by the fire, including recovery and clean-up.
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES, SAVING LIVES
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) played an integral role in assisting Solano County residents during and after the LNU Lightning Complex fire. On August 17, fed by strong winds, the LNU Lightning Complex fire made its way into Solano County from Sonoma County. In response to the growing threat, Solano County OES activated the Emergency Operations Center to stage an all-out effort to evacuate residents safely from their homes and properties. The Emergency Operations Center included representatives from every County department – all with one goal in mind – to help Solano County residents evacuate, find shelter, gain access to the resources they need to stay safe, and assist them throughout the debris clean-up and recovery process.
VIRTUAL LOCAL ASSISTANCE CENTER
The Solano County Department of Information Technology, in response to the LNU Lightning Complex fire, quickly and efficiently created, launched and maintained a virtual Local Assistance Center (LAC) called Solano County Recovers. The virtual LAC helps Solano County residents impacted by the LNU Lightning Complex fire access critical information and documents, including, but not limited to property recovery, access to financial assistance, document replacement, healthcare and mental health services, temporary housing, veteran’s resources, agricultural assistance and voter registration. The virtual LAC website helped thousands of Solano County residents access the critical resources necessary to help with the recovery process after the devastating wildfires.
REPAIRING DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE FIRES
The LNU Lightning Complex fire burned 42,000 acres in Solano County, impacting 23 miles of County maintained roadways. The Solano County Department of Resource Management Department, Engineering and Public Works division staff worked with emergency responders to develop and implement temporary road closure and re-entry signage for property owners impacted by the fires. Public Works operations cleared the road to the top of Mount Vaca, removing trees and debris, allowing for utility crews to repair a vital emergency responder communications tower. Additionally, Public Works Engineering crews oversaw contractors who assisted in the removal of more than 1,000 burned and fallen trees and the repair of 2,400 feet of guardrails and six culverts.
PROPERTY RECOVERY EFFORTS AFTER THE FIRE
The LNU Lightning Complex fire impacted 849 structures on more than 500 parcels, resulting in 298 homes and 395 other structures being destroyed in Solano County. The fire resulted in hazardous ash, fire debris and asbestos being left on-site at most properties. The Department of Resource Management, Environmental Health Division staff, worked at the forefront of the County’s response effort to help property owners impacted by the fire through the recovery process, including clean-up and removal of ash, debris and hazardous substances. Staff accompanied the County’s contractor, NRC Group, and the State Department of Toxic Substance Control throughout the initial Phase I clean-up process. Additionally, staff is continuing a coordinated effort with the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services and CalOES to implement a government-sponsored Phase II clean-up program option for property owners.
PROBATION ASSISTS NEIGHBORING COUNTY
Early in the morning on Monday, September 28, when the LNU Lightning Complex fire began racing through Sonoma County, Solano County Probation Department staff worked quickly, coordinating with Sonoma County, the safe and efficient evacuation and transfer of youth from the Sonoma County Juvenile Detention Facility to sanctuary in Solano County. Solano County assisted Sonoma County in establishing housing, programming, education and video visitation capabilities for all Sonoma County juveniles while they were there – in addition to following all the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency safety and social distancing protocols.
AG DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS FARMERS / ENVIRONMENT
The Solano County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures staff cooperated with emergency responders during the LNU Lightning Complex fire to support local farmers and ranchers. Ag Biologists issued “verification passes,” to farmers and ranchers – allowing them to safely and lawfully bypass roadblocks – granting them critical access to their crops and livestock during the emergency. Staff also worked direct with farmers and ranchers, conducting safety meetings and coordinating the distribution of more than 76,000 face coverings to essential agricultural workers, keeping them safe, all while ensuring the continuity of food supply during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic health emergency. The Department of Agriculture also plays an important role in facilitating international trade of local and regionally produced agricultural commodities. In 2020, the department issued over 900 export certificates for agricultural shipments including hay, dried fruit, nursery stock, walnuts and almonds destined to 35 counties around the world. County Agricultural Biologists cooperated with local growers and processors to conduct over 3,000 inspectionsto ensure commodities were free from injurious pests and diseases and met various import requirements of foreign countries.
Solano County strives to provide programs and services for our residents that use taxpayer dollars responsibly and sustainably.
BOARD APPROVES FUNDING FOR COVID-19 RELIEF
On August 25, 2020, the Solano County Board of Supervisors approved $45 million in Federal Coronavirus CARES Act Relief Funds. The Solano County Administrator’s Office, in coordination with the Auditor-Controller’s Office, worked with County departments to ensure the proper accounting and reporting of Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds in support of Solano County residents and business impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency. CARES Act Funding went to support County Public Health, COVID-19 testing, rental assistance programs, small business assistance programs and public outreach efforts. Due to the extraordinary measures required to address the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, these funds were awarded, distributed and required to be spent within a 10-month period ending December 30, 2020. The public can access the County’s budget on the County website at www.SolanoCounty.com/Depts/County_Admin.
BOARD ADOPTS A BALANCED BUDGET
On September 22, 2020, the Board of Supervisors adopted a comprehensive and balanced budget of more than $1.19 billion dollars that includes a combination of funding from State and federal revenue sources and includes awarded grants, and local revenues from fees for services, interest income, various tax revenues; including property tax, business license fees, and a small amount of sales tax collected in the unincorporated areas of the County, making us financially positioned to provide the programs and services necessary to help Solano County residents thrive.