Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Member/Alternates Only Meeting
Virtual meeting via ZOOM
Present: Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, John Magness, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Sol Teh, Pete Van Helden, David VanVoorhis, and Ray Wolfe.
Guests: Tom Nightingale.
Announcements: 1) Congratulations were extended to Kristine Scott who had a hole in one on a par three last week.
M/S/P: Minutes from June 2, 2020
Louis Goodwin, Chair presiding.
Supervisor Dawn Rowe spoke with the group about reopening of business and community services throughout the County and what the County is doing to help with a speedy post-COVID 19 economic recovery.
Supervisor Rowe was appointed by the County Supervisors in December of 2018 to fill the 3rd District Supervisor position vacated by James Ramos. Shortly after a complaint was filed with the County claiming that the process the Supervisors used violated the State’s open-meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act. Since that time, the case has worked its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and will likely be heard in September or December.
In March 2020 she won the 3rd District seat in the primary election. On December 7, 2020 the Supervisor will be sworn in for a four-year term.
The County budget was prepared in February; however, the pandemic had created many challenges. The March sales tax revenue is down 24% and the County has now removed some 340 positions that were on the books to be filled in the 2020-2021 budget year. Additionally, they will postpone capital improvement projects. They are estimating13% sales tax from Prop 172 and have a rough estimate of possibly $124.5M from the 1991 & 2011 Public Safety Realignment law impacting law and justice, human services, and behavioral health. The retirement system has lost 7%; the system is required to earn 7.25% each year. Today the Supervisors will review the budget but will not be able to adjust until further numbers come in.
Almost $70M in discretionary funds is needed to maintain levels of service. $20M is recommended for the Sheriff’s Department for increased mental health services; litigation challenges their ability to provide mental health services to inmates. Some $11M will go to the Registrar of Voters for the new voting system. These costs were anticipated but the reduction in revenue was not, creating a large hole.
Dr. Erin Gustafson is the County’s Acting Public Health Officer (PHO). She has worked tirelessly with both the Department of Public Health and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC). The outbreak of COVID in our congregate living situations like prisons and skilled nursing facilities has been overwhelming for public health organizations. A Skilled Nursing Facility Task Force was created and works under ARMC. This “SOS” team works in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health. There is now program for COVID compliant businesses that provides a $2,500 grant.
The first round of funding from the CARES Act brought $380M to the County. The County must adhere to the guidelines that only allow COVID-19 related expenses. The County is responsible for auditing these funds. There is no allowance to back-fill lost revenue for cities.
Most of our behavioral and physical health services fall to the County so they are being as careful and thoughtful as possible to meet needs and adhere to guidelines. A second round of federal funding is anticipated. The second round would affect all San Bernardino County cities, as the criteria is for cities with under 500,000 residents. If not approved by the Senate and Executive branch, the County will fall back to the funds already received.
Small businesses have been most heavily affected. Chairman Hagman is trying to incentivize regulation compliance. The Board has taken $30M that can be disbursed to businesses with 1-99 employees. Approved businesses can receive a $2,500 grant (not to be paid back). Those with multiple store fronts would be eligible for $1,000 for each additional location. Non-profits are not eligible for these grants, unless they have store fronts i.e. thrift shops. Supervisors have made allowances for situations including hair salons that typically have stylists who are independent contractors. Information and applications can be found on their web site https://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/
On June 12th there will be further reopening’s, include wineries, breweries, gyms, bars, campgrounds, schools and hotel/motels. County inspections will not occur, as all businesses will be self-certifying and have the authority to require face masks.
The Supervisors are optimistic that the infection numbers will remain low and they continue to encourage social distancing, masks and hand washing.
The Red Brennan Group currently has two initiatives on the November ballot.
- Repeal the FP5 expansion tax. If repealed it will cause a budget deficit.
- The San Bernardino County Supervisor Compensation Reduction and Term Limit Initiative would reduce the Board of Supervisors’ compensation from $240,000 per year to $60,000 per year and would change the term limit for the elected office of County Supervisor from three consecutive terms to one term. If approved the Supervisors will basically be part time and these positions will not attract the caliber of candidates needed for our geographically huge county.
A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:56 a.m.