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Budget Briefing from the County Executive Office

As we head into the 2020-21 fiscal year, we are clearly faced with unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 global pandemic has sent our economy into a tailspin.  Yet, I am optimistic that we have what it takes to weather the storm and, I am proud to lead an organization and serve a community that steps up to help, takes care of each other, and works together to meet our local challenges.  

In January, the Board of Supervisors set the 2020 annual policy objectives for the upcoming year, which recognized new and old challenges facing the County organization and our community, including preparing for the next wildfire season and the threat of more public safety power shutoffs.  Addressing homelessness and building affordable housing projects, promoting economic development, and continued support of our emerging permitted cannabis industry were reaffirmed as key priorities.  In addition, energy resiliency was added as a board priority.  

The Board also affirmed its support in maintaining core services and financial stability in changing economic times. Just weeks later our community, like the rest of the world, was drastically changed by a novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Like the rest of California, Nevada County followed the shelter in place order issued by Governor Newsom on March 19, 2020. As a result, businesses, schools, and county services quickly adapted to working from home, taking additional health precautions, and avoiding in person contact. The County quickly shifted to emergency response and focused on rapid and accurate communication so that the community was as prepared and as informed as possible. The last several weeks of this crisis have been filled with mixed emotions. Our local economy, held up by the hard work of local businesses, has been devastated. Arts and community events have been canceled; we are isolated from our social networks, and many have lost their jobs. On the other hand, we have come together to support each other, complying with the shelter in place is containing the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada County, volunteerism is at an all-time high, and a Community Relief Fund was established to support our most vulnerable residents, non-profits and businesses.

As we continue to navigate the changing landscape that COVID-19 has brought, I am committed to continued focus on three key areas:

Communication:  Open and honest communication within our community and the organization has proved crucial in our response to the coronavirus threat and continues to be a high priority for me.  We will continue to keep the public informed about what is happening with the COVID-19 response as well as other matters impacting local government through a variety of channels.  The use of a public-facing dashboard showing COVID-19 metrics was key and we will continue to use similar tools to communicate progress on other County initiatives and Board priorities.  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:  Engaging the community in the work we do is vital and became of the utmost importance as we faced the threat of COVID-19.  At the outset of the pandemic response, County staff stepped up to help ensure the safety of our community by engaging and 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 to implement a communitywide, coordinated emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  We will undoubtedly continue to face challenges, but there is little doubt in my mind that “we are better together” as we look towards the rebuilding of our community. 

Organizational Excellence:  It is important for me to support a work culture of high performance by proactively seeking new opportunities to better serve our community, and continually improving the way we conduct business through efficiency and quality.  This includes continuing to attract talented individuals who are experts in their field as well as investing in our employees’ careers through professional development and growth opportunities. This will translate to delivering excellent public service that our residents should expect and deserve. 

Budget Documents

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