The County Executive office continues to review and carefully consider all requests to fill vacancies and reclassify existing positions. Recently, the closure of Juvenile Hall reduced the overall FTE count and new positions were reviewed to address increased workloads in other departments.
With the budget adoption in June for next fiscal year, several staffing changes will bring additional efficiencies and improve service delivery for County residents.
In support of the Information and General Services Strategic Plan we have advanced several projects which meet the needs of the County and its citizens. IS has deployed Carbon Black to all county workstations, an endpoint protection tool that allows us to protect workstations even when teleworking from home and not connected to our network. In further support of continually enhancing our security we have completed an upgrade to our County Firewall.
IS continues to collaborate with departments to find ways to improve service capacity and provide better services. This last quarter this was exemplified by deploying a Road Closure web application to be used by Public Works to post road closures. The data is also available on the Ready Nevada County Dashboard and automatically sent to Google Maps. IS also provided all technical support and infrastructure for the new Vaccination Center for Public Health implemented quickly to meet go-live date.
Additionally, during this last quarter IS completed several projects that support our goal of operational excellence. IS deployed a new County telephone system ensuring reliable operations and technology while enhancing telework capabilities. IS upgraded approximately a dozen servers hosting business applications and enterprise infrastructure to the latest operating system and database version ensuring continued reliability of the infrastructure and security.
Facilities had completed the Draft Capital Facilities Master Plan and distributed at the Board of Supervisors workshop. Bear River Library Branch, New Truckee Library, Truckee Joseph Center, Animal Shelter are continued priorities for facilities as per our Capital Facilities Master Plan.
In line with the IGS Agency Strategic Plan some of the upcoming and continuing projects are:
The Treasurer & Tax Collector’s Office has collected $600k in delinquent secured tax payments since January 1, 2021, which includes 138 properties that have fully redeemed delinquent taxes with an ending balance of delinquent secured taxes at $5.2M. We have collected 98.5% of 1st installment payments and 95.7% of 2nd installment payments as of April 20, 2021 with a total outstanding unpaid balance for current secured taxes at $8M out of a $270M secured roll. Delinquent Tax Reminder letters will be mailed in May which will reduce this delinquency rate. Although unable to hold an annual auction in 2020 we are preparing for the 2021 auction which will bring in large redemption figures for long-standing delinquent accounts and get these properties back to a paying status.
Since January 1, 2021 we have received collections of over $70K for delinquent unsecured accounts bringing the total outstanding delinquent unsecured balance to $389K and releasing over 70 liens for taxpayers who have made payment in full. Staff is currently working a large collection of $50,000 for an unsecured account dating back to 2009/2010 and are proactively filing 10 year lien extensions for all of 2021 which will help to enforce collection efforts long term.
Due to COVID 19 restrictions on intercepting State Tax refunds, we have been limited in this area but we continue to prepare and download this data into the CalTrecs system so our intercepts are in place when filings occur. To help us navigate the ever increasing complex world of bankruptcy filings, we sent several staff to a CACTTC sponsored bankruptcy training to better prepare for a potential increase in filings.
We have processed over 500 penalty waivers equating to just over $150k in penalty reductions since March 2020 with due date extensions per the Governor’s Executive Order until 05.06.21. The office continues to offer alternative methods of payment for taxpayers throughout the COVID pandemic, as a result, over $10M in electronic payments have been processed during this timeframe, as compared to $6M the previous year.
With year-end approaching, we will begin sending out delinquent tax notices and notices of impending power to sell. These notices often generate an influx of redemptions. The annual tax sale will be held this year in November which can potentially be a little larger than past years due to the fact that an auction was not held in the 2020 fiscal year. Collections are cyclical in nature and worked every day so efforts are always full force for these accounts.
In the first quarter of 2021, the CEO office continued its CSAC Challenge Award winning Interim Budget Analyst program to assist with the development of the fiscal year 21/22 budget. In 2021, 3 staff were selected to participate in the program, selected from the Health and Human Services Administration, Social Services and Transit departments. The program enhances fiscal expertise countywide through the engagement of the selected staff in all phases of budget review and the Budget Subcommittee process.
CEO staff will be reviewing training, reporting and collaboration opportunities over the coming months.
Recent reorganization projects include preparation for the movement of Collections to the Treasurer Tax Collector, reducing staffing levels by 1, closure of Juvenile Hall, and extensive analysis in CDA to identify multi-department impacts and staffing needs to address the growling Cannabis permitting program.
Identifying opportunities for reorganization and/or streamlining is a continuous process, and one that County staff will continue to evaluate on an ongoing basis.
This first quarter report covers the 3rd Quarter of the 20/21 fiscal year.
Fiscal Q3 Revenues continue to show a significant positive variance over historical averages. As with the previous two quarters, this is being driven primarily by Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) revenues and PG&E Settlement revenues.
When offsetting for these deposits, revenues are slightly favorable, exceeding the average year-to-date percent of budget by 1.12%.
Fiscal Q3 Expenses continue to be above the year-to-date average performance, but by a shrinking margin, coming in at 1.4% over historical averages as compared to 8% in Q2 and 11% in Q1. The reason for this variance continues to be the pre-payment of Miscellaneous PERS Unfunded Amortized Liabilities (UAL) in the amount of $13.7M.
As mentioned to the Board of Supervisors in the June 2020 Budget Hearing as a possible pension cost saving measure, the County will save approximately $472,000 by pre-paying these PERS costs in one lump sum rather than paying on a monthly basis throughout the 20/21 fiscal year. Because of the lump sum vs. monthly payment It appears there’s a significant variance in early months of the fiscal year, but that variance will even out over the year. When adjusting for the pre-payment costs, expenses are actually less than historical year-to-date averages by 3.7%.
Some of these savings are attributable to COVID-19 cost-controlling plans enacted by departments at the onset of the public health emergency. We will continue to be vigilant in managing expenses as the COVID-19 impact plays out through the rest of the year.
In summary, when adjusting for the anomalies described above, overall performance is healthy. For certain departments that may be subject to COVID related threats, and CEO staff will continue to be vigilant in monitoring revenue and controlling costs accordingly. But overall, this initiative is marked as On Target.
Revenue projections and expenses will continue to be closely monitored for ongoing COVID-19 impacts throughout this year. Additionally, County Executive Office staff will be presenting in Q2 of 2021, a plan to the Board of Supervisors for the use of American Rescue Plan revenues. 50% of the estimated $19.3 million allocation to the County of Nevada is expected to be received in 2021, with the remainder received in 2022.
Due to the pandemic, the contractor continues to work with staff to ensure that the site content is consistent with the County’s Public Health messages. Efforts to promote out-of-town travel continue to be augmented with promoting virtual events, additionally with the change in California COVID restrictions we have started reaching out again as people are starting to make in person travel plans.
As expected, the site analytics are still below what they were for Q1 2020 as we were actively able to promote for almost all of that time as COVID hadn’t hit yet. However, they have started to bounce back with the recent return of the targeted display and targeted search campaigns.
Year over year, sessions are down about 13%, 21,549 in 2020 and 18,796 in 2021. Pageviews are only down just over 8%, with 29,107 in 2020 versus 26,590 this year. Total users is where you can see the most significant loss of outbound marketing, being down 29% year over year with 13,822 In 2021 and 19,295 in 2020.
Targeted messaging (both display and search) and other social media outreach efforts have all resumed.
Contractor will continue to target the greater SF Bay Area as well as Sacramento Metro at the pre-pandemic scale, which we expect will result in stronger numbers as California continues to open up.
1. Business Technical Assistance:
During the first quarter of 2021 SBC:
2. Warm Handoff Coordination:
3. Inclusive Business Collaboration:
4. Rural Broadband Expansion:
Next Steps for Q2 - April to June:
SBC and the County are currently revising the contract for economic development administrative services for the 2021/2022 fiscal year. The goal is to maintain and amplify the most impactful aspects of the contract related to Business Technical Assistance and Rural Broadband Expansion, and shift the approach for warm handoff coordination and inclusive business collaboration to a post-covid focus that builds towards sustainability and resiliency.
Specific next steps for Q2 - in addition to continuing work in progress includes:
1. Business Technical Assistance:
4. Rural Broadband Expansion (see Broadband)
With the County still in the “Purple Tier,” staff focused on ensuring local businesses had the information and resources they needed to operate safely to protect their employees and customers. Staff continued to host regular COVID-19 Business Task Force meetings and public webinars, and conduct direct outreach to business owners.
In mid-December, the County issued its latest “challenge grant” of $100,000 to the Nevada County Relief Fund, which netted $287,500 to provide micro-grants to 73 small business owners (see also Nevada County Relief Fund update).
Staff continues to host monthlyCOVID-19 Business Task Force meetings and public webinars, and conduct direct outreach to business owners to notify them of new state and federal grant opportunities and the most current public health guidelines.
A South County Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) has been formed to serve as a steering committee for the preparation of the document. The members of the MAC were appointed by the Board of Supervisors on April 13, 2021. Other Q1 highlights included:
An RFP will be sent out in April to solicit proposals from consultants with the intended result to have a consultant under contract by July 2021 to begin the development of the plan. In the meantime, County staff will be meeting with the newly formed MAC to inform the members about the Area Plan purpose and process and identify the timelines for the Plan.
The County Executive Office and CDA are actively engaged in identifying ways the County can support this dream to become a reality. In Q1 of 2020, the County’s contracted grant writing firm, MDM Consulting was engaged to assist the Penn Valley Community Center Foundation in identifying potential funding sources and to develop a detailed workplan to move the project forward.
Continue to work with community volunteers to identify funding and opportunities for County support.
Community Development Agency staff have completed three (3) project “Hotwash” sessions with customers. One of those sessions was with a residential property owner and two (2) of those sessions were with the commercial business owners of Java Dream coffee shop in Penn Valley and Race Car Dynamics (RCD) in North San Juan for their development projects.
These sessions involved staff from across the agency and discussed many aspects of their experiences including but not limited to what worked well, what was unclear, overall communication, and suggestions for areas of improvement. There have been many takeaways from these sessions for options to improve CDA’s services and mold them around customer needs.
Some of these initiatives staff are reviewing options for include process mapping the customers initial experience, improving online information, implementing clearer permit process and inspection checklists, provide land-use software access to Nevada City staff, reviewing reconstruction policies, and tools to set clear expectations up front for projects.
In the coming months staff will continue to look for land use projects where customers and the agency would benefit from conducting these “Hotwash” sessions. Also, staff will continue working making improvements to the aforementioned initiatives during Q2.
The County has created an Energy Efficiency Toolkit and
“Best Bang for Your Buck Guide” to help residents and business owners navigate
the complexities of energy efficiency action items. The toolkit and guide
implements the County’s Energy Action Plan and provides information to the
public to participate in reducing carbon and the impacts of climate change.
The County continues to collaborate with the Community
Working Group to implement the Energy Action Plan. The Working Group is
creating a list of helpful tips to reduce energy consumption that will be
provided to the community through regular news flashes, social media outlets
and websites. The Working Group will be engaging with the business
community to identify programs and actions that will help businesses reduce
energy consumption in addition to homeowners about energy efficient programs
that are available when remodeling or constructing new homes.
This quarter, Supervisor Hardy Bullock and County staff met with leaders from the Donner Summit Association to discuss next steps for a new visitor center, snow play area, and restroom facility. The DSA shared that parking, traffic, sanitation, and safe access to a snow play area remain challenges that need to be resolved. While a site has been identified, the group is investigating other sites that might decrease pressure at the summit, such as a snow-play area just below the summit.
An Ordinance went into effect on February 15, 2021 amending the Road Standards to include telecommunication requirements for open trench work.
In January, the Nevada County Relief Fund awarded $287,500 in "Survival Grants" to 73 small businesses. For this fourth round, the County's $100,000 was matched by $75,000 from the Town of Truckee, $1,000 from Nevada City, and the balance came from local residents over the holiday season.
The Relief Fund issued forty-two $5,000 micro-grants to businesses with employees, and thirty-one $2,500 micro-grants to sole proprietors without employees. The Sierra Business Council (SBC) administered the grant application process with oversight provided by the Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council.
SBC received nearly 180 applications representing over $700,000 in requests. After evaluating each application for eligibility, staff generated a randomly selected list that was reviewed by the Relief Fund’s Small Business Team to ensure geographic and business type diversity. While the applicants certified they were following state and local public health guidelines, County and municipal staff verified they were in good standing and had no records of complaints.
Pending the Board's decision about using American Rescue Plan Act monies for "Community & Economic Resiliency," there may be funds available next quarter to support a 5th round of micro-grants to eligible small businesses.
Initiative is due to begin in Quarter 2.
Initiative is due to begin in Quarter 3.
Board and CEO staff continues to advocate for rural broadband in coordination with our state lobbyists and partners at RCRC and CSAC.
Staff expects to contract with a federal lobbyist to advocate for federal funding to connect all Nevada County residents to the internet.
Quarter reporting period for the 2020-2021 fiscal year ended on December 31,
2020 and quarterly returns and taxes were due by January 31, 2021. As of March
29, 2021, the Treasurer & Tax Collector’s office has collected a total of
$88,239.80 for Quarter 1 and $79,110.29 for Quarter 2 for a total of
$171,291.59. Additionally, a total of 91 businesses have been successfully
registered for the current fiscal year. In February we accompanied CDA on a
site visit which provided us with the opportunity to see a cannabis greenhouse
operation first-hand and gain further knowledge of both the cultivation process
and the permitting process. In March we updated our forms to help clarify
certain areas for taxpayers, and we also implemented online forms which
provides taxpayers with a more efficient way to submit documents to our
department without having to print or mail anything. We also participated in a
webinar hosted by NCCA in March where we presented information on the tax
requirements and how businesses can stay in compliance.
track cannabis movement, and we receive regular updates on license and permit
information from both the state and county which we utilize to update our
system and keep a current list of active cannabis businesses. We continue to
send welcome packets to newly identified cannabis businesses as we become aware
of their active status, and as of March 29, 2021 we have sent a total of 76
welcome packets since the beginning of the fiscal year. In the upcoming months
we will be creating online videos for taxpayers to answer some common questions
and to provide guidance on how to fill out the various forms. We also continue
to maintain ongoing communication with taxpayers and update our processes and
forms as things evolve.
During the previous quarter, staff continued to work with property owners to bring parcels into compliance and close open code cases. Staff modified several enforcement related notices to provide violators clear and concise steps to compliance. Staff also met with the CA Water Boards, CA Fish & Wildlife, and Sheriff's Office to review several sites of concern and to discuss a collaborative enforcement approach to the 2021 cultivation season. Staff collaborated with County Counsel to make necessary changes to the current cannabis land-use ordinance in regards to enforcement, and presented this in front of the Board of Supervisors. Lastly, staff received direction from the Board to bring back an unmanned aerial surveillance draft program for review.
During the next quarter, staff will be collaborating with County Counsel to solidify a UAS pilot program to bring to the Board of Supervisors for feedback and/or approval. As public complaints typically increase drastically in the next few months, staff will begin to collaborate with the Sheriff's Office to address unpermitted cultivation violations while still continuing to monitor open cases from previous years.
During the previous quarter, staff presented license-type research findings to the Board of Supervisors at the annual Board Workshop and received feedback on priority license types to research further.
During the next quarter, CDA Staff will be meeting to review impacts to the current ordinance and EIR surrounding various larger cultivation license type and micro-businesses license options.
In the previous quarter, no state level changes or increased needs were observed by local industry stakeholders.
Staff will continue to monitor any changes at the state level which would facilitate an allowance of a compassionate use program in Nevada County, in addition to any needs expressed locally from industry stakeholders.
CDA staff have been extremely busy during the previous quarter reviewing and processing cannabis applications. During the prior quarter, CDA received 50 applications, 30 of them coming in the past month. An Accela working group was formed and has met on several occasions to discuss and identify improvements to the agency's land-use permitting software tool. In January, CDA staff held a public virtual workshop focusing on permitting basics for new applicants. Staff also held an equity grant listening session in collaboration with Humboldt State University and YubaNet in an attempt to receive public feedback. Lastly, seventeen cannabis permits have been issued year-to-date.
During the next quarter, CDA staff will continue to focus on maintaining permit review timelines and conducting permit inspections. Staff will also be meeting with Humboldt State University to continue to solidify an equity grant assessment and program. Lastly, staff working groups will continue to meet to identify and make changes to the agency's land-use permitting software to improve efficiency and consistency.
Construction continues on the project. Waitlist has been opened to accept new tenants. Scheduled to occupy the building in May 2021. Pre-leading is in progress.
Construction of the Penn Valley Senior Housing Project, Lone Oak, is continuing on schedule and is scheduled to open end of May, 2021. The project will contain 31 units of affordable housing for seniors aged 62 or older; the waitlist is open. Building will be done in next few weeks, but waiting on full PG&E service connection.
Brunswick Commons has begun underground work and work on retaining walls; foundation construction is in progress; construction financing was completed in December. HCS identified and collaborated with Nevada City's Cashin's Field project for 41 units of affordable housing. Tax credits were awarded in November, construction financing is projected to close in May, 2021, and construction is scheduled to start in the summer of 2021. This project was selected as the first Western Nevada County Local Housing Trust Fund project. Penn Valley Senior Housing Project Scheduled to open end of May. Building will be done in next few weeks, but waiting on full PG&E service connection. A developer was selected by State procurement process for development of the Truckee CHP surplus property. Design is in process; town of Truckee is lead. HCS applied for and was awarded No Place Like Home Round 2 for an amount of $1,412,000, which will be used to convert an existing three bedroom, two bath County owned property into six individual units of permanent supportive housing. An architect was selected for the project and the design review process has begun. Estimated completion date of December of 2022. HCS is currently working with local municipalities to establish and coordinate funding of affordable housing through the use of a Local Housing Trust Fund through the Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA).
Construction has started. Project is scheduled to be completed in August of 2021.
Contracts are in place to provide motel rooms for non-congregate sheltering during extreme weather as well as congregate shelter when necessary. Health and Human Services is looking at options to end family homelessness with non-congregate shelter operations and a family centered Homekey application. Currently, the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the CalWORKS Housing Support Program (HSP) is the primary step for providing youth and family housing and shelter options. We will continue to contract with Community Beyond Violence for domestic violence shelter services. It is anticipated that the Youth Committee will incorporate recommendations for shelter options for Transitional Age Youth (TAY) with a focus on an independent living program rather than a shelter program.