On behalf of the employees of the County of San Luis Obispo, I am pleased to present the 2014 Annual Report and take the opportunity to look back on some of the successes and challenges of the past year.
The County’s credit rating improved dramatically last year, thanks to careful planning and meticulous financial management. The rating is a testament to the solid financial position of the county, the result of steady leadership and solid management at all levels of the organization. We’ve emerged from the recession in a stronger financial condition than when we entered, and to come out of it with this sort of recognition is something in which we can all take pride.
A particular challenging task for our community in 2014 was deciding how to implement a longer-term water management system. The County’s water challenges impacted County staff and the Board agenda perhaps more than any other issue in 2014, and we continued to work toward solutions for our water demand and supply imbalances, which were exacerbated by the historic drought that continues into 2015.
At the same time, the County continued looking forward and began modernizing key systems and facilities.
In 2014, the County tested and installed new automated baggage screening equipment to improve safety at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport; at the same time the District Attorney’s Office went live with a new case management system, which helps us successfully prosecute the thousands of cases filed each year in a more cost-effective and efficient manner; and we implemented new Human Resources software that will help us find and select the most qualified candidates for open positions.
As we modernized our systems and equipment, we also upgraded and expanded facilities in order to better serve the community. In June 2014, we opened the new Atascadero Library building, which also provides a new home for our North County Service Center with more offices for the Assessor’s Office, the Planning & Building Department, and the Clerk-Recorder. Additionally, we began construction on the County’s new Women’s Jail to increase the existing capacity of County Jail, and we also began to expand the Juvenile Hall to increase juvenile services and treatment programs.
County staff also worked hard to improve existing services and programs. For example, last year we were recognized for our Transitional Age Youth Financial Assistance Program, which helps local youth formerly in the foster-care system meet their educational needs. The program earned a Merit Award from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) for changing participants’ lives in innovative and creative ways, allowing them to overcome obstacles to completing their higher education and giving them a better shot at success after foster care. The Public Works Department was also recognized for going above and beyond nationally established management practices and received the prestigious American Public Works Association accreditation. Our Public Works Department is only the 12th government agency in California to receive the accreditation and the 96th in the nation.
There is a lot to be proud of in the County of San Luis Obispo. County employees are on the job, working hard to serve and improve our community. This report highlights just a small part of the good work we do every day.
County Administrative Officer