Former First District San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt is ending his exploratory State Assembly campaign and moving to Kentucky to work as a public affairs contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy.

In December, Mitzelfelt formed a committee to potentially seek Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s 33rd District seat while the Twin Peaks Republican considers a run for California Governor.

“This is the best decision for me and my family,” Mitzelfelt said. “While I will miss the High Desert, my continuation in elective politics would have most likely had to occur in the Legislature. The idea of spending four days a week in Sacramento, away from my wife and young children, was weighing on me. This opportunity in Kentucky allows me to resume my previous career path, and it will allow me to be at home every night.”

Mitzelfelt left office in December after six years as Supervisor of the nation’s largest county district when an unsuccessful bid for the new 8th Congressional District seat forced the Supervisor to forego re-election. The Congressional election was eventually won by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley. Mitzelfelt was replaced on the Board of Supervisors by Robert Lovingood.

Mitzelfelt was elected in 2008 after being appointed the previous year to fill the vacancy created by the election of his predecessor to another office. He was previously a county and state legislative aide and a Building Industry Association executive. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1986 through 1991.

Mitzelfelt counts among his accomplishments expediting the state’s largest county jail expansion in Adelanto, bringing a Public Safety Operations Center to Hesperia, and improving transportation and other infrastructure. He also helped establish Victor Valley College’s School of Aviation Technology at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.

Looking forward to starting his new position in the energy industry next week, Mitzelfelt said he is grateful for the opportunity to serve in county government.

“I enjoyed representing the High Desert and San Bernardino County’s citizens,” he said, “and those communities will always be able to count me as a friend, supporter and true believer in the great potential of the area.”

Former 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt has opened a committee to run for the state assembly in 2014, pending Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s decision to run for governor.

Mitzelfelt said that he has transferred the remaining balance in his supervisorial campaign fund to his Brad Mitzelfelt for Assembly account, which totals $126,210. … (Continued below) …

… From the Daily Press, January 15, 2013 … By Lynnea Lombardo, Staff Writer … (Continued below) …

… If Donnelly runs for governor in 2014, that would create a vacancy that would be up for grabs, Mitzelfelt said.

“Right now, this is just something I’m considering,” Mitzelfelt said. “I haven’t decided yet for sure — a big deciding factor is whether Donnelly is running or not. I have no intention of running against him. It’s just one option that I’m looking at.”

Mitzelfelt said that as a former supervisor he is well aware of the problems local governments deal with because of state laws.

“I can do a lot of things to improve this district,” Mitzelfelt said. “I think that there is support on both sides of the isles in Sacramento for reform of these onerous laws and regulations that are driving businesses away from California.”

Mitzelfelt said that his contacts and experiences would help him build the types of coalitions necessary to achieve those types of reforms in Sacramento.

 

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.

From PE.comThe Press-Enterprise

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY: Prescription card helps public programs

Coast2Coast Rx Card saves San Bernardino County residents almost $1 million on prescription costs in 2012

COAST2COAST RX CARD

January 24, 2013; 03:36 PM

The administrators of Coast2Coast Rx say San Bernardino County residents saved more than $997,000 in 2012 on prescription drug costs by using the program’s free prescription discount card.

The program — approved by the county and launched about a year ago — also benefits the community by generating $1.25 for each prescription filled.

The card is used by 280 governmental entities nationwide.

Coast2Coast Rx has no restrictions on age, income or health status.

Consumers enjoy savings of up to 75 percent on more than 60,000 brand name and generic prescription drugs. Other benefits include discounts on vision, dental and hearing services, diabetes supplies and veterinary services and pet prescriptions.

In some cases, even Medicare Part D patients experiencing the “donut hole” can use the card to offset out-of-pocket expenses. With no membership paperwork required, residents can simply pick up a card from locations around the county or download and print a card from the Coast2Coast website to use at one of 59,000+ participating pharmacies nationwide.

For more information, visit http://www.coast2coastrx.com/counties/ca/sanbernardino/.

Link to online article:

http://www.pe.com/local-news/san-bernardino-county/san-bernardino-county-headlines-index/20130124-san-bernardino-county-prescription-card-helps-public-programs.ece

From the Press-Dispatch, December 2, 2012, p. B-1

By Brad Mitzelfelt

Looking back on nearly six years as a county supervisor, I note major upgrades to our systems of highways, jails, roads and bridges, fire stations, parks, libraries and museums. In a word: infrastructure.

We’re tripling the capacity of the Adelanto Detention Center, as the state is now diverting thousands of state prison inmates and parolees to county jails. The existing jail has 760 beds. By the end of next year it will be 2,152.

This jail means more deputies on patrol because it will also be a booking center. Deputies in the High Desert won’t have to spend hours driving down the hill to book detainees.

Believing in the “ounce of prevention” philosophy, we supported youth intervention programs like the Police Activities Leagues and Boys and Girls Club. We also supported the recent Operation Desert Heat, which resulted in more than 170 arrests and the identification of more than 80 new gang members.

We’re currently adding a Public Safety Operations Center to the new High Desert County Government Center in Hesperia. It will host County Fire and Sheriff 911 dispatch, and the county’s premier Emergency Operations Center.

Other projects under way include the La Mesa/Nisqualli Interchange in Victorville. It as well as other infrastructure projects have come in significantly under budget because contractor bids have been 20- to 40-percent lower than projections due to competition during the recession.

Two issues that will require the attention of incoming First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood are funding the widening of roadway between the Ranchero Road underpass and the future interchange and the extension of Yates Road over the railroad tracks near Spring Valley Lake, connecting the Yucca Loma Bridge corridor to Hesperia Road.

We focused on a new countywide vision that’s guiding current and future plans. We passed reforms that limit excessive political contributions, hold wrongdoers responsible and make government information more available to public.

We provided funding to help establish the School of Aviation Technology, now operated by Victor Valley College at Southern California Logistics Airport, as well as the Apple Valley High School Precision Machining Academy. We need more programs based on those models of public-private partnership.

The High Desert Corridor between Palmdale and Victorville will ensure a solid economic future for the entire region. Once the environmental review is complete in 2014, we will need to secure private partners and public incentives and funding to begin construction on a six-lane expressway with rail access.

The county is taking on the role of regional economic development marketing coordinator in cooperation with the cities of the Victor Valley and Barstow. We all have financially committed to helping the “Team High Desert” effort to market the desert to commercial shopping center locators.

We have helped put the county on a stronger financial footing by convincing employee bargaining units to accept concessions. Many employees are now paying their share of pension contributions, and future employees will have higher retirement ages, reduced formulas for calculating pensions, and other changes to prevent “spiking” and saving the county tens of millions of dollars. I remain concerned that current reforms, including the new state pension reform law, will not result in adequate savings in the near future, so the issue will likely be taken to the voters.

I also remain concerned about access to public lands in the wake of huge solar and wind energy projects, the proposed expansion of the U.S. Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms and proposed new wilderness areas and national monuments. We took the lead in adopting policies to reduce the impact of renewable energy projects, but future economic opportunities and access in the desert will be threatened by these projects.

Finally, it will take continued vigilant efforts by our business community and elected leaders to protect the cement, energy and other industries from regulations generated by AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act.

The High Desert is a place with a bright future despite many challenges. I thank the citizens of the High Desert for the opportunity I have been given to serve them.

Brad Mitzelfelt is San Bernardino County’s First District supervisor. His term of office ends Monday.

By Brad Mitzelfelt

Looking back on nearly six years representing the largest supervisorial district in the country, I see major upgrades to our highways, roads and bridges, along with new fire stations, parks, libraries and museums. But mostly I think about the High Desert’s long-term outlook that includes a county government that is more efficient, fiscally sound and focused on opportunity.

Public safety is job number one, and we helped expedite tripling the capacity of the Adelanto Detention Center prior to the state diverting thousands of state prison inmates and parolees to county jails through state prison “realignment.” The existing jail has 760 beds, but around the end of next year the new total will be 2,152.

The jail, to be renamed the High Desert Detention Center, means more deputies on patrol at any one time because it will also be a booking center. That means deputies in the High Desert will not have to spend time driving down the hill to Rancho Cucamonga to book detainees.

Believing in the “ounce of prevention” philosophy, we supported youth intervention programs like the Police Activities Leagues and Boys and Girls Club. We also supported the recent summer-long Operation Desert Heat, which resulted in more than 170 arrests, and the identification of more than 80 gang members who were not known to us previously.

We’re adding a Public Safety Operations Center to the new High Desert County Government Center in Hesperia in January. It will host County Fire and Sheriff 911 dispatch, the county’s premier Emergency Operations Center, and improved coordination and communications capabilities.

Other projects underway include the La Mesa/Nisqualli Interchange in Victorville and the future Ranchero Road Interchange, which will break ground in January.

These and other infrastructure projects have come in significantly under budget because contractor bids have been 20 to 40 percent lower than projections due to competition during the recession.

Two issues that will require attention are the widening of the stretch of road between the Ranchero Road underpass and the future interchange, which still needs additional funding from the county and the City of Hesperia. Also important is expediting the extension of Yates Road over the railroad tracks near Spring Valley Lake and connecting to Hesperia Road at Green Tree Road. This will avoid routing regional traffic from the new Yucca Loma Bridge to Bear Valley Road.

While brick-and-mortar projects are tangible, other, less visible recent efforts will help lay the groundwork for a better future. To help restore the county’s reputation and improve operations, we replaced the County Administrative Officer with a strong Chief Executive Officer, leaving the elected Supervisors to make policy rather than micromanaging. We focused on a new Countywide Vision that is guiding current and future plans and initiatives. We passed reforms that limit excessive political contributions, hold wrongdoers responsible and make government information more available to the public.

To help bring more and better-paying jobs, we provided funding for equipment and staff to establish the School of Aviation Technology, now operated by Victor Valley College at Southern California Logistics Airport, as well as the Apple Valley High School Precision Machining Academy. Those programs develop highly-trained workers for growth fields. We need to establish more programs based on those models of public-private partnership.

The High Desert Corridor between Palmdale and Victorville has great momentum and will ensure a solid economic future for the entire region. Once the environmental review is complete in 2014, we will need to secure private partners and public incentives and funding to begin construction on the six-lane expressway with rail access.

The County is taking on the role of regional economic development marketing coordinator in cooperation with the cities of the Victor Valley and Barstow. We all have financially committed to helping the Team High Desert effort to market the desert to commercial shopping center locators, headed up by Apple Valley. This was formerly a role of the Victor Valley Economic Development Authority, which lost its funding source when the state raided redevelopment agency funds.

We have helped put the county on stronger financial footing by convincing several of our employee bargaining units to accept concessions including some on pensions. Many employees are now paying their share of pension contributions, and future employees will have higher retirement ages, reduced formulas for calculating pensions, and other changes to prevent “spiking” and other abuses, saving the County tens of millions of dollars. Current reforms, including the new state pension reform law, will not result in adequate savings in the near future, and I believe this issue will likely be taken to the voters.

I remain concerned about access to public lands, both for recreation and for economic activities, such as mining and grazing, due to the huge footprint of solar and wind energy projects proposed and under construction along with proposals for expansion of the U.S. Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms and for new wilderness areas and national monuments. We took the lead on adopting policies to reduce the impact of renewable energy projects, but future economic opportunities and access in the desert will likely be curtailed by these major land grabs.

I have been a proud supporter of the local mining industry in particular, and I believe it will take vigilant continued efforts by our business community and elected leaders to protect the cement and energy industries from regulations generated by AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act. Already, one cogeneration power plant in our county is slated for closure due to California’s unilateral attempt to “save the planet.”

Other goals I hope our current and future leaders will continue to pursue include helping ensure the St. Joseph Health, St. Mary Medical Center’s future Victorville campus is able to establish a trauma center, and longer term, it’s important for the High Desert to be the location of a four-year university.

The High Desert is an amazing place, not only for its resources and its beauty, but for its people. We have something really special here with a bright future despite many challenges. I look forward to staying involved and helping the community any way I can. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Supervisors Approve Agreement to Increase Outreach to Military Bases

The San Bernardino Board of Supervisors on November 6 approved an agreement to coordinate delivery of County-administered services to service personnel and families at the County’s three military bases.

“The brave men and women of this era who volunteer to protect and serve our nation – and their families – deserve our very best efforts to ensure they are getting the full array of services they have earned, and that we do everything we can to smooth out any difficulties they may encounter in their daily lives.” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, a Marine Corps veteran who proposed the collaborative service delivery effort. “While the military provides excellent services, the County administers many outstanding programs that can fill gaps or supplement needs of service members and their families.”

The three bases located within San Bernardino County – the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, The National Training Center Fort Irwin, and the Marine Corps Logistic Base Barstow – have 15,000 active duty personnel and 15,600 dependents.

The agreement calls for an ongoing collaboration between County service providers and military bases. Military personnel who administer service programs are often unaware of services available through the County and there is usually high turnover among those personnel. The agreement calls for County service providers to meet on regular basis with the military bases to obtain information and inform and update them on available services and resources available from all sources. The agreement does not create any new programs or require any additional funding.

Among the programs that may be of service are: Workforce Development, Veterans Affairs, Child Support, Behavioral Health, Children’s Network/Children’s Fund, Children and Family Services, Preschool Services and Transitional Assistance.

“San Bernardino County has a rich military tradition that continues to this day, and these three bases in particular have had critical roles for both training and maintaining our fighting force in the Global War on Terror,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said. “This collaboration is a common-sense but essential effort to fulfill our obligation to those who have sacrificed so much.”

Supervisors Approve Agreement with Solar Plant for Public Safety Funding

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on October 23 approved an agreement with the developer of a major solar energy project to provide funding for fire protection and emergency services.

“With a number of mega solar projects under construction and in the pipeline, it is important that the projects pay their fair share for the fire and emergency services that these large industrial facilities will require,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “Solar projects have major tax exemptions but still have an impact on public services, and negotiations are required with each developer to offset those impacts and ensure the public is protected.”

The agreement is with Abengoa Solar’s Mojave Solar Project, a 250 megawatt solar power plant on 1,765 acres, now under construction near Harper Dry Lake, northwest of Barstow. When complete, the $1.2 billion project will generate enough power to supply more than 50,000 homes.

This is the second agreement reached between the County and a major solar project, the first being BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, now under construction just off Interstate 15 near the California/Nevada state line.

The agreement calls for a one-time capital contribution from Mojave Solar of $400,000. Fifty percent of this capital payment will be offset by any sales and/or use tax generated from the project and paid to the County, resulting in a payment of $200,000 to the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District. In addition, the agreement calls for an ongoing annual payment for operations and maintenance of $411,000, with 60 percent to be offset by any taxes generated. It is estimated that the County will receive about $146,000 in property and/or possessory interest tax revenue from the Mojave Solar Project. Therefore, the annual payment from Mojave Solar directly to the County Fire District will be as much as $265,000.

In a separate agreement also approved by the Supervisors, Mojave Solar will pay for repaving the stretch of Harper Lake Road north of Highway 58 that has been damaged by heavy trucks serving the project. The existing road will be pulverized and left as a dirt road until the solar project is complete, and then will be repaved.

“It is San Bernardino County’s responsibility to ensure that, as the solar industry and the state and federal governments take advantage of our plentiful sunlight, we make sure these projects are a net benefit to our residents,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.

Mitzelfelt Applauds Supervisors’ Funding of Numerous Infrastructure Projects in the High Desert

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on November 6 approved numerous expenditures for road paving, bridge repair, park upgrades, a new fire station and other projects that reflect a larger, strategic effort to place the County on a sound financial course while freeing up dollars to wisely invest in infrastructure and amenities that provide a solid return for taxpayers.

“The Board of Supervisors is seeing to it that public money is spent for maximum public benefit in a sustainable way that fosters economic development while reducing waste,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “This is a culmination of years of hard work, and many more beneficial projects are in motion. I am pleased with the progress we are making despite the worst economy since the Great Depression.”

On the public safety front, the Supervisors on November 6 awarded a $2.1 million construction contract to Avi-Con, Inc., for construction of a new fire station at Spring Valley Lake to replace the “temporary” fire station that has served the community for 20 years. Funding for the project comes from the federal government’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which is meant to compensate counties with large tracts of federal land for the cost of providing public services.

Though Congress rarely delivers all of the money to which counties are entitled under the formula, it did fully fund the program for five years as part of a budget deal during the George W. Bush administration, meaning an additional $5 million to San Bernardino County. Supervisor Mitzelfelt proposed, and the other supervisors agreed, that a one-time windfall should be used for one-time capital projects, and that desert fire stations would be the most appropriate use for that funding.

Several key infrastructure projects were also approved November 6. They include:

* Reconstruction of National Trails Highway (Historic Route 66) in the Oro Grande area from Vista Road to one mile north, at a cost of $590,000 funded by Proposition 1B, the state transportation bond measure.  Over the past three years the Department of Public Works resurfaced six miles of National Trails Highway, from four miles south of the current project to two miles north of the current project. This one mile project completes this seven mile reach of National Trails Highway. Construction is scheduled to begin and end in April 2013.

* Rehabilitation and reconstruction of Bear Valley Cutoff, between Joshua Road and State Highway 18, in the Apple Valley area, at an estimated cost of $1,310,000, also funded by Proposition 1B. Construction of the road improvements will begin in April 2013 and will end in May 2013.

* Reconstruction of Bellflower Street between Mojave Drive and Cactus Road in Adelanto, at a cost of $767,000, financed by Measure I, the voter-approved, half-cent sales tax for transportation. Construction of the road improvements will begin in January 2013 and will end by April 2013.

* Rehabilitation and repair of two bridges on National Trails Highway in the Ludlow area at Avon Wash and Kalmia Ditch, at a cost of $600,000, funded by a grant from the Federal Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program. The grant includes $25,000 for development of a countywide bridge preventative maintenance plan. It is estimated that the repairs will take place in Fiscal Year 2013/2014.

Local government also is responsible for developing, maintaining and improving public amenities that improve the quality of life for residents, and in some cases provide opportunities for additional revenue to help offset costs. For example, Supervisors on November 6 approved a number of capital improvement projects, including $293,280 for improvements to the Off-Highway Vehicle area at Park Moabi, funded by the Regional Parks Department’s OHV fund derived from state OHV registration fees. The Colorado riverfront park’s operations were recently contracted to the private operators of its Pirate Cove Resort at significant savings to the County.

Combined with recent and planned improvements at Calico Ghost Town Regional Park, those expenditures are examples of making improvements to popular facilities that will draw even more residents and tourists for recreation, and generate more revenue for the County. Supervisor Mitzelfelt observed that his allocation of discretionary district funds (recently eliminated going forward by the Board over Mitzelfelt’s objections) paid for museum upgrades at the County’s top-grossing regional park at Calico, and that that allocation attracted Capital Improvement Program dollars for additional improvements.

“We saw the same phenomenon play out with discretionary allocations that resulted in the complete renovation of the Barstow Sheriff’s Station and the construction of the Phelan Memorial Library,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said. “Board Member dollars help leverage other dollars, like Capital Improvement Funds. Such allocations also helped create the School of Aviation Technology in Victorville, which gave the County’s Workforce Investment Board an ideal population of high-tech trainees to assist.”

Unincorporated Areas to Have Access to Apple Valley Animal Shelter

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on November 27 approved a 10-year contract with the Town of Apple Valley to provide animal shelter services to the unincorporated areas of the Victor Valley.

“This contract provides for the County’s Animal Care and Control program to have access to the state-of-the-art shelter recently constructed by the Town of Apple Valley,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “Residents of unincorporated Victor Valley areas will now have easy, one-stop access to recover lost pets and adopt new animals, while the cats, dogs and other small animals will be housed in a comfortable, modern facility with dedicated and caring staff to look after them. This is another great example of regional cooperation to provide high-quality public services at the most affordable cost to the taxpayer.”

The County does not own or operate an animal shelter in the High Desert, and instead contracts with the City of Hesperia and a private vendor to take in lost and abandoned cats and dogs from unincorporated areas of the Victor Valley. This agreement will provide a single, central location for those services. The agreement takes effect January 1, 2013.

The total annual cost for the contract for the initial period of January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013 is $183,875 and includes $35,000 for one-time purchases of additional equipment and cages. Each subsequent fiscal year, the County’s cost will be based on an annual rate of $297,750 plus any Consumer Price Index increase for each corresponding year.

From the Daily Press, November 24, 2012 … By Lynnea Lombardo, Staff Writer …

ADELANTO – The captain of the jail heaved open a thick metal door, revealing a well-lit corridor covered in a thick coat of cream-colored paint.

“This paint is actually MRSA resistant,” said Captain Jon Marhoefer, referring to a potentially deadly strain of bacteria that is antibiotic resistant. “It kills on contact.”

Marhoefer, who has been the captain of the Adelanto Detention Center since 2007, is talking about the newly expanded jail that is set open by November 2013. This is the largest jail construction in the state right now, according to Marhoefer, and was the first jail to begin construction after Assembly Bill 900 was passed in 2006. Marhoefer said that a portion of funds from this $1.2 billion assembly bill were granted to facilities that experienced a high need and had the land availability.

“We were the first jail to break ground from this bill, and the first jail to be finished,” Marhoefer said.

Marhoefer credits the efforts of 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt for the additional facilities, saying that his efforts are what drove the expansion process, thanks to a number of resolutions and agreements that Mitzelfelt took the lead in creating.

The jail expansion will add 1,392 new beds to the 706 existing beds, tripling its current capacity. Because of Assembly Bill 109 and the effects of prison realignment, Marhoefer said that this expansion comes at a time when it is most needed.

“This makes sure that inmates who need to be kept in custody stay in custody,” Marhoefer said, explaining that the average jail sentence is 22 months. Because of prison overcrowding, there’s more of a demand on jails to house inmates for longer periods of time. “This building put us in a good potion to handle realignment. Ninety-nine percent of everybody who gets arrested gets released — we have an obligation to the citizens to try to impact the crime rate and recidivism.”

Andy Silva, a spokesman for Mitzelfelt, said that the new high-security jail is meant to accommodate the worst-of-the-worst.

“They’re the only ones being incarcerated now anyway,” Silva said.

The new jail — with a price tag of $120 million — was constructed with a booking facility, two dental chairs, an X-ray machine and a floor plan that minimizes inmate movement. The two-person cells are 70 square feet and are designed with multiple security features that keep both inmates and prison personnel as safe as possible, said Marhoefer.

Because of demographic shifts, Marhoefer said that the floor plan is also adaptable, and was built to accommodate shifts in the jail population in the future.

“Currently, a jail is 80 percent male, 20 percent female,” Marhoefer said. “If that changes, a future captain will be able to easily adjust the jail so it suits the needs of the community.”

The jail is designed to minimize contact between the inmates and the public, Silva and Marhoefer said. Each housing unit has its own video office that allows inmates to communicate with visitors remotely, which they hope will drastically reduce contraband. Each housing unit will be self-contained, meaning that inmates will not have to leave their units to reach a nurses office, a recreational room and educational facilities.

The booking facility also will also allow patrol deputies to get back on the streets after an arrest is made instead of having to drive down the hill to West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga said Marhoefer.

“It’s three hours minimum to book a suspect,” Silva said. “An hour down to West Valley, an hour to book and an hour to make it back up hill. That translates to lots of man hours back on street.”

Marhoefer said that one of the greatest challenges of the expansion has been maintaining a high-security functional jail during construction, a feat they accomplished by learning about what works and what doesn’t from jails that have undergone similar processes. Marhoefer explained that the jail expansion has also created 500 jobs over the past three years. And once it’s completed, it will be staffed by an additional 270 employees.

“We’ve been working on this since April of 2006,” Marhoefer said. “It’s nice to see it finally come together.”

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.

SAN BERNARDINO – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an agreement to coordinate delivery of County-administered services to service personnel and families at the County’s three military bases.

“The brave men and women of this era who volunteer to protect and serve our nation – and their families – deserve our very best efforts to ensure they are getting the full array of services they have earned, and that we do everything we can to smooth out any difficulties they may encounter in their daily lives,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, a Marine Corps veteran who proposed the collaborative service delivery effort. “While the military provides excellent services, the County administers many outstanding programs that can fill gaps or supplement needs of service members and their families.”

The three bases located wholly within San Bernardino County – the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, The National Training Center Fort Irwin, and the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow – have 15,000 active duty personnel and 15,600 dependents.

The agreement calls for an ongoing collaboration between County service providers and the military bases. Military personnel who administer service programs are often unaware of services available through the County and there is usually high turnover among those personnel. The agreement calls for County service providers to meet on a regular basis with the military bases to obtain information and inform and update them on available services and resources available from all sources. The agreement does not create any new programs or require any additional County funding.

Among the programs that may be of service are: Workforce Development, Veterans Affairs, Child Support, Behavioral Health, Children’s Network/Children’s Fund, Children and Family Services, Preschool Services and Transitional Assistance.

“San Bernardino County has a rich military tradition that continues to this day, and these three bases in particular have had critical roles for both training and maintaining our fighting force in the Global War on Terror,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said. “This collaboration is a common-sense but essential effort to fulfill our obligation to those who have sacrificed so much.”

 

 

SAN BERNARDINO – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors today approved numerous expenditures for road paving, bridge repair, park upgrades, a new fire station and other projects that reflect a larger, strategic effort to place the County on a sound financial course while freeing up dollars to wisely invest in infrastructure and amenities that provide a solid return for taxpayers. 

“The Board of Supervisors is seeing to it that public money is spent for maximum public benefit in a sustainable way that fosters economic development while reducing waste,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt following his second-to-last meeting as County Supervisor.  “Today was a culmination of years of hard work, and many more beneficial projects are in motion.  I am pleased with the progress we are making despite the worst economy since the Great Depression.”

On the public safety front, the Supervisors today awarded a $2.1 million construction contract to Avi-Con, Inc., for construction of a new fire station at Spring Valley Lake to replace the “temporary” fire station that has served the community for 20 years. Funding for the project comes from the federal government’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which is meant to compensate counties with large tracts of federal land for the cost of providing public services.

Though Congress rarely delivers all of the money to which counties are entitled under the formula, it did fully fund the program for five years as part of a budget deal during the George W. Bush administration, meaning an additional $5 million to San Bernardino County. Supervisor Mitzelfelt proposed, and the other supervisors agreed, that a one-time windfall should be used for one-time capital projects, and that desert fire stations would be the most appropriate use for that funding. 

Several key infrastructure projects were also approved today. They include:

* Reconstruction of National Trails Highway (Historic Route 66) in the Oro Grande area from Vista Road to one mile north, at a cost of $590,000 funded by Proposition 1B, the state transportation bond measure, and no cost to the County General Fund. Over the past three years the Department of Public Works resurfaced six miles of National Trails Highway, from four miles south of the current project to two miles north of the current project. This one mile project completes this seven mile reach of National Trails Highway. Construction is scheduled to begin and end in April 2013.

* Rehabilitation and reconstruction of Bear Valley Cutoff, between Joshua Road and State Highway 18, in the Apple Valley area, at an estimated cost of $1,310,000, also funded by Proposition 1B at no cost to the County General Fund. Construction of the road improvements will begin in April 2013 and will end in May 2013.

* Reconstruction of Bellflower Street between Mojave Drive and Cactus Road in Adelanto, at a cost of $767,000, financed by Measure I, the voter-approved, half-cent sales tax for transportation.  Construction of the road improvements will begin in January 2013 and will end by April 2013.

* Rehabilitation and repair of two bridges on National Trails Highway in the Ludlow area at Avon Wash and Kalmia Ditch, at a cost of $600,000, funded by a grant from the Federal Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program. The grant includes $25,000 for development of a countywide bridge preventative maintenance plan. It is estimated that the repairs will take place in Fiscal Year 2013/2014.
 
Local government also is responsible for developing, maintaining and improving public amenities that improve the quality of life for residents, and in some cases provide opportunities for additional revenue to help offset costs. For example, Supervisors today approved a number of capital improvement projects, including $293,280 for improvements to the Off-Highway Vehicle area at Park Moabi, funded by the Regional Parks Department’s OHV fund derived from state OHV registration fees.  The Colorado Riverfront park’s operations were recently contracted by the County to the private operators of its Pirate Cove Resort at significant savings to the County. 

Combined with recent and planned improvements at Calico Ghost Town Regional Park, those expenditures are examples of making improvements to popular facilities that will draw even more residents and tourists for recreation, and generate more revenue for the County.  Supervisor Mitzelfelt observed that his allocation of discretionary district funds (recently eliminated going forward by the Board over Mitzelfelt’s objections) paid for museum upgrades at the County’s top-grossing regional park at Calico, and that that allocation attracted Capital Improvement Program dollars for additional improvements.

“We saw the same phenomenon play out with the allocations that resulted in the complete renovation of the Barstow Sheriff’s Station and the construction of the Phelan Memorial Library,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.  “Board Member dollars help leverage other dollars.  Such allocations also helped create the School of Aviation Technology in Victorville, which gave the County’s Workforce Investment Board an ideal population of high-tech trainees to assist.”

“One of my messages to my successor during what will be a thorough and exhaustive transition will be the importance of restoring the Board’s discretionary funds program,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.

… News from the Office of Brad Mitzelfelt, Vice-Chairman and First District Supervisor, San Bernardino County … Contact: Andy Silva (909) 387-4830 … November 6, 2012 … www.sbcounty.gov/mitzelfelt

SAN BERNARDINO – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on October 23 approved an agreement with the developer of a major solar energy project to provide funding for fire protection and emergency services.

“With a number of mega solar projects under construction and in the pipeline, it is important that the projects pay their fair share for the fire and emergency services that these large industrial facilities will require,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. “Solar projects have major tax exemptions but still have an impact on public services, and negotiations are required with each developer to offset those impacts and ensure the public is protected.”

The agreement is with Abengoa Solar’s Mojave Solar Project, a 250 megawatt solar power plant on 1,765 acres, now under construction near Harper Dry Lake, northwest of Barstow. When complete, the $1.2 billion project will generate enough power to supply more than 50,000 homes.

This is the second agreement reached between the County and a major solar project, the first being BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, now under construction just off Interstate 15 near the California/Nevada state line.

The agreement calls for a one-time capital contribution from Mojave Solar of $400,000. Fifty percent of this capital payment will be offset by any sales and/or use tax generated from the project and paid to the County, resulting in a payment of $200,000 to the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District. In addition, the agreement calls for an ongoing annual payment for operations and maintenance of $411,000, with 60 percent to be offset by any taxes generated. It is estimated that the County will receive about $146,000 in property and/or possessory interest tax revenue from the Mojave Solar Project. Therefore, the annual payment from Mojave Solar directly to the County Fire District will be as much as $265,000.

In a separate agreement also approved by the Supervisors today, Mojave Solar will pay for repaving the stretch of Harper Lake Road north of Highway 58 that has been damaged by heavy trucks serving the project. The existing road will be pulverized and left as a dirt road until the solar project is complete, and then will be repaved.

“It is San Bernardino County’s responsibility to ensure that, as the solar industry and the state and federal governments take advantage of our plentiful sunlight, we make sure these projects are a net benefit to our residents,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.
… News from the County of San Bernardino, Office of Brad Mitzelfelt, Vice-Chairman and Supervisor, First District, San Bernardino County.  October 23, 2012 … For information, contact Andy Silva (909) 387-4830. www.sbcounty.gov/mitzelfelt

At the request of First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has set guidelines for minimum qualifications for its appointees to the San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association Board of Retirement.

“The Board of Retirement oversees a $6 billion portfolio and it is common sense that members appointed by the Board of Supervisors should have some proven expertise in complex financial matters,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “These standards will help ensure that our appointees will have the qualifications to protect the County’s current and future retirees, as well as our taxpayers.”

The SBCERA Board of Retirement is made up of nine members with four of those members appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Retirement is responsible for strategically managing and making investment decisions for a $6 billion portfolio that provides service retirement, disability, death and survivor benefits for nearly 32,000 members of SBCERA. Board of Retirement members are responsible for ensuring that funds are adequately diversified with acceptable levels of risk to provide sufficient assets to fund benefits.

The policy adopted on Tuesday, September 11, establishes a standardized procedure for advertising openings and reviewing applications. It also sets guidelines for minimum qualifications for appointees, including a bachelor’s degree or higher in economics, business or public administration, finance, accounting, or a related field, and a minimum of two years of recent experience performing budget/financial analysis or managing financial investments in a public agency or private institution.

Until adoption of the policy, there were no local standards or procedures for advertising openings or vetting candidates.

“The San Bernardino County retirement system is nearly $2 billion underfunded to meet its obligations for current and future retirees, making it critical that we have the best qualified people on the retirement board to ensure that we are safely maximizing returns so those retirement costs don’t fall to the taxpayers,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.

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