By Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Supervisor 5th District
I am proud of the sound financial footing the county is on today. On July 1, the county made the final bankruptcy payment which retires all bond debt related to the 1994 bankruptcy filing.
I would like to commend previous leaders on the Board of Supervisors, including State Senators Patricia Bates and John Moorlach, with the foresight to conservatively manage the county’s budget. The county’s fiscal discipline has allowed for increased investment in our communities.
However, the county’s financial progress can be placed in jeopardy with the enrollment of Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer). On June 6, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to unanimously oppose AB 1250 which will impede the county’s ability to contract with the most cost effective partner to deliver services. Requirements in AB 1250 drive up costs to the taxpayer and reduce opportunities for counties to enter into contracts for essential services. That is why 48 California counties have also opposed this burdensome legislation.
I am a strong proponent of public private partnerships (P3) for many reasons. The expertise of the private sector adds value to public sector programs and projects. The private sector further enhances government’s ability to deliver services effectively and efficiently through years of experience in their area of specialty, the use of technology, and the implementation of best practices utilized in the free market. Additionally, P3 relationships strike the right balance in the hiring of employees and contractors, a normal standard of practice in business. The cost savings generated from reducing benefits costs and pension liabilities are astronomical.
County partnerships with the private sector and nonprofit groups range from ambulance services, homeless support, to emergency and disaster response and more.
County contracts are not in the shadows—quite the contrary. As chair of the Board of Supervisors, I championed an effort to ensure our board agendas are finalized, printed and distributed two weeks in advance. This extended time encourages community input and fosters greater transparency with the public on the issues facing our communities, which include county contracts for many services. I am pleased to report our new system for county board agenda items and meetings has successfully improved efficiency and public access to county government.
If signed by the governor, AB 1250 will require Orange County to hire more than 3,000 employees, which equates to a $340 million cost increase for the same level of service. This is an additional cost that taxpayers cannot afford.
I encourage you to learn more about the impacts of this devastating legislation at www.stopab1250.com or @StopAB1250. Please reach out to your legislators to oppose AB 1250, which could result in decreased access to services for Orange County residents.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett represents the 5th District on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, which includes the cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, (portions of) Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.
PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, The Capistrano Dispatch provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of The Capistrano Dispatch or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.