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By OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett
In reflecting on the year that just passed and looking forward to the year ahead, I realize that the work county and local governments have been doggedly engaged in can be summarized in a single word: Motion.
In July, we cleared ourselves completely from the last vestiges of the 1994 bankruptcy and we are speeding forward with a focus and alacrity befitting our inspired community. This year, residents across the county will marvel at where we are going, and how we are getting there.
From the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization project to the John Wayne Airport General Aviation Improvement Program to continued improvements on Interstate 5 in South County, the projects we are putting into motion will literally propel more residents, tourists and business leaders around the county.
The stunning—and hard-fought—improvements in transportation and public works will affect all of our day-to-day living and prospects for our future, as Orange County alleviates traffic burdens while simultaneously attracting more businesses and tourism dollars to our already thriving community.
We’ve also made relatively small changes that will result in incredibly big changes for many of our residents. For example, we have reduced taxes for homeowners and business owners participating in Urban Agricultural Incentive Zones for the city of San Juan Capistrano, protected neighborhoods from unregulated commercial marijuana in unincorporated communities and commenced the next phase of flood protection projects in San Juan Creek.
Of all of our accomplishments, I am particularly proud of the Public Private Partnership (P3) model we invested in for the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization project. After 20 years of discussions, debates and regulatory challenges, the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization plan is underway through a P3 model that allows us to leverage private sector expertise, create jobs, spur commercial retail growth and reduce our use of public funds—all while creating a celebrated gateway to the entire Orange County region.
Of course, new projects are not our only metric of success. As a county, we are responsible not only for infrastructure and growth but for one another.
This past year, we allocated additional resources toward the creation of permanent supportive housing for the homeless. Our plan will place more mentally ill homeless people into housing and connect them with the health care and other resources they need to get back on their feet. This $15 million mental health services allocation will reduce our cost to care for these individuals, while providing them with stable homes and improved health outcomes.
We are also making government services more accessible to everyone. With the launch of three award-winning mobile apps, including myOCgov, Senior Resources Mobile App and myOC eServices, the county has increased the efficiency and effectiveness of government.
We’re making changes this year to our brick-and-mortar operations, too. Having approved a new Civic Center Master Plan, the county is on its way to building a new Civic Center that will feature a customer-centric “one-stop” public service center for many government agencies. The effort will streamline interactions and improve public engagement, so the public can spend less time standing in lines and filling out forms.
And more time in motion.
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.