This year, six Humboldt County programs have been recognized as being among the most innovative, efficient and cost-effective in the state. These programs include re-entry efforts for jail inmates, tracking and tracing cannabis, increased public participation in the budget process, emergency preparedness, staff training and more effective child support.
Every year the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) holds a state-wide competition called the Challenge Awards, and each of the state’s 58 counties is invited to submit its best new programs for consideration. These unique awards recognize the innovative and creative spirit of California county governments as they find innovative, effective and cost-saving ways to provide programs and services to their citizens.
The competition received more entries than ever this year (288), with 16 programs receiving Challenge Awards (the competition’s top honor), and 31 programs were recognized with Merit Awards. Humboldt County earned three Challenge Awards and three Merit Awards.
Staff from CSAC will present the awards to Humboldt County at 9:30 am at the Board of Supervisors meeting. Below is information about each program being recognized:
Sheriff’s Office – Reprogramming Corrections
The Sheriff’s Office partnered with Humboldt State University sociology students to conduct research regarding reducing recidivism, especially in light of 2011 prison realignment. One of the recommendations that came from the research was to hold a three-day re-entry fair to connect people in custody with community resources and employers.
Agriculture Department – Track and Trace Pilot Project
The Agriculture Department developed and implemented a cannabis track and trace project for tracking the movement of medical cannabis from cultivator to dispensary. Humboldt was the first California county to implement a program to track the movement of cannabis products through the distribution chain. The project has proven useful to both industry and regulators as it provides verification for proof of origin and whether the product is legal.
County Administrative Office – Budget Roadshow
In a critical year where Humboldt County was set to begin receiving cannabis tax revenue for the first time, staff from many departments and elected officials went on the road to discuss the budget face to face with the community, and received more input than ever.
Public Works – Tsunami Zone App
The Tsunami Hazard Zone App was developed to provide an additional tool for community tsunami hazard planning and emergency preparedness on the North Coast. Staff took an inter-agency approach and used existing tsunami hazard data to create an accessible, dynamic interface that could be used online from any device. The goal is to use the app as part of the community’s emergency planning efforts.
County Administrative Office – All Hands Training Day
Humboldt County reserved a full work day to bring all employees together and provide mandated and elective trainings, and had the training sessions take place on what was traditionally a county holiday for minimal impact on the public.
North Coast Regional Department of Child Support Services (NCRDCSS) – Child Support Collections for Multiple Small Counties
The challenge was to maximize the opportunity for small counties to collect child support for parents when the other parent is receiving worker’s compensation. Staff with specific expertise in this subject used relationships they have built to hone in on a process that is effective and efficient for smaller counties. This process is now being used by NCRDCSS to collect child support on worker’s compensation claims for 14 small, rural counties across the state.