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Jeffries Journal


Kevin’s Corner                                            August 2022 - Volume 10, Issue 8

This month’s newsletter is heavy on “how the sausage is made” – so some of you may not fully appreciate getting into the weeds with me on how YOUR local government works, or sometimes doesn’t.

Analysis Paralysis – First let me note that most counties and cities are enjoying an infusion of increased revenues from property and sales taxes (thank you fellow taxpayers), and very large amounts from the federal government (thank you federal printing presses). These spikes or increases are generally considered to be one-time dollars, meaning that they won’t likely last more than a few years, so they should NOT be spent in a manner that creates ongoing revenue obligations or new programs that can’t be met when the one-time revenues dry up.  Generally speaking, my goal has been to reinvest these one-time dollars back into our communities with infrastructure improvements (paving streets, widening intersections, adding curbs and sidewalks, community centers, flood control, streetlights, etc.).  Unfortunately, MANY of those infrastructure efforts are moving forward at a snail’s pace or worse. First, we have had supply chain and material shortages, followed by contractors working at maximum capacity amid labor shortages, and then a self-inflicted internal government slowdown in reviewing, approving and constructing these needed projects.  Our office is finding that it takes several years just to get a new sidewalk or street paving project approved (not completed, just approved to start). We don’t even know yet how long it will take to get new streetlights installed in various communities. It is incredibly frustrating to FINALLY have some funding to actually help our communities, yet we can’t get the various bureaucracies to clear a path to success.  In short, we need innovative “get it done” leaders who are willing to rip-up 1970’s bureaucratic rule books and find a way to make a dent.

Forward-Facing – In county government (as with most government), you have various departments that directly serve the public. We call them forward-facing departments, such as Fire, Sheriff, Code, Parks, Transportation, Animal, Planning, Emergency Management, Flood Control, Social Services, Veterans Services, Behavioral Health, District Attorney, Building & Safety – to name just a few. Then you have the back-office departments of Human Resources, Legal Counsel, Purchasing, Facilities, IT, again, to name just a few. I have always believed that the forward-facing departments that provide the actual services to the residents/taxpayers should be the top priority departments so that the public can be served, and that the back-office departments existed to offer professional assistance to the forward-facing departments so that the job or service they provide could be done in the most efficient, rapid, and legal ways possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Often, I find that a few of the back-office folks attempt to control (or delay) how the forward-facing departments provide their services to WE the Public.  Now to be fair, our (somewhat new) County CEO is supportive in making sure our departments have the resources they need to serve the public, but the internal culture still has some forward-facing department heads or middle management kowtowing to back-room traditions of pontificating, delaying, or even derailing new ideas or new tools to improve the delivery of services to the public, because that’s how we’ve always done it. Its apparently a very long-standing power and/or cultural struggle that is going to take more time to overcome.

No Consequences – Many months ago, a member of my 1st District Staff caught a person, red handed, dumping nearly 75 used car tires off the side of the road in Mead Valley. Up close photos were taken while it was happening, suspect information and details were well documented and handed over for follow up and hopeful prosecution. To our knowledge, nothing happened. No citation, no fines, no anything.  I hope to receive updated information that our justice system is still working.  Stay tuned.

Short Term Rentals – For those of you following this industry and its challenges operating in residential neighborhoods, the Board of Supervisors conducted a 5 hour long public hearing on July 26th. The Board then continued the dicey matter to Tuesday September 13th at 9:30 a.m. with multiple issues left to resolve!   

 

Respectfully,

Kevin Jeffries