SERVICE GOALS AND STRATEGIES
The following service goals and strategies are not intended to provide a comprehensive, program- and project-specific picture of all County services and responsibilities. Rather, they reflect and highlight important broad-based goals and strategies contained in detailed County department and agency strategic plans which are consistent with the philosophies, principles and priorities set forth in this document. For more specific information relative to a departmental-level strategic plan, the reader is referred to that department.
In this section, you will find basic service goals and strategies for the six areas of government administered by Riverside County. They include: General Government; Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice; Environment and Community Development; Health Services; Community and Social Services; and, Recreation, Cultural, and Educational Services.
(Board of Supervisors; County Executive Office; County Counsel; Assessor; Treasurer-Tax Collector; Auditor-Controller; Elections; Support Services;)
In the functioning of general government, Strategic Vision calls for developing efficiencies and employing new technologies whenever and wherever possible to improve the overall effectiveness of County services. These efforts will include the constant reevaluation of programs, practices, and procedures in order to streamline services without compromising internal controls, while eliminating unnecessary "red tape", waste, and inefficiency. The County will maintain its position as a leader among California counties in the use of information technology to improve productivity and enhance customer service.
In general, service levels in this area will be proportional to the size of the organization and will be determined by the County's various internal services needs and/or accountability requirements.
In order to optimize citizen input in the development of County policy, the Board of Supervisors pledges to enhance and promote a welcoming, accessible and effective citizen participation process that includes established, predictable and timely communication methods. (Please refer to Citizen Participation on page 36.)
So that society may benefit from the skills, talents, and interests of individuals with disabilities, physical accessibility to County facilities and programs will be enhanced by full and timely implementation of the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In order to maintain credibility and citizen confidence in government, Riverside County will continue to be committed to the implementation of prudent financial practices, assessment procedures, and taxation and accountability mechanisms which will ensure that the County responsibly handles the fiscal resources with which it has been entrusted.
Recognizing that future financial resources will likely be insufficient to satisfy projected service demand, your Board will aggressively seek, through its legislative program, to redress funding imbalances, provide stable funding for mandated services, and gain the County's fair share of State and Federal grants and subventions. Where special funding is needed for localized services, the County pledges to honestly and fairly implement the provisions of Proposition 218 (the "Right to Vote on Taxes" initiative) to seek community approval for such funding.
Recognizing its responsibility for regional leadership, the County is committed to fostering a network of government, quasi-government and private services which are synchronized and seamless, with shared goals uniting organizations and individuals. Efforts will be initiated and supported to improve working relationships between County departments and State and Federal government agencies, special districts,cities, adjacent counties, subregional agencies, and Native American Indian tribes. The most efficient collaboration of public, private and non-profit entities will be sought to serve the public in a cost-effective manner.
Finally, your Board of Supervisors appreciates the invaluable contribution made to County government by its employees, the organization's most important asset. The Strategic Vision strategy for general government calls for the enablement and empowerment of the County "public servant" to become a model for initiative, efficiency, and customer service. To that end, your Board is committed to working closely with employee organizations to see that these objectives are accomplished.
Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
(Sheriff; Coroner; District Attorney; Public Defender; Courts; Jail; Juvenile Detention; Probation Services)
Strategic Vision calls attention to the Board of Supervisors' commitment to public safety and its pledge to give this function of County government its highest priority when allocating discretionary General Fund monies.
The Board further commits to continuing efforts to secure and maintain adequate resources to support a balanced, base-level of county-wide public safety and criminal justice services. Such services are those which are equally available to all residents no matter where they live, including:
Law enforcement services, including base level sheriff patrol at a targeted staffing ratio of one Deputy Sheriff per 1,000 population, in the unincorporated area; emergency services and hostage negotiation teams; hazardous device team; specialized investigations; civil process; 911 dispatch; and, other specialized services
A critical consideration in the maintenance and enhancement of effective law enforcement and criminal justice programs is the concept of "system balance". In order for crime to be prevented, perpetrators to be apprehended, the accused to be housed and prosecuted, and the guilty to be punished, resources need to be balanced in an effective manner. For example, if a criminal is arrested and convicted, but the necessary corrections services and jail facilities are not available to manage that criminal, then the system breaks down at that juncture. To ensure efficiency and effectiveness, service delivery should be provided in a collaborative and cooperative effort with other County departments, and with other criminal justice and community service agencies in the County and the region. Strategic Vision calls for the continued implementation of a coordinated and balanced approach to criminal justice service delivery through the ongoing operation of its Justice System Policy Advisory Committee, which includes the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the Presiding Officer of the Consolidated Courts, the District Attorney, the Sheriff, the Public Defender, the Chief Probation Officer, the County Executive Officer, and city representation.
The County's Strategic Vision provides that enhanced levels of public safety services requested by particular unincorporated communities will be funded by mechanisms other than general property taxes. An example of such service is Sheriff's patrol in high density unincorporated areas above the county-wide base (rural) standard. Where a community will support an appropriate special tax, the County will provide (typically through a County Service Area) an enhanced level of law enforcement until annexation or incorporation occurs.
In an effort to limit the number of persons entering the criminal justice system, the County will promote, support and encourage the development and implementation of a broad range of crime prevention measures, including the implementation of a community policing approach, public information and education efforts, and development of parks, community centers, and activity programs for youth. Much of this activity will take place in cities. The County's role, in this case, will be to "Support the Community Agenda" through the provision of leadership, assistance in developing funding solutions, and facilitating County-wide cooperative efforts. Current examples of these programs include the Youth Intervention Program and Youth Accountability Boards, which help communities to steer wayward youth.
Where found to be cost-effective, the development and use of a continuum of community sanctions (i .e. penalties or removal of privileges) and services to supervise juvenile and adult offenders should be maximized in the County and throughout the State. This will insure that limited and costly jail, detention, and prison resources are available where they are needed most.
Recognizing that public safety and criminal justice facilities are operating beyond design capacity, your Board of Supervisors has expressed its determination to develop and prudently use financial resources to renovate, expand, and build appropriate facilities and systems to serve the County well into the next century. By 2002, the County's plans include efforts to:
Environment and Community Development
(Planning; Building and Safety; Code Enforcement; Transportation; Surveyor; Economic Development; Housing; Flood Control and Water Conservation; Fire Protection; Agricultural Commissioner; Habitat Conservation Agency)
To a large extent, Riverside County's destiny will be shaped by the desires of community residents, the wisdom of local officials responsible for the public trust, and the initiative of land development entrepreneurs. As regards land use planning, growth and development, County government is committed to balancing economic development with individual property rights, neighborhood livability, and the needs of the community as a whole.
The County's Comprehensive General Plan should articulate a long-range vision for the location of urban, rural, open space, and agricultural land uses in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County. As such, it should serve as the basis for all land use and public services planning activities in the unincorporated area of the County, and should influence the planning of other agencies, such as cities and special districts.
On October 20, 1998, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a three-pronged plan to overhaul the Comprehensive General Plan. This effort will consist of the preparation of a Multi Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), a major transportation corridor study under a Community Environmental Transportation Acceptability Process (CETAP), and the development of a mapped, updated General Plan of Land Use (GP). In approving this Integrated Plan strategy, the Board made a commitment to an open and inclusive consensus-building approach which will allow all stakeholders a seat at the table@ and a role in plan development. The goal is to develop three planning products, under the overall policy umbrella of the Comprehensive General Plan, which are complimentary and consistent with each other. As a kickoff to the effort, the Board tentatively endorsed fifteen planning principles@ which were developed by a coalition of building industry, landowner, and environmental interest groups. These principles are included in Exhibit C.
Completion of the MSHCP, CETAP, and General Plan work products is anticipated by January, 2001, at which time public hearings on their adoption will commence.
The Board of Supervisors feels strongly that the creation of jobs and the promotion of economic diversity are keys to the accomplishment of the County's Strategic Vision. Accordingly, County government will emphasize and promote quality commercial and industrial development in the County through a comprehensive economic development strategy (see Economic Development, below).
In order to insure that public services can keep pace with population growth, careful attention will be paid to the individual and cumulative fiscal impacts of land development projects. Approval of development applications will be dependent upon the ability of the appropriate government entities to provide adequate public services and facilities within the affected community.
Careful, comprehensive planning is the initial step in the County's land use program which has as its goal the development and preservation of quality communities. However, the key to success may be in the implementation phase. In order for the Strategic Vision to be realized, an aggressive Building and Safety effort will be funded to ensure that buildings are constructed properly, that conditions of development approval are met, and that the County's land use ordinance is effectively and fairly enforced.
The affordability of housing and the marketability of the County's developable commercial and industrial properties depend to a great extent on costs attributable to government regulation. Strategic Vision calls for the streamlining of the planning process, the elimination of excessive requirements, and a fee structure for current planning services related to land development and building programs which recovers no more than the actual costs to conduct such programs.
The degree of public infrastructure differentiates rural from urban areas. Extensive road networks, mass transportation systems, water and sewer facilities, flood control systems, schools, parks and other public facilities are essential to support high population densities in a manner which reflects favorably upon the livability of a community. Because new facilities often correct current deficiencies and provide a benefit to existing residents, it is the County's belief that new land development must bear its fair share of the cost of additional community infrastructure necessitated by the increased demand which it generates. In practice, this philosophy will continue to be carried out through Board-approved conditions of land use approval, including land and facility dedication and/or in-lieu impact mitigation fees, and in coordination with long range transportation planning.
Through the Circulation Element of the General Plan, the County's 7-year Transportation Improvement Program, and its leadership through the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG), and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), the County will promote the development of a comprehensive regional transportation system to accommodate future needs. An important part of this effort will be the identification and acquisition of funding for capacity improvements on critical County transportation corridors linking important population, employment, and tourism centers. As noted earlier, the CETAP portion of the Comprehensive General Plan update project will seek to identify potential new east-west and north-south transportation corridors to relieve pressure from existing freeways serving the Inland Empire region.
As the County continues to experience steady growth, unincorporated areas will become more urban in character, causing our transportation system to play an ever-increasing vital role in the quality of life of the County's residents and visitors. This change in character, will require that our transportation system employ features which are more urban in nature, becoming more sophisticated and varied, offering a greater variety of travel modes.
The SCAG Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) addresses the type of transportation system which will be required to serve future growth in a balanced manner. The RTP calls for continued development of the primary highway network, with public transit, bicycle, and pedestrian elements to complement, and, in some cases, substitute for capacity expansion of the roadway system. Transportation systems management strategies (such as traffic signal synchronization, high occupancy vehicle lanes, and freeway ramp metering) and demand management strategies (such as staggered work hours, ridesharing, and telecommuting) will continue to be promoted by the County to achieve regional transportation and air quality goals. In furtherence of the the RTP vision, the County will also work in concert with appropriate government entities and the private sector to improve freight rail service, expand air cargo and passenger capacity at our regional airports, and explore the feasibility of an Inland Empire "bullet train" as part of a statewide High Speed Rail system.
The County Transportation Department's efforts will continue to be sharply focused on maintaining the 2,600 miles of roads under its jurisdiction in a safe and efficient manner. At the current time, only about half of this system is rated in "good" condition. In light of limited road maintenance dollars, the County will seek to develop an optimum preventive maintenance and resurfacing regimen for its Maintained Road system to preserve the County's $2 billion investment in road pavement. In furtherance of this strategy, the County will continue research, experimentation, and implementation of innovative technologies, techniques and procedures for pavement maintenance and pothole repair.
Rural residents in unimproved communities desiring paved local roads will need to consider an Assessment District, a County Service Area or other alternative forms of self-funding to achieve that level of service.
The Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District is governed by the Board of Supervisors, acting as the District Board. The mission of this agency is to protect people and property from flooding through responsible and efficient stormwater management, to enhance groundwater recharge, and protect the wetlands environment of our major rivers and streams. The District is a key player in the western County land use planning process, making sure that flood prevention and water conservation measures are designed into proposed projects which lie within identified floodplains. The organization is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of a large system of channels and storm drain facilities. The strategic plan recently prepared by the District calls for: (1) Building cooperative relationships with participating jurisdictions, for the purpose of better planning, by 1998; (2) Optimizing efficiency through new technologies, revision of manuals, design specifications and procedures, by 2000; (3) Restructuring improved floodplain management procedures, to include provision for water conservation, water quality, recreation, and enhancement of the environment, by December, 2000; and, (4) Redesigning the master planning process by June, 2003.
Neighborhood water and sewer system infrastructure is typically installed by the developer as part of the County land development process. The design of this infrastructure will be governed by the master plan of the water district which has jurisdiction over the project and which will assume maintenance of the system when the facilities are satisfactorily installed. Planning to ensure availability of water resources to supply the existing population and projected new growth is an important responsibility of these independently-governed special districts. An important goal of Strategic Vision is the fostering of cooperative planning efforts between the County and these special districts to ensure that the land use implications of water systems design are carefully considered.
The provision of adequate primary and secondary school facilities and community park sites is critical to the development of first class communities. Riverside County officials will continue to work closely with school districts and developers to see that good locations are reserved for future school and park sites and that appropriate mitigation fees are calculated and collected to help defray facility construction costs.
The "American Dream" has long been equated with home ownership. Certainly, one of the basic needs of all people is adequate shelter. County government feels a strong responsibility in the area of housing, to ensure that there is an ample supply of affordable and suitable housing, and to make sure that such housing is made available to all persons, regardless of their economic status or functional ability.
The County is committed to reducing the costs of land development for low/moderate income housing through a subsidies to ensure that sufficient affordable housing can be made available to the consumer. We will continue to explore, in concert with development industry stakeholders, reasonable approaches and techniques to see this objective realized.
ln pursuing housing goals for the community, the County acknowledges the relationship between housing and economic development. Riverside County has developed rapidly, with thriving business centers and desirable residential communities. The County recognizes that continued economic prosperity can be enhanced through the preservation of a diversified workforce which lives and works here. These individuals are our workers, consumers and young adults wishing to remain in Riverside County. For this reason, the County supports modestly priced rental and first-time ownership housing opportunities. The County believes that these opportunities can be best provided in partnership with cities, the building industry, and private and non-profit housing groups. The primary role of the County is to be a coordinator in facilitating these partnerships through the use of tax exempt financing, expedited development review and approvals, monitoring and certifying levels of affordability where required by State and Federal laws and regulations, securing other State and local resources as appropriate, and providing technical assistance.
Two agencies are responsible for implementing the County's public housing programs. The Housing Authority, which is governed by the Board of Supervisors acting as the Board of Commissioners, assists low and moderate income families, including elderly and handicapped persons, throughout the County by operating programs which provide decent, safe and sanitary housing at affordable costs. The Authority provides rent subsidies, operates public housing complexes and a migrant farm worker center, and owns one family emergency shelter and one shelter for homeless men. The Authority also provides homeownership assistance to low income families through the Homeownership Empowerment Lease Purchase (HELP) Program, a lease/purchase program which helps eligible families purchase Housing Authority-owned homes. In addition, the Authority has the capacity to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance multi-family housing developments by private developers, with a portion of the units set aside for low income families and the elderly.
The Housing and Community Development Division (HCD) of the County's Economic Development Agency provides: homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers and the low income community; financial assistance for the rehabilitation of substandard housing; housing for farm workers/migrant farm workers in the Coachella and Palo Verde Valleys; and, financial support for the faith and non-profit sector communities in the provision of shelter for the homeless.
In planning for, and providing affordable housing for low income communities, the County will work with affected agencies to ensure that adequate child care facilities are provided in proximity to these developments.
Many of the activities of the Housing Authority and HCD are made possible by Federal funding. The County pledges to work closely with its legislative delegation to ensure that the County's needs are recognized and a fair share of available funding is secured.
An important goal of the County is the conservation, improvement, and enhancement of existing neighborhoods. The task of eliminating community or neighborhood blight, where it may occur, falls to the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) of the County's Economic Development Agency.
One or more strategies will be employed where neighborhoods are targeted for revitalization by the Board of Supervisors. In this effort, RDA, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and/or other sources of dedicated funds will be utilized to: encourage investment in the target neighborhood; rehabilitate and construct needed public infrastructure; enhance accessibility at public facilities; provide code enforcement and graffiti removal; demolish slums; and, conduct beautification programs.
A growing, progressive and diversified economy is essential if a community is to continue to provide living wage jobs for its residents. Riverside County government has an important role to play in creating a climate that fosters economic growth and diversification in our community. The County also recognizes that many other organizations, public, non-profit, and private, have equally important roles to play in creating such a climate.
In terms of direct services, the County's role is limited to providing the basic governmental services described elsewhere in this document (i.e., transportation planning, road construction, building inspection, environmental health services, etc.). These services constitute part of the "infrastructure" that makes economic development possible.
In addition to its direct service role, the County will also work in partnership with other organizations to provide such services as economic development coordination, marketing, business recruitment, and business retention. Although, for the most part, funding for these efforts will need to come from organizations other than the County, the County may provide limited financial support to county-wide or regional economic development agencies or programs.
The County's Economic Development Agency (EDA) is uniquely positioned to provide the leadership, resources, and dedication necessary to achieve the County=s economic development goals. EDA=s strategic plan articulates the County=s commitment to:
Build a Positive Business Climate by:
Develop an Educated, Trained and Employed Workforce by:
participating in various workforce development task forces
Encourage Commercial and Industrial Development by:
EDA's efforts to encourage quality commercial and industrial development are rooted in three important Board goals: diversify and enhance the local economy; strengthen the County's fiscal base; and, improve the region's jobs-housing balance.
Much of the industrial development activity will occur in unincorporated areas which are favorably located along freeways or adjacent to freeway interchanges, in close proximity to local airports, or in areas specially targeted for redevelopment by the County. One such project is the proposed reuse of the former March Air Force Base. The reuse program under consideration includes commercial use of the air strip as an "inland port" for cargo/freight movement, as well as supporting land use which can help to shape the economic landscape along the Interstate 215 corridor. As a member of the March Joint Powers Agency, the County will press for maximum beneficial use of this strategically located property.
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