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Supervisor John Zaragoza looks back on 2013

OXNARD, It’s been a great year at the County of Ventura. In the fall of 2013, construction began on the new Ventura County Medical Center Hospital wing. In addition to meeting earthquake safety standards, this new hospital wing will help us provide outstanding health care services for the community, help us retain our fantastic doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health care staff and be an economic and public health asset for many years to come.

The County submitted an application to become one of six test sites for unmanned aerial vehicles, which, if successful, would bring great economic and educational benefits for our County. We launched a new and improved County website, making it easier to navigate, answer questions and receive input from our constituents. I was honored to represent the County in accepting the “Golden Poppy Award” from the California State Parks Foundation for our great work in supporting McGrath State Beach. The County again received a AAA financial rating, which will save our taxpaying public million of dollars each year when the County borrows money to finance major capital projects. And there is a long list of innovations our hard working and dedicated staff has found to reduce costs, improve services, increase efficiency, and otherwise benefit the public.

It has also been a great year for my constituents in the Fifth District. My colleagues on the Board of Supervisor supported me in addressing flooding concerns at McGrath State Beach. This addressed a major public health concern associated with mosquitoes and viruses, as well as providing recreation and economic benefits for our community. Many street and roadways were resurfaced, the Boat Instruction Safety Center opened, and other projects were approved or completed in the Channel Island Beach community. In Nyeland we are working with the City of Oxnard to construct sidewalks and drainage improvement to enhance safety conditions at Ventura Blvd. My staff organized an excellent “Day of Caring” event to clean up and upgrade the Colonia Boxing Gym. We helped hundreds of individuals and families address concerns and we referred them to proper government, non-profit or business organizations for assistance.  We consolidated two El Rio/Del Norte neighborhood advisory panels into one advisory group, increasing efficiency and saving taxpayers time and money. We formed the Gold Coast Transit District, which will provide efficiencies and improve customer service.

These great accomplishments could not have been achieved without excellent resources and team work. I would like to thank and commend my colleagues on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. We are an excellent team, and we have worked hard to make good decisions and honestly and equitably represent our residents and business community. I would also like to thank and commend our CEO, Mike Powers, our county Executive team, our Departments Heads and our Employees for providing outstanding public safety, public works, health care, and other public service programs. We have made great strides in improving customer service, enhancing efficiency, saving money and providing more extensive community outreach. And we have plans in place to make additional improvements.

I would also like to thank my hard working staff for their excellent work this past year. They are a very hard working and dedicated team.

Finally, I would also like to thank our community partners who work with us on a regular basis, including our local business community, local non- profit organizations, local cities, our Naval Base Ventura County, CSUCI, our elementary, high school and community colleges, and many others.

I will continue to work hard to serve you.  My office has some great ideas for projects and programs in 2014, including a pilot emergency preparedness program for our community, a town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act and other town hall meetings,  neighborhood clean ups and numerous other projects to benefit our community. We will continue our efforts to receive community input to revitalize Fisherman’s Wharf.

I am looking forward to a great year in 2014. I wish you all a joyous holiday season and a very happy and prosperous new year.

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