Imperial County has achieved many things in the last year and that success was reflected in this year’s State of the County Address given by County Board Chairman Luis Plancarte on the steps of the Imperial County Superior Court.
The theme for the State of the County Address this year was “Honoring Our Heritage while building our future” as Chairman Plancarte said it was important to honor how Imperial County came to be in order to see what I can become.
“Our heritage helped shape us into what we are today but also let us carry forth the traditions of what our predecessors established before us,” Plancarte said in his remarks. “Knowing that many struggles took place to create this beautiful place into our colorful farmland of crops out of something that was once only a vast barren desert,”
Plancarte said that the sacrifice the county’s founders have made should never be forgotten.
“We want our future to reveal that the employees of this County are able to stand toe to toe with challenges and make decisions to empower our community,” he said.
Plancarte said last year there was a cyber attack that hit their information systems, affecting access to virtually all of the county’s data in April. Since then they have rebuilt and restore operations that required significant resources investments and raising awareness of their computer activity developing the best defense by building human firewalls within county staff.
Last year when the Farm Bill reclassified hemp and legalized the production of it, the Board of Supervisors recognized hemp as a viable commodity for the area and entered into an agreement with Imperial Valley College for a hemp research program. The Agricultural Commissionaire’s Office has issued commercial hemp registrations to 21 entities and vetted 14 research hemp notifications.
In 2019, the Workforce Development Office merged with the Community and Economic Development Office, which created the Imperial County Workforce Development and Economic Development office. The division of Community and Economic Development secured almost $5.5 million in grant funding for various programs and projects form California Housing and Community Development; completed construction of the Palo Verde Water Wells Improvement Project; and completed construction of the Winterhaven Public Safety Facility, which is a combined Sheriff and Fire stations that is a cooling center for the neighboring communities.
Last year, Behavioral Health Services entered into an agreement with Alvarado Parkway Hospital in order to guarantee access to beds at the new Jackson House in El Centro., which is a 24-hour, voluntary, short-term residential substance abuse treatment center. Behavioral Health also opened two new facilities where they will provide specialty mental health services and substance use disorder treatment to all age groups in Calexico.
“Today we are building the future, and together we will continue to evolve, adapt and build on the legacy of our forefathers. 100 years from now, there will be a Board Chair providing the State of the County Address, I would like to imagine that there will be talk about the legacy we are creating today and the blessings our people continue to enjoy,” Plancarte said.