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Chairman Plancarte Bids Farewell: A Legacy of Leadership and Imperial County’s Roadmap to Prosperity

-Editorial

Addressing the audience with a deep sense of gratitude, Imperial County Board of Supervisors Chairman Luis Plancarte spoke about the evening theme, “Building a Prosperous Future,” highlighting the journey the community has taken together and the resilient spirit that defines Imperial County.

In his final State of the County Address, Chairman Plancarte expressed his appreciation for the trust and support he has received from the residents of Imperial County throughout his tenure. He emphasized his commitment to serving the community and his vision for a future where prosperity is not just a dream but a reality for all.

During his time in office, Chairman Plancarte oversaw significant growth, navigated through challenges, and seized opportunities to create a brighter future for Imperial County. As he prepares to conclude his service on the Board of Supervisors, he emphasizes his unwavering dedication to the community and each resident.

“As I reflect on my time in office, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to serve our community. Though I will not be seeking re-election, my commitment to our county does not end here. I will continue to champion the causes close to our hearts and support the next generation of leaders who will carry forward the torch of progress, innovation, and prosperity,” Plancarte said. “Looking ahead, our focus remains on fostering economic development, enhancing public services, and ensuring a sustainable environment for all residents. Our journey together may take a new direction, but the destination remains the same—a prosperous, vibrant, and resilient Imperial County.”

Under Commissioner Jolene Dessert’s leadership, the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office has made significant progress in safeguarding the county’s agricultural interests and ensuring consumer protection. Throughout the past year, the Pest Exclusion Division worked tirelessly to prevent the introduction of harmful pests into the county and state. With an issuance of 18,613 federal phytosanitary certificates for products exported to 84 foreign countries, their efforts demonstrate the local impact on a global scale.

Moreover, the Weights & Measures Division conducted thorough inspections, examining 4,659 devices at 597 locations, and verifying prices at 339 establishments. These measures ensure consumers receive fair pricing and quality products at grocery stores and gas stations across the county.

In the pursuit of cleaner air and healthier communities, the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has been proactive in implementing various initiatives. Led by Air Pollution Control Officer Belen Leon-Lopez, the district has focused on developing air quality attainment plans, monitoring local and regional air quality, and ensuring compliance with regulations.

Through the AB 617 Community Air Protection Plan, significant investments have been directed towards public school electric bus replacements, paving projects, urban greening initiatives, and school air filtration projects in communities such as Heber, Calexico, and El Centro. This demonstrates the district’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of residents, particularly vulnerable populations like children and educators.

Furthermore, the designation of additional communities under AB 617 reflects ongoing efforts to extend these vital improvements across the region. The APCD’s second annual Air Quality Summit and Health Fair in Mexicali further emphasized collaboration and shared responsibility in addressing air quality challenges.

Amidst the mental health challenges facing Imperial County, the Behavioral Health Services (BHS) department has played a pivotal role in providing care and support to residents. With services extended to 9,851 individuals, including children, adolescents, youth, young adults, and older adults, BHS remains dedicated to addressing addiction, homelessness, and mental health crises.

Substantial financial support from the California Department of Health Care Services, totaling $6.9 million, has been allocated towards expanding bridge housing, offering vital assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness with serious behavioral health conditions. Additionally, grants worth $29.4 million will significantly enhance mental health services for the county’s youngest residents and bolster the county’s substance use disorder treatment facilities.

Director Leticia Plancarte-Garcia and the BHS staff’s unwavering commitment underscore their dedication to ensuring comprehensive support and care for all community members in need.

Under the leadership of County Executive Officer Miguel Figueroa, Imperial County has embarked on an ambitious journey toward community development and operational efficiency. The approval of the county’s second strategic plan marks a new era, emphasizing a renewed mission and vision for the region.

Efforts to enhance community services include the launch of additional rounds of Community Benefit Grant Program funding, and providing financial support to local non-profits, school districts, and public agencies. Furthermore, strategic partnerships with organizations such as The Ferguson Group and the California State Association of Counties aim to optimize grant services and funding opportunities.

The Department of Child Support Services continues to excel in its mission to support families and children in Imperial County. With collections exceeding goals for the eighth consecutive year, the department’s efforts ensure that more families receive the child support they rely on each month.

Additionally, receiving the 2023 Working Together Award from the Western Interstate Child Support Enforcement Association highlights the department’s dedication to serving families effectively. Director Liza Barraza Manriquez and the department’s staff are commended for their outstanding contributions to the community.

Throughout the year, the Clerk-Recorder’s Office has been instrumental in providing essential services and promoting community engagement within Imperial County. Processing 915 marriage licenses and 916 fictitious business name statements underscores the office’s commitment to supporting families and local enterprises alike.

The Clerk of the Board’s office has been a cornerstone of transparent and inclusive governance in Imperial County. By organizing Offsite Meetings and establishing Advisory Committees, the office has facilitated public feedback and engagement.

Initiatives such as the Seeley Community Advisory Committee and the innovative Postcard Contest demonstrate the office’s proactive approach to community involvement.

In addressing the complex challenges facing Imperial County, the District Attorney’s Office, under the leadership of George Marquez, has adopted a multifaceted approach to promoting community safety. Initiatives such as the Fentanyl Initiative, Prosecution/Police Immersion program, and Collaborative Courts Initiative reflect a commitment to proactive law enforcement and justice reform.

Through in-house training programs and community outreach efforts, the office strives to enhance prosecutorial effectiveness and foster public trust.

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