Enterprise Agencies and Special Districts
Enterprise department budgets are financed and operated in a manner similar to private business, that is, expenditures are offset by user fees and charges for services. Special Districts are generally organized to perform one or more special functions such as street lighting, waterworks, parks, and fire protection. The Board of Supervisors retains fee rate authority over these departments and agencies.
This county agency is responsible for the administration and operation of housing and community development programs, including the Housing Authority, which administers various rental assistance programs to very low income households, the Community Development Division, which administers block grants and provides services to the homeless, and the Redevelopment Agency, which manages improvements in the Roseland, Sonoma Valley, and Russian River project areas.
The Fire Services division coordinates fire service in the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County (County Service Area No. 40) and enforces fire prevention county-wide. Fire services also administers contracts to fire response agencies, non-profit corporations, and the Department of Forestry. Fire Services provides personnel for emergencies and hazardous materials clean-up, and administers the volunteer fire program.
In November 1990, Sonoma County voters created the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District as a result of the public’s concern over the urbanization and the displacement of agricultural land and open space in Sonoma County. The District acquires conservation easements through voluntary transactions with landowners. The District also purchases land outright from willing sellers, typically for parks, recreation, or other open space purposes. Properties are protected according to the Acquisition Plan 2000, which categorizes acquisitions into four groups: Agriculture, Greenbelts, Natural Resources, and Recreation.
The Sonoma County Fair & Exposition, Inc. operates the fairgrounds facilities year-round and during the county fair, and also provides administration for those facilities.
The Sonoma County Library works with the nine cities of Sonoma County to provide library services throughout the county. There are currently ten regional libraries, two rural library stations, and the Santa Rosa-Central Library. Almost three million items are checked out annually.
In addition to Roads and Special Projects, this Department provides road construction and maintenance services and directly provides contracts for various public utility services. The Refuse Division conducts integrated waste management for the disposal and recycling of solid waste. The Transit Division operates and maintains public transit and para-transit. Airport Division operates and maintains the Sonoma County Airport. The Air Pollution Control District works to prevent air pollution from “stationary sources.” The Water System Division provides water services for five County Services Areas under the control of the Board of Supervisors. The Lighting Districts Division maintains lighting services for 19 districts.
The Sonoma County Water Agency is responsible for providing clean water and sanitation services to most cities within the county. The agency also oversees design, construction and maintenance of flood control facilities, as well as operations and maintenance at Spring Lake Park.