Message From County Administrator

Published:  May 22, 2020

Dear County Staff,  

Now that the County is in the initial stages of the second Phase of the Governor’s four-step plan for gradual reopening, a number of lower risk workplaces identified in the Health Officer’s recent amendment to the Shelter in Place Order are allowed to resume operations. In addition to easing some restrictions to certain non-essential businesses, last week the Health Officer also expanded access to parks, which will provide residents more opportunity to enjoy some outdoor time while adhering to social distancing guidelines, particularly as the weather warms.   

Below please find updates to County emergency response efforts pertaining to the recent amendment to the Parks Health Order and modified approach to the County’s Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget process.   

Parks Health Order Amendment

On May 12, 2020 the Health Officer issued an amendment to the Parks Health Order that allows additional park access for lower risk outdoor recreation and exercise including walking, jogging, hiking, biking and other outdoor activities where individuals and households can exercise while following safety guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Order also allows park managers to open tennis courts, disc golf courses, boat launches and other recreation facilities restricted to single individuals or members of the same household.  

Coastal parks remain closed to visitors who drive to the coast. However, the order opens the parks to walk-in and bike-in access for nearby coastal residents during certain hours. In addition, facilities that encourage gatherings or have frequently touched surfaces remain closed and include playgrounds, dog parks, outdoor gym equipment, picnic areas, drinking fountains and barbecues.   

Above are photos recently taken at Helen Putnam Regional Park, West County Regional Trail and Santa Rosa Creek Trail.  

For more information, please visit Parks Order Frequently Asked Questions webpage.  

Fiscal Year 2020-21 Two-Step Budget Process

This year the County will implement a two-step budget process to allow more time to assess budgetary impacts associated with the Coronavirus emergency.  While the Board of Supervisors typically approve the Final Budget in June, the State of California County Budget Act authorizes the Board to approve the Recommended Budget before June 30, 2020, and adopt a Final Budget before October 2, 2020.   

Given that the local and statewide shelter in place orders have had a direct impact to County revenue sources, such as sales tax and transient occupancy tax and state and federal funding sources, a two-step budget process will provide more time to understand COVID-19 impacts to county, state, and federal revenue sources. To this end, the Board of Supervisors will be asked to review and approve the recommended budget starting June 10, 2020, hold budget workshops in August, and adopt a final budget in September.

To view the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Recommended Budget, please visit https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Public-Reports/Budget-Reports/

We have seen here and around the world that there is no boundary to the spread of COVID-19. In a few short weeks, this fast moving virus spread across the planet, interrupting commerce, supply chains, daily lives and more. Moments like this remind us that we are all connected. Using this connectivity to our advantage, with our collective actions, we can lessen the impacts of the virus within our community and make progress toward a safe and gradual reopening of the County.

Lastly, as we head into Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives for our Country.  Whether you plan to observe the holiday by virtually visiting with friends and family, taking a walk around your neighborhood or visiting a park, please stay safe and enjoy the holiday.

Stay strong,
Sheryl

Sheryl Bratton
County Administrator

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