Kings and Tulare County officials met with Gov. Jerry Brown’s Drought Task Force last month to discuss and hear how the state’s present and pending water shortage is affecting local agencies.
“This current drought is a dire situation that is going to require serious solutions,” said Mike Ennis, District 5 supervisor. “The impacts of this drought in Tulare County are going to felt for years to come on many different levels.”
Ennis said that county officials called for a water bond that includes funding for more water storage. They also expressed concerns about: a future farm worker shortage due to no work in the fields; local school funding declining because of farm workers leaving with their children; property and sales taxes for local government declining because of lower valuations on agriculture property and less people buying goods and services; and the impacts to the ports of Long Beach and Oakland due to the decline of the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture products.
Those invited to attend the meeting, held at the Ag Commissioner’s Office in Tulare, included Ennis, Supervisor Allen Ishida, County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau, Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita and officials from Kings County who share similar roles.
State attendees included Mark Ghilarducci, State Office of Emergency Services; Karen Ross, secretary of Department of Food and Agriculture; Anna Caballero, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency; Randall Deems, acting director of the Department of Housing and Community Development; and Mark Starr, deputy director of the Department of Public Health.