At the December 5 Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting Chairman Steve Worthley handed over the gavel to Supervisor Mike Ennis. In his short farewell speech he outlined some of the highlights of 2015. Worthley emphasized the financial health of the county in that property tax assessments went up by $1.5 billion and the county was able to put more into its reserves.
In terms of capital projects, the county is in escrow to buy the Cigna Building on Cypress Avenue in Visalia and it should be closing at the end of the month. The county has also engaged in $80 million in road improvements, including many “safe routes to school” projects. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department has been working on the new prisons in Porterville and Sequoia Fields. The drought was the biggest news for 2015, and the county provided bottled water to many communities and has been engaged in improving the water infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.
Finally, Worthley wanted to point out that the county has entered into two-year contracts with every bargaining unit except one and successfully negotiated wages and hours. He also wanted to recognize Tulare County’s new Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Spata, saying that the county was in excellent hands.
With the changing of the guard Supervisor Mike Ennis becomes Chairperson and Supervisor Allen Ishida becomes the Vice Chairperson. This was the fifth time Worthley has been the chairperson of the Tulare County board of Supervisors.