In 2015, over a year of meetings and research come to fruition when Johnson County became the first city or county in Iowa to raise the minimum wage. Helping coordinate and voting for raising the Minimum Wage is one of the things for which I am most proud.
Although the 2016 Republican-led legislature and Governor took away local control for minimum wage, I still advocate for $10.10 and having that wage grow with inflation.
The County is a leader in sustainability, and I am proud of the work I have done to contribute to that. In the past four years, the County has added five solar projects and will soon add a sixth. In 2016, we quadrupled solar-generated electricity.
Other highlights include: greening the County's fleet; building greener roads and bridges; being awarded "Bicycle Friendly Business Gold Award"; establishing sustainability grants for non-profits; water quality and flood mitigation; stormwater management; more habitiat-friendly and thus less-care roadsides; energy-efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction; less paper usage and more composting; and a commitment to Honor the Paris Climate Accord.
We continue to add conservation acres and trails to our system. In 2016, the County earned the 1000 Friends of Iowa Best Development Innovative Leadership award.
The Board of Supervisors worked with the Center for Worker Justice, advocates for people with disabilities, and immigrant rights groups to create and promote the Johnson County Community ID. Johnson County was the first in the mid-west, and remains the only entity (city or county) in Iowa, to offer a community ID.
In Johnson County, 17.9% of the population is living below poverty level. Over 19,000 residents are food insecure. This is not acceptable, and I have made it a priority that the County helps all our citizens. The Board annually budgets for grants to local non-profits that are addressing the basic needs and quality of life of our community. We call these groups our Community Partners. This is support we are not mandated to contribute, but support that as part of the Board, I find imperative to continue.
In 2018, we allotted $1,437,300 to over twenty-five local non-profits. In 2017, it was $1,411,300 to twenty-seven non-profits. We also budgeted over $100,000 for one-time emergency short-terms grants throughout the year.
In FY2017, I proposed that the County start funding affordable housing. In FY17 and FY18, Johnson County allotted 1.2 million dollars to affordable housing.
In FY18, I made a recommendation that added over 1.8 million dollars to Mental Health Services, without significantly raising the budget.
When I first ran to be a County Supervisor, one of my top priorities was fiscal management. (I'm a numbers person; I love financial reports and budgets, and finding efficiencies.) Since becoming a Supervisor, the County has made great strides in finance and transparency. We established a finance department and have centralized our purchasing and fleet management. The County's finance management now routinely wins awards and we have a finance portal that allows anyone to see exactly how the taxpayer's money is being spent.
I strongly believe that elected officials should do their business in the open and with complete transparency. Our meetings are live-streamed and recorded.
Leadership matters. Leaders making their voice be heard matters. I am very proud to make my voice heard through recent proclamations & letters of support, including: supporting the Paris Climate Accord, and a letter of support to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As a member of the Board of Supervisors, we pass proclamations regarding a wide variety of events, groups and issues. I am proud that we take this platform we have to make strong and important declarations.
But passing a proclamation or resolution, and speaking at rallies is just the first step. These statements are used as the foundation of the County's lobbying positions and programing.
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