News from Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty
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Supervisor Ryan Coonerty - Third District News
Your County Budget
On June 26th the Board of Supervisors approved Santa Cruz County’s 2018-2019 budget. Passing a balanced budget and setting our spending priorities is the most important action the Board takes all year. My goal, as always, is to allocate the County’s funding to reflect the priorities and values of Santa Cruz County residents.
I’m happy to report that the County is demonstrating good fiscal stewardship. We have increased reserves and improved the County’s credit rating, saving taxpayers millions in interest payments. We’ve reduced pension obligations, controlled employee growth, and made some in-roads on deferred maintenance.   

We’ve also invested in critical services. Through programs such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, Thrive by Three and Drug Medi-Cal expansion (which doubles access to substance abuse treatment) we are working to improve community health. We are responding to the homelessness epidemic by working with our partners to expand effective services to decrease homelessness. At my urging, the County established a Homeward Bound fund, which provides a bus ticket for homeless individuals to return to their home community where they have support networks. We are also expanding the Downtown Streets Team, which provides homeless individuals with work experience and training while doing street, beach, and park clean-ups.  The County continues to partner with the City of Santa Cruz to meet our community’s biggest challenges.

During budget hearings, we also identified a number of unmet needs and challenges such as addressing the behavior of treatment-resistant individuals who negatively impact our community, enhancing our parks, and improving our roads. I’m working with other  Boardmembers, staff and community partners to effectively address these unmet needs and I’ll have more information to share with you soon.  

Housing: Accessory Dwelling Units
Our community is facing a critical housing crisis. I have taken a multi-pronged approach to this complex issue by supporting sensible regulations on vacation rentals, opposing unmitigated University growth, and instituting a progressive fee on market-rate development to support new affordable units.
Another way we can help ease the housing shortage is to encourage the creation of Accessory Dwelling Units (known as ADUs or “granny units”). ADUs are units that can be built next to houses or in or over garages. Because ADUs are small, they are more affordable to rent and can be perfect for a family member or caregiver. Our County needs more diverse types of housing to suit the needs of  changing households, and ADUs are part of the solution.
The County Planning Department has recently developed user-friendly guides to help those considering building an ADU. The ADU Design Guide , the ADU Financing Guide, and “How-To” Manual are now available on the Planning Department’s website, along with interactive tools such as an ADU construction cost estimator and a tool to determine if your parcel is eligible to add an ADU.  

In addition, I led an effort for the County to subsidize up to $40,000 of the cost of developing an ADU if the owner agrees to rent the unit at an affordable rent. Call 454-2336 for more information about the County’s ADU Forgivable Loan Program. 
Foster Families Needed
The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History recently featured a powerful exhibit called “Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Museum,” which showcased the stories, struggles and triumphs of youth who are aging out of foster care. The exhibit, which was created in partnership with foster youth, was seen by thousands including the Board of Supervisors who held a public meeting and forum at the MAH with many of the youth featured in the exhibit.  
At any given time in Santa Cruz County, roughly 250 children and youth are in need of foster and adoptive parents able to care for them. You can learn more about becoming a foster parent or renting a room to an older youth at or call (831) 345-2700. 
There are many ways you can help children and youth in foster care. Contact CASA of Santa Cruz County for more information. 

Opportunities to Get Involved
Would you or someone you know like to serve on the Santa Cruz County Commission on Disabilities, the Senior’s Commission or the Mental Health Advisory Board? The Commissions advise the Board of Supervisors on important matters affecting local residents and work on a variety of interesting efforts. To apply, please fill out the online form here

Also, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office is looking for community members to join their Volunteer Program. Volunteers assist deputies, the Child Safety Program, and also work at community events throughout the year. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Program Coordinator Claudia Llamas at or (831) 454-7686 or visit
Condemning Family Separation
The Trump Administration has been cruelly separating children and parents at the border. This inhumane policy has inflicted severe suffering and the actions must be repudiated. Last week, I sent a letter to the Mexican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and Honduran people via their Consulates apologizing for the Trump Administration’s cruel, immoral actions. I also brought this letter to the Board of Supervisors condemning the practice of separating families at the border, calling for families to be reunified and provided with just and humane immigration proceedings.

Next Board of Supervisors Meeting:
August 7, 9:00 a.m.
701 Ocean Street, 5th Floor

Board of Supervisors Meeting Schedule
Agendas & Minutes

Ryan Coonerty

Rachel Dann
Allison Endert

Copyright © 2018 Supervisor Ryan Coonerty, All rights reserved.

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