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By Orange County Supervisors Chairperson Lisa Bartlett
It has always been one of my priorities to encourage our government entities to become more innovative, transparent and effective in our day-to-day operations in order to better connect with our constituents. As new technologies are introduced, government must adopt and utilize these advancements in order to become more productive and responsive for constituent needs.
I am very proud of the County and how we have harnessed technology to be more responsive to our pressing government needs. Using these innovative ideas helps us educate and connect with our residents at a whole new level, so they are able to take advantage of all of the wonderful services and resources we have to offer that some may not know about.
In response to the County’ s innovative efforts, we have received 14 awards from both the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Association of California Counties-Orange County (ACC-OC) for the projects we have created and implemented. All of these projects are incredibly important to the County’s mission; however, I want to highlight three of them that truly embody the spirit of innovation:
NACo Civic Education and Public Information Award – OC Public Libraries: Pop-Up Libraries
Launched in 2018, the Pop-Up Libraries program helps to raise public awareness of services available at OC Public Libraries through the targeted marketing of its services at events throughout Orange County. Pop-Up Libraries consist of an outreach team of librarians participating in community and cultural events in which the library may not have had a presence otherwise. At these events, library staff connect with the public by issuing library cards, demonstrating online library databases and promoting branch programming. The events visited range from pet expos to job fairs, music festivals to comic-cons, and from nature events to holiday celebrations. Pop-Up Libraries promote library services to both library and non-library users, enrich the public’s understanding of the diversity of activities branches offer, increase awareness of the library’s social media presence where patrons can learn of upcoming events, and brand the OC Public Libraries system as an integral part of the community.
ACC-OC Innovation Award Technology e-Government – Sup. Lisa Bartlett, Treasurer Shari Freidenrich, OCIT – Mello: Property Tax Transparency Application
In collaboration with Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Freidenrich and OC Information Technology Application Development Team, my office created Mello, a unique, web-based application that creates a greater level of transparency to each homeowner by clearly displaying where every cent of their property taxes go. Whether you are looking for details on your Mello-Roos or trying to figure out how much of your taxes go to support local schools, Mello can help. Visit www.mello.ocgov.com to utilize this new innovative application.
NACo Achievement Award – Organics Management Plan: Developing a Regional Organics Program
The County of Orange is pursuing the development of organic processing facilities at each of the county’s three active landfills in response to new legislation that intends to increase organic waste recycling and decrease greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. As a leader in providing waste management services, OC Waste & Recycling (OCWR) has the resources to develop organic processing facilities that will contribute to a regional solution to process organic waste and establish end markets within the County. In 2016, OCWR established a strategic initiative to create and implement an organic material management program. The program is designed to address the lack of infrastructure required for processing organic waste, to meet statewide organic diversion mandates. In 2017, OCWR launched active compost pilot projects at each of the three County-owned landfills. These pilot projects helped the County gain in-house expertise and experience in composting operations. Since the implementation of the regional organics program, OCWR has demonstrated successful, lab-certified compost results at all three landfill sites, and is now collaborating with key regulators on the development and construction of commercial compost facilities. The estimated output of certified compost materials is approximately 600 tons per day.
Each of these projects helps connect county residents with a better, more transparent and responsive county government. I am very proud to be one of the 14 award recipients and will work with the county’s team to ensure we will look forward to many more innovative projects to come.
Lisa Bartlett is the chairperson of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, serving as the representative of the 5th District. She was re-elected in 2018.