By Mario Conde
Months after being appointed to the County Board of Supervisors, Louis Fuentes gave the State of the County Address last Wednesday.
Fuentes faced the County in his first address to the people of the Imperial Valley at SDSU’s Rodney Auditorium. In a short twenty minute speech, Fuentes highlighted the County’s economic development and projects that are being on the works.
The Chairman of the County Board said that the past years was very interesting and challenging for the County but said that it has stayed strong beyond the difficulties. “Our state and local tax revenues have decline considerably and there is a lot of unemployment. However, the County of Imperial has moved forward without and budget cuts or furloughs.” Fuentes said.
“In a weak economy, we need to be vigilant and find creative ways to generate funds and new incentives.” The Chairman said.
Fuentes highlighted the railroad construction in Glamis that will have a $2.6 million investment and will hire 400 construction workers. The Cargo airport project in Holtville that could make the County the hub for exports around the state and from Baja California, Fuentes said that the county will begin an RFQ to keep this project moving.
The Chairman spoke about the recent groundbreaking ceremony of the Imperial Center that will create 2,000 jobs to the valley and its being constructed right now. He announced the Wind Zero project that is close to finalizing its Environmental Impact Report and will be presented to the County very soon. Wind Zero is a project for law enforcement training and it’s endorsed by all of the police departments in the valley.
In terms of infrastructure, Fuentes said that because voters passed Measure D funding for Highways will be available for the next forty years. He also said that grants for sidewalks and parks will be looked for Heber. The McCabe Road improvements are being finished with the addition of new stop lights and the new access from Highway 111 to Imperial Valley Mall.
On public health, Fuentes praised how the County and local school united to prevent the AHIN1 virus and all of the information given. The County approved a new medical discount card that can be used by all citizens and will give them a 22% discount on all medical prescription drugs. Fuentes ended by speaking on the partnership with the IID and its work to have more energy efficiency for homes and rate payers and for protecting the quality of life in the valley.
By Mario Conde