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San Bernardino County Plans For Economic Growth

San Bernardino County Plans For Economic Growth

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SAN BERNARDINO – San Bernardino County, in order to stimulate job and economic growth have created a strategic plan. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, Lovingood, Rutherford, Ramos, Hagman, and Gonzales all have strong entrepreneurial and private-sector credentials allowing them the knowledge to what slows or increases business development. “ As leaders, we highly value job-creators and are committed to pro-business, pro-growth policies here in San Bernardino County,” said Robert A. Lovingood. “Our focus is on freeing the economy to provide greater opportunity and prosperity for all.” To accomplish the growth desired, the county is working to enhance county land use services, increase public safety funding, expand technical training, re-target economic development, and increase infrastructure.

Land use services are important, the time it takes to receive permits is the time it takes away from potential employees being hired and receiving paychecks. The County is working to increase well-paying construction jobs and boosting revenue for public safety and infrastructure. A fast-track permitting system for all developments including; commercial, residential, and industrial are being planned and will be implemented in the near future. Additional department staff and resources are essential to speed the process up, saving important days, weeks, or even months. Supervisor Lovingood said that each new home build creates seven well-paying jobs and the increase in housing, creates and increase of property taxes received, creating the ability for more deputies to be on the streets, more road repairs to be done, and to build infrastructure.

San Bernardino County is facing a housing shortage, but is expected to grow to 65,000 homes within two years officials said. Many renters in San Bernardino County spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing alone. “Home ownership in California continues to wane, and that will likely continue with rising interest rates. In Los Angeles, median first-time homebuyers need to spend 88 percent of their income to purchase just a simple starter home,” said Supervisor Lovingood.  “Educated workers are being priced out of the Los Angeles/Orange County housing markets. And many employers who leave California cite the lack of affordable housing among their reasons for leaving. So by focusing on Land Use Services, we can increase local jobs, draw educated workers to our region and grow the economy.” The County of San Bernardino is seeking new innovative ways to increase revenues without burdening taxpayers to improve public safety and to build other economy-strengthening services.

Everyone wants a safe place to live and to work, and business owners/decision makers consider crime rates in their relocation decisions. More deputies and prosecutors are a must to provide the safest environment to attract new companies. “Sadly, a series of misguided policies from Sacramento is opening the door to let more criminals out of state prison and putting them on our streets,” said Lovingood. “Many crimes that once were felonies in California are now only misdemeanors. Criminals who just a few years ago were doing time in state prison are now roaming our communities around the state. At the same time, the state is pushing other hardened, career criminals into our county jails, taking up valuable space for new offenders and increasing the County’s costs for beds and health care.” The County of San Bernardino supervisors are attempting to step up where the state has failed to protect the residents. In order to keep the criminals behind bars, the County is working to increase Sheriff’s and District Attorney budgets. The policies have an aim of holding those who commit crimes accountable for their actions. “We are confident that Sheriff John McMahon and District Attorney Mike Ramos will keep more hardened criminals off our streets and provide routes to rehabilitation for those who can be rehabilitated, said Supervisor Lovingood.  “When we make the right investments, we can make San Bernardino County one of the safest counties in the entire state.”

Supervisor Lovingood said that a renowned authority on economic, political and social trends, Joel Kotkin has long been a student of the Inland Empire. In assessing San Bernardino County’s options, Kotkin concludes, “It would be foolish to dismiss the traditional sources of higher wage blue collar growth: construction, manufacturing, and logistics. All these industries pay higher than hospitality, retail, and other lower-end services, which make their resurgence critical to restoring prosperity …”   Local manufactures have expressed the lack of qualified candidates with the necessary technical training. County officials are working to propose a series of short, technical training courses at the sites of the local manufactures. “The courses will be designed with input from local manufacturers so the coursework is relevant and practical, said Lovingood. “We will combine classroom instruction with hands-on internships or apprenticeships so students can immediately start applying what they learn.” The goal is to provide hands-on training and certifications at no cost to the student. “With 3,000 good jobs on the line, this is a tremendous opportunity for local workers and industry. These technical jobs don’t require a university degree. They not only pay well, they provide a path to career advancement and a ladder into the middle class and the American dream of homeownership.”

San Bernardino County has an available workforce, affordable land and housing, clean air, and pro-business local governments, which make San Bernardino business-friendly in comparison with many other areas of California. “We also have interstate freeways, rail lines, and airports to move cargo anywhere in the nation or world without the gridlock experienced in L.A.,” said Lovingood. The County is working to reduce electricity rates for residents and manufactures through a Community Choice Aggregation project. Through the CCA, the County would work to develop solar projects and negotiate wholesale power agreements to provide discounted electricity to customers. This will help residential customers as well as prospective employers. County officials said that the Inland areas, which are known for higher temperatures and the need for air conditioning during the sometimes excessive heat during the summer months. Due to the higher electricity consumption, Inland residents pay higher tiered rates. The average summer electricity bill in the southern coastal area is $113, but in the desert, it is $172 per month, which is 52 percent higher. “That higher cost comes on the backs of the hard working families of San Bernardino County who can least afford to subsidize coastal areas,” said Supervisor Lovingood. “So we will begin advocating for legislative and regulatory reforms to compensate inland communities that bear all the downside of solar projects without enjoying lower rates or other benefits.”

The goal to encourage construction, strengthen public safety, and provide technical training to make residents employable for the positions that need employees will reduce the need for public assistance. This will push those who have been jobless into jobs with a higher earning potential allowing more people to purchase homes and contribute to the local economy.  “Companies considering leaving the Southern California market as well as companies returning to America from overseas need to look at San Bernardino County,” said Supervisor Lovingood. “Our County has a lot to offer businesses of all sizes. We have the available workforce, affordable land and housing and strategic air, freeway and rail corridors – and close proximity to Southern California’s 22 million consumers. In 2016, the Inland Empire led the nation in industrial construction, with almost 25 million square feet. Together, with the right plan, we can expand that growth to other sectors of the economy.”

 

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Christie Martin

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  • San Bernardino County economic growth: File Photo
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