The California State Association of Counties has recognized Santa Barbara County with three awards for innovative programs.
One of these is a Challenge Award for public works, another is a Challenge Award for human resources employee matching, and the third, a Merit Award, is for the District Attorney’s Arson Task Force.
According to a news release, CASC Challenge Awards are awarded by an independent panel of judges with expertise in county programs and best practices. They chose 49 recipients from 25 counties out of 363 total entries.
One Challenge Award given to Santa Barbara County in the category of agriculture is for Public Works’ Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division Baron Ranch Restoration Project. Under this project, Public Works purchased more than 1,000 acres of land on the Gaviota Coast known as Baron Ranch.
This was meant to provide a buffer zone next to the Tajiquas Landfill, as well as prevent the ranch from sub-dividing into rural home sites.
The project will also potentially provide recreational opportunities and preserve an open space in the area next to the Los Padres National Forest.
The second Challenge Award is in the category of disaster and emergency response- management.
It went to the county for establishing an employee job matching program to temporarily reassign county mutual-aid employees to specialized positions. This was adopted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The third award is a Merit Award for the District Attorney’s Arson Task Force, which aims to prevent, investigate and prosecute arson cases.