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Rows of semi trucks are parked in a lot in this stock image. The Imperial County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 8, for the expansion of a truck-parking facility in the Heber-Calexico area. | STOCK IMAGE

Truck Parking Expansion, Home Visit Program Approved by County Board

A truck parking facility north of Calexico is getting bigger. 

West Wind Parking Storage got approval to expand its footprint at the Tuesday, Dec. 8, Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting as the board approved changing zones and awarding a conditional-use permit for the area on the southeast corner of Highway 111 and Heber Road.

“The request by applicant West Wind Parking is to expand the existing truck parking facility to the east on a new 20-acre parcel,” county Planning Director Jim Minnick said. “What we’re asking is to clean up an error that we had made, as well as an expansion of the applicant’s operation.”

The error, Minnick said, was made in 2000 when the site had a zone change but wasn’t transferred from agriculture to industrial at the time. The Dec. 8 action changed the zone on the current property to industrial.

The board also approved changing a new plot east of the current facility from general agriculture to light industrial.

Home Visit Program Gets Go-ahead

The county board approved accepting a more than $920,000 allocation from the state Department of Social Services to implement a home-visiting program for CalWORKs participants.

The Imperial County Public Health Department is working in coordination with the county Social Services Department to implement the home-visit program, which was created to support positive health, development and well-being outcomes for eligible pregnant and parenting women, families, and infants born into poverty. The purpose, according to county Public Health Director Janette Angulo, is to expand these people’s future educational, economic, and financial capability and improve the likelihood that they will exit poverty.

Imperial County is one of 44 counties in the state selected to participate in the initiative. 

“Through this program, pregnant women and new parents will be paired with a trained professional who will make regular visits in the participant’s home to provide guidance, coaching, access to prenatal and postnatal care, and other health and social services,” according to Angulo.

Holtville Bonds a ‘GO’

The county board approved a resolution to allow the Holtville Unified School District to negotiate the sale of $4 million in general obligation bonds. The bonds were approved by voters in November 2018.

At the time voters approved the bonds, they were set to improve the quality of education by modernizing outdated classrooms, restrooms, and school facilities, as well as build a new gymnasium/multipurpose room for school and community use, according to information from the 2018 ballot.

New Minimum Wage Forces Some Changes

The board authorized changing some salaries to meet the state’s minimum-wage requirements that take effect Jan. 1.

The county’s human resources department reviewed employee classifications that would be directly impacted by the new minimum wage of $14 per hour. Three positions have increased flat rates, student assistant and reserve firefighter were increased to $14 per hour and the reserve engineer increased to $14.26.

In addition, 15 employees were also stepped up in salary.

The anticipated impact to the county’s budget is nearly $44,000 in general fund money and more than $167,000 in non-general fund money. 

Sure Helpline Center Getting Support

The non-profit organization requested grant funding, and District 1 Supervisor Jesus Escobar asked the board to utilize $2,500 from the Community Benefit Account to support the organization.

Sure Helpline Center provides 24-hour, seven-day a week intervention, prevention, and educational service to support vulnerable households, victims of domestic violence and at-risk individuals struggling with food insecurity.

“As the consequences of this pandemic continue to unfold, these at-risk individuals are experiencing a wave of insufficient resources as a result of an overflow of shelters or sites to accommodate their needs,” according to the letter to Escobar from Sure Helpline Center Executive Director Margaret Sauza.

“Help for vulnerable population such as homeless, at-risk families, and victims of domestic violence is critical. This vulnerable population within Imperial County has been tremendously impacted especially those who are unemployed and are enduring other economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sauza’s letter states.

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