Ashley Sangster and Anthony Calvans, San Miguel Community Services District.

SAN MIGUEL – While many communities have had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its containment, the San Miguel Community Services District (SMSD) has used this time to move forward and better serve the community. Focusing on the important things that matter, such as community safety, beautification, community support, administrative changes and planning for San Miguel’s future.

For public safety, the county is building a temporary shelter for the safety of firefighters on duty and a sheriffs base to provide greater security. This long-awaited measure will improve response time to all types of emergency calls. In addition, the county purchased a brand new fire truck at a greatly reduced price, saving taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. The new vehicle is an important addition to the existing fleet and will allow our firefighters to better protect the community from wildfires that occur on the outskirts of town, in the river, or elsewhere.

For beautification, the district took a serious stand against illegal dumping and succeeded in removing the mattresses for a year. The district was able to recycle more than 70 mattresses. Other efforts involve moving the landscape to the downtown core and access signs at no additional cost to taxpayers. Thanks to the District’s leadership, they were able to reduce water use for community landscaping by more than 60%.

In terms of community support, the County moved quickly at the beginning of the pandemic to help families and businesses in need. Firefighters collected trash on Mission Street and worked with the FDAV church to distribute food boxes during the pandemic.

The county has also improved its ISO rating and encourages those with property insurance to see if they can take advantage of a lower insurance rate. Several new utility projects are also scheduled for the end of the year.

The Board has also changed significantly from previous Boards. Nearly all Board members have served less than two years and are the most diverse in SMCSD’s history. The members of the group represent a very wide range of people, varying in age, ethnicity and profession.

In an effort to ensure transparency and accountability, the current council has also taken steps to hold itself accountable by instituting an annual review of council performance and becoming one of the first agencies in the province to automatically freeze council members’ salaries in the event of a financial crisis in the province. Future salary increases for the Council should also be made available for the public to vote on.

Looking to the future, the board has already begun an ongoing review of financial resources, the development of a plan to stabilize portions of the San Miguel watershed, and has begun strategic planning to ensure that WMSD is ready for the future. 2021 promises to be an exciting year for our district and community.

For more information about the San Miguel Community Services District, visit sanmiguelcsd.org.

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