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News Archive

September 29, 2016

County Commissioners honor national award-winning projects

Ten
county-led projects were given Achievement Awards by the National Association
of Counties

Boulder County, Colo. - At a ceremony on Sept. 26 the Boulder
County Commissioners presented plaques to 10 project teams whose programs won
National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards.

Each year counties from across the
nation submit applications for innovative projects to be considered for NACo
Achievement Awards. The awards are non-competitive, and instead judged on a
series of benchmarks which include innovation, replicability, and
effectiveness. Boulder County submitted 13 projects for consideration and won
awards for 10 of those. Summaries of the winning projects are listed below:

Bond Reform Project – Criminal Justice & Public
Safety Category

Research
demonstrates that outcomes are improved for defendants who are safely released
from jail while awaiting trial. This allows them to maintain employment and
housing, pay child support, seek treatment for mental health or substance
abuse, and retain strong ties to their community. This program allows for the
supervised release of defendants before trial. Since the implementation of the
Bond Reform Project there has been a 32% increase in the number of defendants
supervised in the community and these supervised defendants are more likely to
make all court appearances and less likely to commit a new offense than
unsupervised defendants.


Community Housing Resource Panel – Human Services Category

In October 2014, Housing and Human Services established the Community
Housing Resource Panel in response to an ever-increasing need for a coordinated
and collaborative approach in awarding housing assistance resources to homeless
or imminently homeless households. Since its inception, the Housing Panel has
reviewed 550 applications. The Housing Panel's coordinated referral and
assessment work is bolstered by ongoing, supportive case management for
families and individuals, with the goal of helping them move toward self-sufficiency.


GIS Emergency Response – Emergency Management &
Response Category

In the aftermath of the 2013 Flood it was discovered that the processes
for GIS staff responding to incidents was inadequate. A team spearheaded an
initiative to create a formalized response to incidents. This included creating
standard operating procedures, improved staff notification system, training for
all qualified staff, improved communication with the public via interactive web
maps, and more. The new processes were tested and shown to be successful during
the recent Cold Springs Fire.


Home Access Program – County
Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy & Sustainability Category

In response to the unique challenges faced by flood-affected homeowners
throughout the county, the CDBG-DR Home Access Program was designed to ensure
our residents had an opportunity to rebuild safe, resilient, and permitted
bridges to their homes. The Home Access team has worked hard to develop and
launch the very first flood recovery
program in the nation that provides fully-funded grants for residents to
rebuild their private bridges, driveways, and roads. Since beginning in 2014,
this innovative program has funded $4M in awards for 24 projects, with more
awards and projects in the coming months.


Housing Choice Voucher Lottery – Human Services
Category

In June 2015, Boulder County Housing Authority began accepting
applications for Housing Choice Vouchers, upgrading its tenant selection
process from a date-and-time waitlist to a lottery. At the same time, the
system was further advanced from a paper application program to an all online
process. These changes allowed for applicants to more easily apply for housing
assistance and for staff to use their time more efficiently. Many teams within HHS
worked in collaboration on this project, which resulted in receipt of more than
1,000 applications over a two-day submission period.


IMPACT Assessment and Case Planning Framework – Children
& Youth Category

The Assessment and Case Planning Framework is an innovative solution
created to better serve high-risk children and youth while also utilizing
available resources more strategically and effectively. This deeply
collaborative partnership program is designed to ensure that all children and
youth involved in multiple systems receive an upfront, valid assessment and
structured case plan that connects them to the right evidence-based services at
the right time. This model has received recognition from the Bureau of Justice
Administration and has been highlighted at national conferences as a best
practice.


Make the Switch Campaign – Health Category

Boulder County
may be one of the leanest counties in Colorado, but roughly 12 percent of our
preschoolers in low-income families are considered obese. Consumption of
sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with chronic disease and obesity. The
three-month campaign reached out to low-income families with children to
encourage, support, and motivate them to 'make the switch' from sugary drinks
to healthy drinks. The campaign successfully motivated behavior change
including data that 46 percent of children aged 0-5 years; 59 percent in the 6
–18 year old group; and 53 percent in the over 18 older age group reported a
decrease in consumption of sugary drinks.


Solar Benefits Colorado – County Resiliency:
Infrastructure, Energy & Sustainability Category

Boulder County
launched a pooled purchase program, Solar Benefits Colorado, to make purchasing
or leasing rooftop solar and electric vehicles (EVs) simple and affordable for
residents in our communities. Solar Benefits Colorado is the first of its kind
solar and electric vehicle group procurement (bulk-buy) program in the U.S. Because
of the program leadership, 832kW of solar was installed and 248 EVs were
purchased in the Front Range during the initial phase of the program. In
Boulder County, 173 Nissan LEAFs were purchased and 493kW of solar installed on
87 homes in just four months.


St. Vrain Community Hub – Human Services Category

Opened in August of 2015, the St. Vrain Community Hub is an example of
what can be achieved through cross-departmental collaboration and working
toward a lofty vision. The new space was designed with a vision of creating a
warm, welcoming, and inviting space that integrates services in one central
location. The look, feel and layout of the building were purposefully designed
to focus on welcoming clients to help reduce feelings of anxiety. Constructed
to the highest level of environmental building practices in its design and
construction, this building will become the first LEED Platinum certified
building in Longmont.


Tolland Ranch – Parks & Recreation Category

With the Tolland Ranch Conservation Easement and Trail Easement
acquisition in January 2015, Boulder County surpassed 100,000 acres of open
space. The 3,334-acre Tolland Ranch project was completed after more than 10
years' effort by a large collaborative group. The beautiful property includes
the upper reaches of the Middle and South Boulder Creek and the land also supports
its own elk herd. The trail easement on the property will allow the county to
create a trail connecting West Magnolia on the east to Jenny Creek on the west.

Boulder County’s
core values are Innovation, Collaboration, and Sustainability all of which are
evident in these programs. It was with great pleasure that the commissioners
were able to present the winning teams with a plaque and an opportunity to
share details about their programs.

A new round of
award applications will be submitted by Boulder County teams in March of 2017.

For more information about these projects,
contact Gabi Boerkircher at
gboerkircher@bouldercounty.org
or 303-441-3399.

All project team leads pose for a picture with commissioners.

Team leaders from each winning project pose with their plaques and the Boulder County Commissioners.