Napa County Annual Report
The complete 2021 Annual Report (PDF) is available for download.
2021 Year in Review
On behalf of the Napa County Board of Supervisors and the staff of Napa County government, we are proud to present Napa County’s 2021 Annual Report.
County government is at the forefront of many of the most urgent and complex issues of our times. In addition to leading COVID-19 pandemic response, delivering social safety net services at a critical time for the most vulnerable, and making bold investments in fire protection, the County never lost focus on our core commitments to the community and the uninterrupted provision of essential services.
This report reflects what we believe to be the remarkable adaptation, innovation, and relentless commitment to service displayed by our County workforce of 1,500 strong. 2021 demanded the best of our essential workers, and we continue to be awed by their sacrifice and resiliency. From leading the efforts to vaccinate over 100,000 members of our community to implementing new evidence-based practices in criminal justice to paving over 31 miles of roads (a record), 2021 was an extraordinary year in our county’s history.
We hope this report honors the many people who strive every day to make Napa County a safe and welcoming place to live, work, and visit and offers readers an opportunity to learn more about the services and programs provided by Napa County.
-Board of Supervisors & CEO Minh C. Tran
Emergency Preparedness and Wildfire Protection
Our community has learned that the best way to bounce back from several years of back-to-back disasters is to make sure we are as resilient as possible.
The Board of Supervisors made a bold investment in the Napa Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF , a five-year plan to reduce fuels and enhance vegetation management. In Spring 2021, the Board adopted the CWPP (which scopes $42 million in mitigation projects) and fully funded projects in the first year - a $5.4 million investment. State Senator Bill Dodd secured a $7.6 million budget allocation from the State General Fund that will further support wildfire safety and drinking water infrastructure improvements in Napa County.
The County moved ahead with the buildout of an early fire detection system, adding three cameras in 2021 and completing a Request for Proposal Emergency Preparedness and Wildfire Protection process to create a larger network in 2022. Once a fire is detected by these Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven cameras, a call is generated within seconds to Napa’s Central Dispatch to send fire suppression resources to the identified location.
In a new defensible space consulting program, experts from the Napa County Fire Department conducted consulting appointments with over 700 property owners to advise them of defensible space best practices, access issues, and fire protection systems unique to their properties. The development of this program reflects the County’s deep commitment to ensuring homes in high-risk areas are less vulnerable to the wildfire threats we have come to know too well.
The County also approved new defensible space building requirements to better protect new home construction within fire hazard areas.
In 2021, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office partnered with law enforcement agencies across the County to develop and roll out Zonehaven, an evacuation mapping tool that improves the process and communication around evacuations during emergencies. The “Know Your Zone” campaign invited residents to learn their evacuation zone numbers and become familiar with the Zonehaven platform.
The Board of Supervisors, along with staff and local leaders, shared emergency preparedness resources and information about the “Know Your Zone” campaign at dozens of outreach events across the County in 2021. In a year when the pandemic continued to separate us, we worked to meet residents where they were: grocery stores, farmer’s markets, street fairs, and other neighborhood-based community events.
At the beginning of 2021, Napa County was awarded $48.3 million in federal funds to finish the Napa River flood control project, which will protect more than 2,000 additional properties from the flooding that had routinely caused millions of dollars of damages.
The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office successfully implemented the online Ag Pass application system and distributed disaster Ag Passes electronically to commercial agricultural producers throughout Napa County to allow access to their properties (when conditions are deemed safe) in the event of a wildfire or other disaster. The department has now included the Ag Pass renewal as part of the annual permit renewal process for growers.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery
The year began with the hopeful promise that the mass distribution of COVID-19 vaccines would end the pandemic and allow for a return to normal. Countless staff, volunteers, and community partners met a call to action of a lifetime: vaccinate our entire community. While the course of the pandemic has proven more complex than that cautious optimism we felt at the beginning of 2021, Napa County in partnership with community-based organizations and healthcare providers, worked urgently and collaboratively to administer over 290,000 doses of vaccines and boosters to approximately 101,000 individuals. As of January 13, 2022, 73% of our entire population is fully vaccinated and 50% of those eligible have received boosters (well above state and national averages).
Our mass vaccination campaign brought together a first-of-its-kind effort between trusted community-based organizations and local government, organized as the Vaccine Outreach Collaborative, to make vaccination information and opportunities accessible to the most vulnerable and hardest to reach residents.
The pandemic impacted some communities more than others, underscoring the foundational importance of a health equity approach. We invested in a multi-faceted bilingual communications campaign to help community members protect themselves with knowledge and access to vaccines and testing. In addition to large-scale drive-through community vaccine clinics, mobile health care providers vaccinated those in long-term care facilities, homebound individuals, and the homeless.
As 2021 came to a close, COVID-19 cases began to surge again due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. The County moved quickly to distribute an allocation of home test kits provided by the State to community-based organizations and health and social services providers to ensure that residents disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 had access to testing.
Using local, state, and federal funds, individuals and families unable to safely isolate due to living in an over-crowded household or experiencing homelessness were provided a safe place to isolate in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In addition to Isolation and Quarantine sheltering, the County participated in Project Roomkey, providing non-congregate shelter to elderly, medically frail individuals. Of the 74 individuals who participated in Project Roomkey, 54 transitioned to permanent supportive housing.
In September, the Napa County Board of Supervisors, in partnership with the Napa Valley Community Foundation, committed $100,000 to fund a community-led technical assistance program that provided help to renters and landlords with their applications for the State-run Housing is Key rental assistance program. Housing is Key made more than $16 million available in Napa County to landlords and their tenants who faced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By December 2021, more than 1,400 applications from Napa County residents had been submitted.
Through the Health and Human Services Agency’s Self-Sufficiency Services Division (SSSD), the County’s work providing critical social safety net services continued and expanded during the pandemic. SSSD issued approximately $18.77 million in CalFresh annual benefits, which was a 24% increase over 2020. CalFresh, known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, provides monthly food benefits to individuals and families with low-income and provides economic benefits to communities.
In addition to regular CalFresh benefits, $7.8 in Emergency Allotments were issued, which was a 48% increase over 2020. In March 2021, $26.76 million in federal stimulus funds were awarded to Napa County as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In addition to supporting ongoing pandemic response, these funds will also be used in 2022 up to 2024 to support community initiatives, with a particular focus on childcare, infrastructure, and housing.
Stewardship of Our Community and Environment
While meeting the urgent challenges of the day, Napa County remains committed to long-term transformational projects, including addressing climate resiliency and sustaining natural resources and agriculture. Napa County spent much of 2021 in the exceptional drought category, the U.S. Drought Monitor’s highest category. Some end-of-the-year rains offered short-term relief, but according to those who study climate patterns, California may be at the beginning of a long-term drought. Napa County has taken steps to prepare for this changing reality:
- In 2021, the County participated in the completion of a Napa Valley Drought Contingency Plan, a long-term planning effort developed by local water managers.
- At the end of the year, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a Drought and Water Shortage Task Force that will meet throughout 2022.
- After an 18-month planning process, the Draft Napa Valley Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) was unanimously approved and adopted in January 2022. The GSP identifies a roadmap for sustainability in managing the development of water resources in Napa County over the next 20 years.
The County joined with our partners in the cities and town to launch the Climate Action Committee Joint Powers Authority, which coordinates joint efforts in sharing goals and strategies to combat climate change. The County is the largest financial contributor to the JPA, provides staff support, and obtained the grant to fund an updated regional greenhouse gas inventory.
In 2022, Napa County begins implementation of SB 1383, one of the most significant climate and landfill waste reduction mandates in state history. SB 1383 requires homes and businesses to separate food scrap waste for composting with a goal of reducing organic matter in landfills, thus reducing methane production in landfills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2020, Napa County experienced another destructive wildfire season. The LNU Lightning Fire affected structures on 556 properties, including the loss of 332 homes and the Glass Fire impacted structures on 912 properties, including the loss of 334 homes. Debris removal is a critical first step in the fire recovery process, and as 2021 drew to a close, 95% of the affected parcels had completed the debris removal process, which included options to participate in a state-sponsored program or conduct a private clean-up. In 2021, the County issued 84 new building permits for families to rebuild their homes that had been lost in the fires.
Safe and Welcoming Place to Live, Work, and Visit
In Napa County, we cherish our exceptional quality of life, and work to advance the well-being of people of all backgrounds, by promoting equitable, safe, healthy, and affordable communities.
Napa County continues to be a highly desirable place to live and for businesses to continue to invest. The Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s report of FY 2020-21 property tax growth reflected an increase of $2.2 billion (5.3%) in the total County assessed value compared to FY 2019-20, for a total assessed value of $44 billion in FY 2020-21. Totaling nearly one-half of all General Fund revenue, secured property taxes are a critical revenue source for County services.
Napa County awarded a new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) services contract to American Medical Response, the County’s provider since 2011. The new contract brought several new major service enhancements for care in Napa County, including a paramedic-staffed rescue boat on Lake Berryessa, a command post vehicle for major incident response, several new 4×4 ambulance vehicles for wilderness responses, and a mass casualty bus for major incidents and patient evacuations.
In recent years, Napa County has made tremendous steps forward in the effort to ensure universal broadband access. In 2021, the Board focused on positioning Napa County to be competitive in receiving grant funds when they become available by contracting with grant writing and broadband experts, engaging community partners, and providing input to the State as they develop locations of the State of California’s broadband expansion and funding initiative under state bill AB156.
A growing and complex challenge in Napa County and in communities throughout the State is housing affordability. While we cannot solve the dual challenges of homelessness and housing affordability overnight, in 2021 the County took significant steps forward, including:
- Redwood Grove: Thanks to a collaboration with partners, including Burbank Housing, 34 low-income individuals and families became first-time homeowners at Redwood Grove.
- Manzanita Family Apartments: Completed at the end of 2021, the Manzanita Family Apartments adds 50 income-restricted units to the local housing inventory.
- Project Homekey: A second partnership with Burbank Housing resulted in the award of new Project Homekey funding, which was used to purchase a multi-family apartment complex now housing 14 individuals exiting homelessness. A second award of Project Homekey funding is being used to convert an aging 54-room motel into permanent housing units for people exiting homelessness.
The Napa County District Attorney’s Office completed 31 jury trials in 2021 in a COVID compliant environment, allowing survivors of crime to secure justice even in the midst of global uncertainty. The vast majority of these matters involved vulnerable victims who were prioritized to go “first in line” in our courthouse backlog.
The District Attorney’s Office, along with NEWS, ALDEA, Health and Human Services Agency, and the Napa Police Department opened Monarch Justice Center. Monarch is a service center for crime survivors, which allows them to remotely access the Napa Superior Court and provides a child care center for survivors – a necessity for those affected by trauma in the family.
In 2021, the County’s Public Works Department was hard at work, completing approximately 31.4 miles of paving - the most ever in a single year. Voter approved Measure T and SB 1 funds and $6.9 million in PG&E settlement funds were invested in County roads
- Silverado Trail paving and emergency repair: Napa County roads crews paved or resurfaced 9 miles of Silverado Trail in 2021 at a cost of $8.5 million. In October, an atmospheric river caused a washout that closed Silverado Trail near St. Helena. The repair was completed in under two weeks to restore this critical artery.
- Buhman Bridge: Bridge replaced following damage from 2014 earthquake. Total Project Cost: $1.5 million.
- Oakville to Oak Knoll Napa River Restoration Project: This award-winning river restoration project, which began in 2015 and spanned 22 construction sites along 9 miles of the Napa River, came to a close in 2021. Total Project Cost: $27 million.
- Taxiway H Reconstruction: Reconstructed one of the most heavily used taxiways at the Napa County Airport. Total Project Cost: $3.6 million.
- Mt. Veeder Road: In addition to repairing recent disaster and storm damage, the County completed a rehabilitation of 8 miles of the entire length of this beloved and historic road at 2021. Total Project Cost: $6.4 million.
Effective and Open Government
Despite seemingly endless challenges, Napa County government continues to rise to the occasion and be there for the community. We are proud to have remained open to the public for critical services throughout the pandemic and to have found innovative new ways to deliver services. Napa County was one of the only counties in California to remain open for in-person public comment during Board of Supervisors meetings in 2021. As we adapt to a post-pandemic world with a combination of in-person and digital services, County government has never been more accessible to residents.
A number of County departments implemented new technologies to ensure residents had uninterrupted access to essential services during the pandemic.
These developments have broadened access to County services across platforms:
- Last year, the County started on-line permitting and electronic review of building plans, as well as remote scheduling of building inspections.
- Our UC Cooperative Extension Office offered a mix of innovative in-person and digital programming, this year, including a Youth Animal Science Drive-Thru event for the 4-H Youth Development Program.
- The Recorder-County Clerk continued to issue marriage licenses and perform drive-up wedding ceremonies.
In-person services also returned to many departments in 2021, following the full reopening of the economy in July. Napa County Libraries started the year with 9,000 visitors in the month of January and ended it with over 17,000 visitors in November. Programming like “Storytime” that had been delivered online, resumed in the park with outside performers to great fanfare.
Our Health and Human Services Agency’s Alcohol and Drug Services Division resumed in-person completion ceremonies in the second half of 2021. 64 individuals were celebrated with completion ceremonies, which honor the hard work that participants put into achieving their recovery goals.
The Napa County Airport saw traffic pick up again as the economy reopened. There were over 67,000 take-offs and landings there in 2021.
Every ten years, public agencies use new data from the United States Census to redraw district lines of elected representatives to reflect how local populations have changed, and equalize district populations. This process, called redistricting, is important to ensure that each Board member represents approximately the same number of constituents in Napa County.
The Napa County Election Division managed this decennial process, helping to identify communities of interest and providing maximum opportunity for public engagement. The Election Division used an online mapping tool that allowed interested members of the public to suggest possible district boundaries. Between September and December, when final maps were adopted by the Board of Supervisors, staff hosted five community outreach meetings and public hearings About 5% of Napa County households are changing districts in the newly adopted maps.
A Look Ahead to 2022
In 2022, the County intends to continue its focus on advancing housing goals, addressing wildfire and climate change in the modern age, expanding access to affordable childcare, and providing exceptional community services. Napa County is dedicated to working closely with our residents and partners in public service to continue making Napa County a wonderful place to live, work, and visit.
Public Information Officer