It is an honor and privilege to serve as one of your county commissioners and this past year to be allowed to serve as chairman of the commission.
While we may not always agree 100 percent of the time, our board makes decisions for the benefit of our citizens.
Under the leadership of our county manager and his leadership team, there are many accomplishments for 2012. As one of your commissioners, I would like to recognize a few of our leaders and some of the county achievements.
We have new leadership with new Chief Financial Officer Christine Vuletich, new County Engineer, Erik Nilssen, new Human Resources Manager, Norma Santoya. They join Mimi Moss, Carl Ruschmeyer, Scott Morgan and the rest of an outstanding county leadership team along with our court system and other elected offices.
Douglas County is fortunate to have the best sheriff's office and fire departments in the state and both rely on our community of volunteers to make their job complete. Sheriff Ron Pierini and East Fork Fire District Chief Tod Carlini have made tough financial decisions while keeping our communities protected, safe and our quality of life high.
This past year we broke ground on a new community and senior center, consolidated water rates in the Valley, negotiated three-year contracts with all of our associations, obtained $1.3 million in federal funds for the airport, finalized a five-year agreement with the current airport operator, developed a five-year fiscal outlook for the first time in county history, balanced a $3 million shortfall, enhanced communication with our citizens through a new website, began the new priority based budgeting system, established new methods of communication and we have strengthened our relationships with our towns and GIDs in the process.
Douglas County is a great place to live, work and play and our best resources are our people that live here and the employees that serve our citizens at the county staff level. I would like to thank fellow commissioner Mike Olson for not only his dedicated service to the county, but for the spirit in which he works and lives. Mike is one of the many outstanding people that call Douglas County home and we will miss him on our board. I call Mike our commissioner of enthusiasm. His outlook and perspective are infectious.
I would also like to welcome our newest commissioner Barry Penzel to the board as he gets sworn into office on Jan. 2. Being a commissioner is an honor and privilege and Douglas County is one of the best places to serve. Welcome also to Tod Young our new district court judge. We have outstanding people, with an exciting future in a community where excellence is predominant.
As we look to 2013 I know there are even better days ahead. We have weathered a tough economic storm and are ready for the future beginning with the coming year. Announcements of more jobs are coming in the first quarter and our economic situation looks brighter than it has in years. I would like to thank our citizens for the trust you give to us when you elect us and to our county employees that have given up a lot so that we can maintain a level of service to our people. Let's all work together and make this next year the best one possible.
Lee Bonner is chairman of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.