File #: 2021-0103   
Type: Regular Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 1/28/2021 In control: County Administrator
On agenda: 3/2/2021 Final action:
Title: Sonoma County Five-Year Strategic Plan (2021-2026)
Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator
Attachments: 1. Summary Report, 2. 1 - Five-Year Strategic Plan 2021-26 (English), 3. 2 - Appendix C: Employee and Community Engagement Findings, 4. 3 - Five-Year Strategic Plan 2021-26 (Spanish), 5. 4 - Owners for Strategic Plan Objectives, 6. 5 - Input on Strategic Plan from City Partners, 7. 6 - Presentation

To: Board of Supervisors

Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator

Staff Name and Phone Number: Katherine DiPasqua, 707-565-3779

Vote Requirement: Majority

Supervisorial District(s): All




Sonoma County Five-Year Strategic Plan (2021-2026)



Recommended Action:

Recommended action

Approve Sonoma County Five-Year Strategic Plan



Executive Summary:

On January 26, 2021 staff presented the Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan to the Board of Supervisors for their review and input.  The draft goals and objectives presented to the Board reflected the significant amount of feedback received from both County employees and community members after a widespread engagement effort.  After the January 26th meeting, the draft plan was posted online for additional public comment and staff made presentations at six City Council meetings to get feedback on the plan before it was finalized.  Feedback from the Board and our city partners has been incorporated into the goals and objectives, and we are pleased to present the  Five-Year Strategic Plan today for the Board’s approval.



Sonoma County’s Five-Year Strategic Plan will provide the context to inform policies and projects that are prioritized for the next five years. The Plan will guide how we align short and long-term objectives with operations and budgets, so our actions reflect a clear sense of purpose and demonstrate meaningful progress.


Since late 2019, County leaders and Board members have been engaged in developing the base framework for the Strategic Plan. The Board of Supervisors discussed the base framework during its Strategic Planning Retreat on January 28, 2020 where five Strategic Pillars were identified and discussed. Those five Pillars are: Healthy and Safe Communities, Organizational Excellence, Racial Equity and Social Justice, Climate Action and Resiliency, and Resilient Infrastructure. A Steering Committee, consisting of two departmental leaders for each Pillar, was then formed to assist the County Administrator’s Office with the development of the plan.  Once the draft plan was developed, staff launched an extensive employee and community engagement effort to solicit input on the plan.  After receiving input from over 1,700 employees and community members, numerous community stakeholder groups, and our city partners, we have updated the Five-Year Strategic Plan goals and objectives to reflect a shared vision for the future of Sonoma County operations. 


Plan Development

In order to develop a long-term planning document that will guide how the County of Sonoma will prioritize policies and projects, County leadership first needed to identify the mission, values, and guiding principles that will be used to inform how the Strategic Plan’s goals and objectives will be implemented.  



A Mission is a formal summary of the aims and values of an organization. Sonoma County’s stated mission is “To enrich the quality of life in Sonoma County through superior public services.”



Values represent the core beliefs that an organization wishes to foster through its actions and in pursuit of its mission. They shape the County’s culture and inform the priorities and strategies we choose. In late 2019, County Department Heads identified the values they most wanted to see reflected in the Strategic Plan. Later, the Board of Supervisors narrowed that list down to five core values, listed below.


1.                     Equity

Equity is an outcome whereby you cannot tell the difference in critical markers of health, well-being, and wealth by race or ethnicity, and a process whereby we explicitly value the voices and contributions of people of color, low income, and other underrepresented and underserved communities who identify solutions to achieve that outcome.


2.                     Excellence

Excellence is the commitment to superior public service by ensuring all processes and operations are necessary, clearly defined, and efficiently designed.


3.                     Accountability

Accountability is taking ownership of our actions and being fiscally responsible and results driven, so that our success is aligned with community outcomes.


4.                     Collaboration

Collaboration is ensuring that the right people are being included in the discussion, from City partners, community stakeholders, employees and the public, so that we can work together to support common values and a vision to achieve shared goals.


5.                     Innovation

Innovation in County operations is creating an environment for County staff to move projects forward, supporting new ideas and increased efficiency, and developing solutions that have the greatest public benefit.


Guiding Principles

Guiding principles are the overarching philosophies that are applied to each of the Strategic Plan’s five pillars. Along with our values, these principles will influence how the County makes decisions, sets policies, allocates resources, implements strategies and measures results.


§                     Geographic Equity

Access to services should be equitably distributed across the County.


§                     Leveraging Funds

By using innovative funding strategies and leveraging grants, the County can advance its strategic priorities without impacting baseline service provision.


§                     Partnerships with Cities and Community Stakeholders

Collaboration with local jurisdictions and community stakeholders is essential in advancing countywide strategic priorities. By working together, we serve the community better.


Revisions Based on Input from Cities

After presenting the draft plan from the Board on January 26, 2021, County staff made presentations to City Councils to solicit their feedback on the goals and objectives before the plan was finalized.  In general, there was a lot of support from our city partners on the Strategic Plan and a desire to collaborate with the County as we implement the plan’s goals and objectives.  Based on the input received during these presentations, we have made the following revisions to the plan.  Please see Attachment 5 for additional notes. 


Healthy and Safe Communities

§                     Goal 4 Objective 1:  Moved up the schedule for completion of a strategic plan for homeless prevention with cities from 2024 to 2023.


§                     Goal 4 Objective 5:  Added a new objective to highlight collaboration with local partners, like Continuum of Care, to advance planning and policies to address homelessness. 


Racial Equity and Social Justice

§                     Goal 4: Revised goal language and Objectives 1 and 2 to reflect addition of engagement with individual community members on racial equity policies and priorities, in addition to community stakeholder groups. 


Resilient Infrastructure

§                     Goal 3: Revised goal language to incorporate multi-modal infrastructure, including bridge, bike and pedestrian.


Other Revisions

After the January 26, 2021 Board meeting, the Draft Strategic Plan was posted to the Strategic Plan website so that the public could review and provide additional feedback via email to <> before the plan was finalized.  No public comment was received.  However, a few revisions were made to the plan based on Board discussions and direction from the County Administrator.

All Pillars

§                     Removed mention of specific months for completion of objectives, and replaced with approximate timelines within a given year.


§                     Some changes have been made to the Lead or Participant departments listed for each objective.


Healthy and Safe Communities

§                     Goal 3 Objective 1:  Provided clarity about the number of sites to be evaluated for housing development, and the potential increase in housing density allowances.


Affordable Housing

Staff heard throughout the employee and community engagement process that affordable housing should be a priority for the County.  As a result, Goal 3 in the Healthy and Safe Communities Pillar was revised to focus on collaboration with our city partners to increase affordable housing development in the County, including identifying new funding sources and creating incentives for developers to encourage development.  Healthy and Safe Communities Pillar Goal 3 currently states:

Goal 3: In collaboration with cities, increase affordable housing development near public transportation and easy access to services.

§                     Objective 1: Rezone 59 unincorporated urban sites suitable for housing development, increasing density allowance from 354 units to 2,975 units, and partner with developers and the community to break ground on as many sites as possible by 2026.

§                     Objective 2: Identify and leverage grant funding sources for permanent supportive and affordable housing development.

§                     Objective 3: Create incentives for developers to promote affordable housing development in the County.

In addition to the Strategic Plan, the County has been actively working to support the development of affordable housing.  In May 2018, the County updated local policies to facilitate increased housing development in urban areas. This included increasing the allowable residential floor area in mixed-use projects, allowing larger single-room occupancy (SRO) projects, and expanding opportunities for SROs and transitional and supportive housing.  In October 2018, the County further expanded housing opportunities by simplifying development standards for multifamily housing projects, creating a new zoning district that allowed housing in some commercial and industrial areas, creating a new housing type called cottage housing to allow multi-unit housing in single-family neighborhoods, and encouraging smaller units in multifamily development by allowing them to count as less than one unit. The County also increased protections for residents in rental mobile home parks.


In late 2019, the County reduced permitting requirements for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in line with changes in State law, and is exploring ways to further streamline review including pre-approved ADU plans. And later this year, the County will begin updating its housing element, including considering sites in urban areas for rezoning to allow higher densities.


Final Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

The Strategic Plan is comprised of five Pillars, which identify the most important strategic priorities for the County over the next five years. Each Pillar is supported by multiple goals, the outcomes we want to achieve, and within each goal, there are several objectives identifying the milestones or measures of progress toward that goal.  Please see the Strategic Plan (Attachment 1) for the full list of pillar goals and objectives for Board consideration. 


Staff are currently working with a graphic designer to produce a Final Strategic Plan document, as well as a brochure and handout for County staff and community members.  These documents will be posted online and distributed once completed.


Healthy and Safe Communities Pillar

Provide equitable access to quality and equitable housing, health, and human services for all.

Pages 5-8 of Strategic Plan


Organizational Excellence Pillar

Be an innovative, effective, engaged, and transparent organization focused on quality programs and services.

Pages 9-11 of Strategic Plan


Racial Equity and Social Justice Pillar

Achieve racial equity in County service provision and ensure a workforce reflective of the community we serve.

Pages 12-14 of Strategic Plan


Climate Action and Resiliency Pillar

Make Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.

Pages 15-17 of Strategic Plan


Resilient Infrastructure Pillar

Enhance community resilience to fire and other hazards by investing in County facilities and infrastructure, including roads, buildings and property, communications, and flood protection.

Pages 18-20 of Strategic Plan






Implementation Approach


Implementation Plans

County staff who are assigned as leads will work on developing implementation plans for each objective (see Attachment 4). The goal is to achieve each by the end of 2026. However, the timeline for implementation will vary based on many factors, including the complexity of the objective, partner and community input, workforce capacity and availability, budget availability, and effective coordination with County partners. Implementation plans will be reviewed regularly to assess their success in meeting the milestones set out in the objectives, and will be embedded within Department work plans and budgets, as appropriate.


Data Tracking and Reporting

County Administrator staff are working with the Information Systems Department (ISD) to develop and launch an Online Dashboard on the County’s Strategic Plan website that will track progress on each of the plan’s goals and objectives. The type of data reported will be dependent on the objective, and could include expenditures, progress towards completion, or number of clients served, projects completed, trainings provided, etc. Until the Strategic Plan is incorporated into the annual County budget process in Fiscal Year 2022-23, County Administrator staff will be launching a pilot program to start tracking Fiscal Year 2021-22 expenditures related to one objective for each of the five pillars to post on the Online Dashboard. Data on the Dashboard will be updated regularly, and status updates will be provided to the Board of Supervisors for review in regular meetings. 


Next Steps

Staff will continue to work with ISD and department fiscal staff to launch and update the Online Dashboard.  After the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget Hearings are completed in June, departmental leads identified in the Strategic Plan will develop Implementation Plans, and the Board will need to prioritize objectives for funding later in the year.   


Prior Board Actions:

January 28, 2020 - Strategic Planning Board Retreat

August 11, 2020 - Sonoma County Five-Year Strategic Planning Update

January 26, 2021 - Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan


Fiscal Summary


FY 20-21 Adopted

FY21-22 Projected

FY 22-23 Projected

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Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

The Board’s approval of the Strategic Plan does not authorize appropriations or represent project approval of the goals and objectives in the plan. County departments will be expected to align their resources with the Strategic Plan’s goals and objectives, as appropriate. Given the timing of the Strategic Plan adoption, there is no identified funding in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget for the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan. The Board will need to prioritize the goals and objectives each year through the County’s annual budget process.



Staffing Impacts:




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Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):

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1 - Five-Year Strategic Plan 2021-26 (English)

2 - Appendix C: Employee and Community Engagement Findings

3 - Five-Year Strategic Plan 2021-26 (Spanish)

4 - Owners for Strategic Plan Objectives

5 - Input on Strategic Plan from City Partners

6 - Presentation


Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board:

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