Tobacco money plan may be close to being completed |

Tobacco money plan may be close to being completed

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

The El Dorado County Children and Families Commission is close to finalizing a plan to spend tobacco money on kids’ programs.

The Commission met Monday night and reviewed the final draft of a strategic plan that took a year to complete. The strategic plan is a set of procedures focused on promoting healthy children, strong families, child learning and readiness for school, and improved systems and services.

Executive Director Steven Thaxton, who was hired in July, said the commissioners went through every section of the 30-page plan, making comments and changing wording that was unclear.

“There were several comments by commission members who felt (Barbara Aved, Proposition 10 consultant) had done a very good job of capturing all the information and putting it into a reader-friendly format,” Thaxton said. “Everyone was very pleased with the work that was done.”

Thaxton said Aved will make the commission’s changes to the plan and then it will be distributed to the public, which will be allowed to comment on it at public hearings held in South Lake Tahoe on Sept. 20 and in Placerville on Sept. 21. After the appropriate changes are made following the communities’ input, the plan will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval and then back to the commission.

Gayle Erbe-Hamlin, county health director and commission member, said the commission hopes to adopt a final strategic plan at its Oct. 2 meeting if everything is complete.

“(The strategic plan) is a workable document,” Erbe-Hamlin said. “We were impressed by the first draft. If the commission feels they can adopt it once we get final feedback plus public input, it will move on to the request for approval process.”

After the plan is filed with the state, the commission will open up the proposal process so community organizations can apply for the funds.

Thaxton said the state mandated the development of a strategic plan so the counties could set up guidelines and time lines for how and when to spend the tobacco money.

The Children and Families Commission was given the responsibility by Proposition 10, passed two years ago, to spend $1.3 million per year to ensure county children, from prenatal to 5 years of age, are in good health, ready and able to learn, and emotionally well developed.

Proposition 10 placed a 50-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to fund the early childhood programs.

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