Recognizing an award-winning city

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Message from the City Manager
Ken Striplin

For people not in local government, the League of California Cities probably doesn’t mean much to you.

Beyond that, you’ve probably never heard of a lady named Helen Putnam.

For those of us who have dedicated our lives to public service in the Golden State – the League is the premier, local municipal organization and their prestigious annual awards are named after Helen Putnam.

Helen filled a number of roles in her life. In addition to being a mother, she was a school teacher, principal, mayor and county supervisor. Helen was also the first woman elected President of the League of California Cities in 1978. To honor her work, the League named their Awards of Excellence after her.

Each year, only 12 awards are handed out to cities and other municipal organizations. Since the inception of the awards, Santa Clarita has been honored to take home more than any other city. A total of 17 now grace the walls of City Hall. This year I am proud to say that we have once again earned a remarkable two Helen Putnam Awards.

Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean and city staff were on hand in Long Beach earlier this month at the annual League of California Cities conference to accept these awards. In addition, our city also had an opportunity to share our projects with councilmembers and city staffers from around the state.

The first was in the category of “City-Business Relations” for our Business Incubator program. The Santa Clarita Business Incubator is a collaboration between the city, College of the Canyons and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

The Business Incubator helps local entrepreneurs groom their cutting-edge ideas and connect them to resources necessary to thrive.

Since the program launched in 2014, 19 new jobs have been created in Santa Clarita. By the end of 2017, two companies that have completed the three-year program have successfully graduated and transitioned into nearby operating locations, adding new, high quality jobs to the area. The Business Incubator currently houses three high-tech companies that are involved in the program: Acqubit, CeliTech and Rangle News.

The second award was in the “Intergovernmental Collaboration” category for our Community Court Diversion Program.

This program was established in 2016 by the city of Santa Clarita, he Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the William S. Hart Union High School District. The program consists of two options for first time, juvenile offenders: Community Court, for offenses such as petty theft, curfew violations and vandalism, and Teen Court, for more severe offenses such as assault, possession of a controlled substance and burglary.

To date, nearly 4,200 youth have participated, more than 40,000 hours of community service have been performed in Santa Clarita and participants have a 98 percent completion success rate.

Over the years, we have been honored to win awards for such innovative programs, projects and services, including Heroin Kills, the Special Needs Registry and the city’s graffiti tracking and prevention system.

Thanks to the direction and guidance of our City Council, we are able to continue to create programs that take home top prize, and more importantly, provide top tier services and amenities to the Santa Clarita community.

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