Bay County overcame challenges in 2021, laying the groundwork for growth in 2022

James A. Barcia is the elected County Executive of Bay County. He works closely with the County Board of Commissioners and all county departments. He is tasked with everything from helping the community overcome public health and safety concerns to supporting efforts to grow the local economy. 

As I reflect on 2021 – the positive progress as well as the challenges we overcame, I am proud to share Bay County’s continued commitment to serving our community every step of the way. I am also looking forward to the New Year – a year of possibilities and productivity.

James A. BarciaDuring a difficult 2021, Bay County continued to serve the public at full capacity in all of our departments. 

The Bay County Health Department met the challenge of distributing over 50,000 of the 110,000+ vaccines to our community members who wanted them. Our team overcame all the challenges beginning with a low supply of vaccines coupled with an extremely high demand then pivoting to rolling out vaccination clinics for hundreds of folks suitable to social distancing as the vaccine supply increased greatly in a short amount of time. Additionally, we entered into community partnerships for vaccination, proving that we could all come together in a time of difficulty to meet the challenge that lay ahead. 

The Department on Aging continued to serve our seniors by delivering 214,625 meals to our citizens.

The Bay County Golf Course had a record year as many more golfers came to enjoy the pristine greens and manicured holes as a safe, fun outdoor activity. 

The Bay County Animal Services and Adoption Center was proud to maintain its 97% no-kill rate.

 The Center Ridge Arms deal came to completion.  

TextMyGov is configured and will be rolled out in February. 

As these are just some of our more forward facing accomplishments, all Bay County staff continued to work hard serving our community members. 

Bay County was awarded just over $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding. This appropriation to Bay County (as well as separate appropriations to local municipalities) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity intended to turn the tide of the pandemic and make a lasting impact in our community. Bay County received thoughtful and insightful input from our citizens as well as funding proposals from our area organizations.

I assembled an administrative workgroup to vet and propose projects that are impactful, transformational, solve problems, benefit the residents in our community, and are allowable under the rules of the American Recovery Plan Act. As we move into 2022, we will continue to work with our Board of Commissioners to administer these funds as projects secure Board approval in order to improve our community, aid those people, organizations and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide thoughtful leadership in project management from idea creation to implementation.

It is my plan to focus efforts on supporting all economic development activities in Bay County this year and forward. The prediction of a smaller population as well as a smaller workforce in the next 20 years is something that necessitates our attention to economic development, attraction to our community, and retention of our population in the very near future.

Bay Future Inc. is a stellar organization that was able to secure some monumental wins in investment this year in Wilkinson Minerals, SK Siltron CSS, Michigan Sugar and more. Read more about Bay Future’s 2021 accomplishments and 2022 goals in this Jan. 6, 2021 Route Bay City article.

Supporting Bay Future in its efforts to attract business with high-paying jobs is essential to our growth as a community. Additionally, a commitment to enhancing the draw to our natural resources, providing and supporting recreational opportunities for our families that contribute to our home being a great place to live, and telling our unique story will continue to be a priority to enhance the quality of life of our current and future residents.

As Bay County Executive, I am proud of the work my staff performs for all of our citizens every day. I will continue our work on improving and enhancing services in an effective and fiscally responsible manner. I want to wish all of our residents a safe and happy new year full of adventure and happiness.

Here’s to a prosperous, positive, and productive 2022!

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