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The Board of Supervisors approved an edited response to a grand jury report that found not enough was being done to improve pedestrian safety in Kettleman City, during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

During an Aug. 3 meeting the board tabled the letter because the response which was brought before them, written by Kings County Association of Governments, didn’t express steps already taken by the county to rectify the situation.

The letter is required by law to respond to a grand jury report on pedestrian safety in Kettleman where residents, including many children going to school, have to cross Highway 41. The report found that in the past 16 years, no substantial improvements have been made.

Before approval, Supervisor Richard Valle asked staff to bring back an edited letter which outlined efforts the County was actively taking to address the issue, including more signage and acquiring funding for a pedestrian bridge.

“It was only right to add the county’s words and the county’s efforts to this report so we have a refreshed record in the timeline here moving forward,” Valle said. “I like (the new letter), I think it accomplished that.”

The board and staff requested two changes to the letter, adding that the county would work with CalTrans to add both a pedestrian bridge and a round-about for the convenience of residents, and that the county is still pursuing federal funding.

With those two amendments, the response passed unanimously.

Other Business

It was announced during the meeting that Public Health Director Ed Hill was unanimously chosen to be the next County Administrative Officer. He will take over the county’s top staff position effective Sept. 6.

The board also approved a change of right of way and ownership for land on which the high speed rail between Bakersfield and Fresno will be built, opening CalTrans up to the next steps for the project.

A heavy equipment operator for Kings Fire won a photo contest for county employees and received a trophy and gift card, and his photo will be featured on the front page of the proposed county budget.

An amendment to the California Forensic Medical Group contract, which provides medical services to county jails and the youth center, was approved. The amendment would increase the contract a combined $584,000 over the next two years to accommodate staff requests.

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