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San Diego County Board of Supervisor Bill Horn gives the annual State of North County Address this week in San Marcos. Photo by Tony Cagala
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Horn touts North County’s financial footing, public safety efforts

SAN MARCOS — With four members of the Board of Supervisors set to be termed out of office by 2020, Dist. 5 Supervisor Bill Horn urged potential candidates for those spots to follow in his and his colleagues’ fiscally conservative footsteps during his annual State of North County Address.

“I want to see the next generation of supervisors, they need have that same commitment,” said Horn, who will leave office due to term limits in 2018. “When you vote for them, make sure you examine them on this issue, because if they drain the treasury, you’re not going to be able to do a lot of the things we have done.”

Horn’s half-hour address highlighted a number of the county’s accomplishments in the North County region and countywide.

He also acknowledged the efforts of the county’s public safety and first-responder entities.

“They put their lives on the line,” Horn said of fire agencies.

One of the main accomplishments, Horn said, is the county maintaining its AAA credit and bond rating for the 16th and 10th consecutive year, respectively.

“Everything we do depends on these conservative practices that are working,” Horn said. “It’s not always popular, but we can’t spend money that we don’t have.

Those practices, Horn said, has allowed the county to build libraries — “I have built seven libraries in 22 years,” Horn said — fund anti-gang and other law-enforcement initiatives and adequately outfit fire agencies countywide.

The county broke ground on an $80 million crime lab last year — paid for with cash, Horn said.

Horn also used the address to unveil the county’s latest project — a 14,000-square-foot library, sheriff’s substation and community park in Borrego Springs, which is slated for opening in 2018. Horn said it will be a “centerpiece in the community.”

“I’ll be gone, but the libraries will be sticking around,” Horn said.

Horn’s address was preceded by two law enforcement demonstrations, including one by the bomb-arson unit and K-9 unit. Recently elected Supervisor Kristin Gaspar served as the event’s emcee.