California counties play a significant role in the lives of state residents.

Their influence reaches to elections, property-tax collection, maintenance of public records such as deeds, local-level courts within their borders, providing law enforcement (through the county sheriff and sheriff’s deputies) to areas that do not lie within incorporated cities and much more.

Recently, several California Counties have made newsworthy actions.

Cement manufacturing giant Cemex has so far failed to pay the nearly half-million dollar tab that Santa Cruz County apparently accrued in responding to last year’s chromium 6 scare, this according to Kurtis Alexander with The Mercury News.     

According to Corinne Reilly with the Merced Sun-Star, Merced County may cut some social service programs because of the state’s failure to hand down money to pay for them. The cuts could include public health, mental health and law enforcement departments. Welfare and other social services could also be deeply affected.

Julia Scott with Contra Costa Times reports that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is pursuing a plan to store water underground that can be pumped out in time to supply customers in a drought, given the uncertainty of California’s water future. It could supply water for seven and a half years to San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda counties and much of Santa Clara County.

San Bernardino County is to begin issuing medical marijuana identification cards starting August 14th if eligible patients are recommended by a licensed doctor, this according to Rebecca Unger with the Hi-Desert Star.

Sixth through twelfth grade students living in Amador, Calaveras, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties now have an opportunity to attend fully-online school. This according to a news release with the Amador Ledger-Dispatch.

A $1.2 million federal grant will go toward helping dairy operators protect water quality in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties, according to the Business Journal.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors vote to upgrade their emergency operations center with virtual emergency operations software, this according to affiliate KEYT 3 in Santa Barbara. (Video Link for Santa Barbara story also found on Web site.)