The County of San Mateo released its Fiscal Year 2018-19 Recommended Budget which the Board of Supervisors will consider at the end of June along with advice from outgoing County Manager John Maltbie to prepare for future economic uncertainty.

The proposed recommended budget totals $2.75 billion with 5,528 authorized positions and reserves of 13 percent, or $358.6 million. The general fund totals $1.8 billion with 11.3 percent reserves, or $199.9 million.

The proposed budget continues following through on the three primary goals adopted by the Board in 2015: end homelessness, improve reading proficiency and ensure all foster youth graduate from high school and complete the equivalent of two years of college or vocational training. In his budget message, Maltbie highlighted the County initiatives making significant strides in those areas. Homelessness for families and veterans is virtually zero, Home For All has led to a $103 million investment into affordable housing and the 2016 living wage ordinance adopted by the Board for the unincorporated area continues to elevate the quality of life.

But Maltbie, who is delivering his final recommended budget before retiring later this year, recommended that the Board build next year’s budget on a 2.5 percent reduction in net county costs, or approximately $13.4 million. Doing so, Maltbie said, gives the Board flexibility in funding decisions regarding health care, capital improvements, increased labor costs and the possibility of a future recession. The Board will also be faced with making hard decisions about Measure K funding in the face of some of the sales tax revenue being reallocated to airport uses due to federal regulations and the loss of federal funding for the Big Lift program.

“I have always believed that the purpose of government is to help people lead better lives. To accomplish this, budgets are critical in setting priorities and establishing policy not just for today but also the future. Above all, this must be done in a way that promotes democracy and builds community,” Maltbie said.

The FY 2018-19 Recommended Budget is part of a two-year budget cycle. The Board received the preliminary budget last September and the upcoming hearings will consider changes to reflect a 7.3 percent increase.

The significant adjustments include:

  • $100 million in capital projects, including rollover of previously funded projects totaling $75.5 million. Projects scheduled for completion this fiscal year include the Regional Operations Center (ROC), Skylonda Fire Station and Lathrop House relocation. New projects include the animal shelter replacement.
  • $25.7 million in pension prepayment contributions as part of the County’s commitment to aggressively pay down its unfunded pension liability.
  • $15.3 million to replace the property tax systems for the offices of the Controller, assessor and treasurer-tax collector.
  • $1.1 million to fund two park rangers at recently-acquired Tunitas Creek Beach to enforce appropriate access and eliminate health impacts to water quality, and a capital projects manager for parks projects.
  • $429,500 for climate vulnerability and mainstreaming resilience planning which will assess countywide climate change impacts and help the County and 20 cities further define areas of risk.
  • $650,000 to expand the user of electronic health records at the San Mateo Medical Center to include correctional health.

The Board of Supervisors will consider the recommended budget on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Board Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City. The complete recommended budgets for both FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 are available at https://cmo.smcgov.org/sites/cmo.smcgov.org/files/documents/files/FY%202018-19%20Recommended%20Budget.pdf

The full Board of Supervisors’ agenda packet will be available this week at https://sanmateocounty.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx

The Board will approve the final budget in September.