The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at its June 26, 2018,  meeting approved a $2.75 billion Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 after including $764,000 to create an immigrant defense fund.

The Board will consider at its July 10, 2018, meeting the parameters of that fund including potential providers and any requirements or limitations for participation. Annual fund allocations may need adjusting depending upon the actual caseload.

County Manager John L. Maltbie said the defense fund is an example of the competing priorities the Board will face in coming budget cycles as it evaluates how to fund significant investments including affordable housing, capital projects, childhood literacy and a new property tax system.

“All the programs you face are worthwhile,” Maltbie said. “You have to weigh what are the priorities and benefits of each of those things in relation to the other.”

Maltbie told the Board that the County currently has the ample resources and flexibility to spend funds on the most critical needs but urged “fiscal discipline” as it prepares for the next two-year budget cycle. Prior to Spring 2019, Maltbie suggested the Board ask department heads to consider a 2.5 percent net County cost reduction (funds allocated to each General Fund department from property taxes) and establish a subcommittee to evaluate the current policy guiding the allocation of revenue from Measure K, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax.

“I know it’s sobering. These are sobering times,” Maltbie said, adding his confidence that the leadership of the Board with the resources at its disposal will allow it to meet those challenges.

Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine thanked Maltbie, who is retiring in November 2018, for his guidance helping the current and past Boards prudently manage the County’s finances.

“San Mateo County is one of the most fiscally sound counties in the state and John Maltbie has been instrumental in achieving that,” Pine said.

With the addition of the immigrant defense funding, the Board unanimously approved the recommended budget totaling $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 FY 2018-19 Recommended Budget is part of a two-year budget cycle. The Board received the preliminary budget last September which was increased 7.3 percent in the recommended budget approved today. The Board will approve the final budget in September.

The complete recommended budget is available at https://cmo.smcgov.org/sites/cmo.smcgov.org/files/documents/files/FY%202018-19%20Recommended%20Budget.pdf