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The Board of Supervisors today adopted a $3.7 billion budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year that includes an additional $160 million to help pay for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board’s 5-0 vote followed a public hearing held via videoconference.

The adopted budget authorizes 5,597 positions for all County funds and includes  General Fund Reserves of $179.1 million for Non-Departmental Services, and $109.2 million for General Fund departments. As anticipated, these levels are a reduction from the Reserves included in the Recommended Budget, as Reserves have been used to backfill shortfalls in various funding sources due to COVID-19.

Responding to the COVID-19 emergency remains a top priority. Under the Board’s direction, the County has taken the following actions to in response to the pandemic and to meet the urgent needs of impacted residents:

  • COVID-19 Testing: A series of initiatives to bring no-cost COVID-19 testing to the San Mateo County Event Center and on a rotating basis to neighborhoods across the county.
  • Temporary Housing: Care and shelter by housing individuals in local hotels who require isolation or who are homeless in order to help limit the spread of the disease.
  • SMC Strong Fund: Assistance for individuals, non-profit organizations and small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19.
  • Small-Property Owners: Funds to provide grants to owners of small rental properties in exchange for forgiveness of a portion of a tenants’ back rent.
  • Child Care: Grants to ensure the continued availability of quality child care.
  • Immigrant Relief: Direct cash assistance for immigrants with low incomes who do not otherwise qualify for federal relief programs.
  • Services for COVID-19-Positive Individuals: Case management and other services for those quarantined due to COVID-19.
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: Improving high-speed WiFi and other technological support for individuals and students now working or studying at home.
  • Outreach to Vulnerable Communities: Reaching residents who may need additional support during the pandemic with face coverings and cleaning supplies as well as information on how to access financial, health and other resources.

As the County has rushed to respond to the pressing medical, public health, and financial needs facing residents, organizations, and businesses in the wake of COVID-19, the organization has also had to address falling revenue at the local, state, and federal levels. Numerous capital projects have been put on hold or scaled back, and County staff continues to study the long-term financial impacts of the pandemic.

The FY 2020-21 September Revisions to the Approved Recommended Budget and additional information presented to the Board can be found in the County staff report.