After a week of hearings on a new budget proposal, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the next year’s $8.1 billion budget, which will fund youth projects, land preservation, criminal justice reform and healthcare, along with other programs.
The budget also includes plans to complete critical initiatives such as integration of O’Connor and St. Louise Hospitals into the County’s health system; expansion of the Valley Medical Center emergency room to double its size; constructing a new animal services center; constructing a Vietnamese-American Service Center; custody and criminal justice reform, including building a new service-based facility at the main jail site; implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act to expand voting access; building a new HUB community center for foster youth; and planning for a new juvenile and adult psychiatric inpatient center.
The spending plan recommended by County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, MD, JD, allocated over $6 million in funding to local organizations not included in the original budget. The Board of Supervisors also identified and funded new proposals that were not originally included in the county executive’s 2019-2020 Recommended Budget but were recommended by Board members. Called “Inventory Items,” the proposals from supervisors support nonprofits and community organizations that need help with projects that benefit residents and improve the quality of life in the county.
“I’m pleased to see a balanced budget focusing on completing crucial initiatives, strengthening existing services and funding nonprofit programs that benefit our community,” said Smith in a press release. “This budget is our last year of expansion before an economic downturn is upon us. Revenue growth is slowing down. Funding threats are expected from the state and federal governments. And the demand for services is expected to increase as the cost of services is expected to continue growing in the years ahead. Maintaining existing services and prudent spending are expected priorities for the future.”
During the hearing, the Board approved several budget proposals from the Board members and adjustments recommended by the county executive, including adjustments to reserves to balance the budget. Final actions included establishing the General Fund Contingency Reserve at $164,105,457 and approving the Inventory of Budget Proposals submitted by the Board members totaling $6,631,843.
“The Board of Supervisors and the county executive have developed and adopted a balanced and responsible budget with contributions from County departments and our community-based partners,” said County Budget Director Greg Iturria. “Together, we have allocated the necessary funds to expand and maintain services that improve the lives of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County.”
The plan takes effect July 1, 2019, and will add a net increase of 205 new full-time equivalent positions, including positions added throughout the past year, for a total of 21,080 FTEpositions.