County leaders look to bring back stability and reenergize a pandemic-fatigued community and workforce
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara adopted the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget on Thursday, clearing the way for what County leaders called a sensible and strategic investment to lift up a pandemic-fatigued workforce. The $9.2 billion budget strikes an optimistic tone, aimed at economic and social recovery after a tumultuous year.
“This budget is a reset. After such a difficult year, the County can now begin the process of operating more effectively in a post-COVID world,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. “As we digest how everything around us is changing, we must dedicate ourselves to employing sustainable resources and identifying the service priorities that will make the County organization an example for our community and the State.”
The County is recovering from the pandemic in better-than-expected financial and economic shape due to a number of factors, including federal pandemic relief funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The community has been providing input on how to best use those resources, and the County hopes to put forward a plan in August once we know the final rules on how to spend the funds.
While the relief funds can help stabilize and meet local needs, they are one-time resources. Recognizing this, County leaders built a budget around long-term revenue to invest in a sustainable, smarter, and more efficient government that works for all community members – regardless of race, neighborhood, or socioeconomic status.
Some notable investments from the approved budget include:
- $20 million annually for loan payments to develop the Adolescent Psychiatric Facility/ Behavioral Health Services Center to support important, currently unmet needs for our youth
- $2.4 million increase to supplement operations for the Vietnamese American Services Center that will offer accessible and culturally responsive services to the local community
- $5.3 million for new cadet academies for sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers to fill vacant positions and reduce reliance on overtime
- $35.8 million to build stronger and more robust information technology
- $249 million to improve hospitals and clinics to deliver better care for our diverse community members
- $19 million for a small business loan program to recognize and support small businesses that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic
“This is a budget that brings back stability and sets the foundation for rebuilding efficiently,” said County Budget Director Greg Iturria.
Although optimistic, County leaders remain cautious. Long-term impacts of the pandemic remain unclear. Jobs in Santa Clara County have not fully recovered and are not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels before 2022, and the growth of property tax revenues has slowed and is projected to flatten. The events of the past year have been strong reminders that government can and must work smarter and more efficiently, while always keeping an eye toward equity.
“This budget really focuses on important initiatives for rebuilding our community, while recognizing that we must be prudent because uncertainty remains,” said Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman. “After a year that has tested us to our core, we can now turn our attention to reenergizing our community and boosting our collective resilience. The pandemic has taught us many lessons, and we’ll use them to make our government and our community stronger, sustainable and more effective for everyone.”
The County has published the FY 2021-22 Recommended Budget, along with details of a 10-year capital improvement program, an IT strategy plan, and an open data portal on its website. In the Fall, the County will publish the FY 2021-22 Adopted Budget that was approved today.
ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.
Visit the County of Santa Clara at: https://www.sccgov.org
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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez/ Quan Vu (408) 299-5119, [email protected]
Posted: June 17, 2021