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July 10, 2018 > New Budget Provides Safety Net Services, Supports Community Projects

New Budget Provides Safety Net Services, Supports Community Projects

By Supervisor Dave Cortese

One of the most important things we do as Santa Clara County Supervisors is to review and approve the annual budget that fuels the programs and services that directly help our residents.

In that sense, the 2018-19 Budget, which was approved by the Board and took effect on July 1, is much more than an accounting and planning document. It?s a life line for thousands of residents, including children, seniors and veterans, who need the County?s safety net services, such as psychical and mental health care; food, housing and legal assistance; job training; and supportive services for homeless individuals and families. Many of these services are provided through partnerships with our community organizations and agencies.

The adopted budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 authorizes spending of $7 billion, which includes all services, operations, reserves and improvements to our facilities and parks. Our General Fund budget is $3.5 billion, which covers most of our spending plan, including employees? salaries and benefits. We will add a net increase of 740 new positions, which includes positions that we approved during the past year. This addition will bring our workforce up to 19,058 full-time positions.

Just as last year, we are faced with uncertainties about actions from state or federal governments, but we are prepared to face them by strengthening our reserves.

I?m happy to report that also included in the budget is funding for our County Climate Coalition and our partnership with Al Gore?s Climate Reality Project. The County Climate Coalition is a collection of counties throughout the United States that was launched by my office to raise the bar for local governments? contribution to combating climate change. The official launch of our partnership with Gore?s project will be in September at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

As part of the budget process, Supervisors bring forward proposals that aren?t in the proposed budget but greatly benefit our residents. They?re often requests from nonprofit groups and community organizations or the result of a need that we and our staff members see in the community.ÿ They?re called ?inventory items,? and are mostly one-time costs that will help complete a project or keep a program going while other funding is being secured. The investment this year in those items from all Supervisors was about $8 million.

I was pleased to support the budget proposals of my colleagues, including Supervisor Mike Wasserman?s support of school programs to reduce bullying and promote healthy activities; Supervisor Cindy Chavez?s request for the County to provide summer camps an activities for foster and low-income youth; Supervisor Ken Yeager?s support for dental, vision and hearing screenings for low-income youth through the Healthier Kids Foundation; and Supervisor Joe Simitian?s support for the Mountain View Whisman School District Mobile Nutrition Program.

Here are some of the items that I proposed that were funded:
? The design and planning of an exhibit at the Tech Museum?s future Tech Center for Sustainability.
? A grant to the San Jose Stage Company to help purchase the building they now occupy on South First Street.
? Adding an investigator to the District Attorney?s Gun Related Intelligence Program to help turn leads into solved shooting cases.
? Meals for low-income residents through the Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen.
? Contribution to the Hispanic Foundation?s Family College Success Center.
? Trauma Informed Resilience Training for Community Leaders in the City Peace Project.
? Mobile Shower Unit for the Village House Program, a collection of churches that provide temporary housing for homeless women on a rotating basis.
? Restorative Justice services for the Center for Restorative Practices.
? Help for the Youth Science Institute to raise funds to sustain the organization for the future.
? Crisis intervention services for victims of domestic violence through Next Door Solutions.

For details or questions about the budget or any other issues, please call my office at 408-299-5030 or email me at dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org.

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