Health, youth top priorities in budget plan

Health, social services among top priorities for 2018-19

Mike Wasserman

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a $7 billion budget and spending plan at a June 15 meeting.

The county’s 2018-19 budget, recommended by County Executive Jeffery Smith, is designed to increase the county’s capacity to offer new services,  according a June 15 press release from the county Office of Public Affairs.

“The budget reflects the county’s commitment to expand healthcare services with increased clinic access and hours, and enhanced patient services and hospital system access,” the release reads in part. “It improves social services, as well as employment and benefits assistance; it also funds jail custody, and enhances capital projects and the county park system to improve visitor services.”

It includes a general fund budget of approximately $3.5 billion, and covers all discretionary and many mandated services for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The county will add 704 new full-time employee positions, including jobs added throughout the past year, for a total of 19,058 full-time equivalent positions, according to county staff.

“The new budget reflects the board’s priorities, including improvements in technology, data processing and facility acquisitions and upgrades, as well as procurement,” according to the release.

The spending plan “seeks to improve efficiencies and effectiveness throughout many departments, among them, the clerk of the board, the county executive’s office, procurement, county counsel, Registrar of Voters, fleet and facilities, employee services, custody health, consumer and environmental protection, and the hospital system.”

The budget also includes a “prudent level of reserves” to protect against anticipated federal and state budget cuts, according to county staff.

“We are cautiously optimistic as we prepare for any positive opportunity that may present itself, and for any threats to the county’s mission, both apparent and unexpected,” Smith said.

“We’re fortunate to be living in relatively prosperous times,” added board President Joe Simitian, “but there are still so many folks who need our help.”

Board-funded priorities

District 1 Supervisor Mike Wasserman, whose area includes Morgan Hill and Gilroy, proposed a one-time payment of $100,000 to the Special Olympics of Northern California Unified Champion School Programs to help reduce bullying and aggression, promote healthy activities and eliminate stereotypes in schools.

“Investing in services for youth, seniors and health and safety programs are just a few of the countless ways Santa Clara County provides Real Life Help to our 1.9 million residents every day,” Wasserman said.

Supervisor Cindy Chavez (District 2) proposed the allocation of one-time funding of $350,000 to the Social Services Agency for summer camps and enrichment activities for Santa Clara County foster youth and low-income youth.

Supervisor Dave Cortese (District 3) proposed support for the new Tech Center for Sustainability, gap funding for the San Jose Stage Company and adding a criminal investigator to the District of Attorney’s Office to solve crimes involving firearms.

Supervisor Ken Yeager (District 4) proposed the allocation of $984,100 to fund dental, hearing and vision screenings for low income children through the Healthier Kids Foundation.

Supervisor Joe Simitian (District 5) advocated for the Mountain View Whisman Mobile Nutrition Program. The Board authorized payment to the Mountain View Whisman School District in the amount of $221,348 in FY18-19, $61,373 in FY19-20, and $61,373 in FY20-21, to expand the mobile nutrition program for Mountain View children.

To view the County of Santa Clara Fiscal Year 2018-19 Recommended Budget, which became available on May 4, visit sccgov.org/sites/scc/gov/Documents/recommended-budget-condensed-FY2018-2019.pdf

In the fall, the County will publish the FY 2018-19 Adopted Budget approved June 15.

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