San Mateo County’s $2.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2013-14 is an increase from the previous year, adds more than 100 new positions and reflects significant investments in capital projects and initiatives shelved during the economic downturn dating from five years ago, according to the County Manager’s Office.
The office released the two-year budget document Monday, a month ahead of its final consideration by county supervisors.
The pending new county jail scheduled to open in 2015 and federal health care reform account for millions of dollars in budgetary changes and dozens of new county positions. Those two items alone make up the majority of 112 new positions in 2013-14 followed by 42 the following year. Despite the additions, overall staff numbers are still roughly 10 percent lower than five years ago, according to county figures.
The recommended budget for fiscal year 2014-15 is $1.9 billion, the same amount as the 2013-14 budget. Sandwiched in between is the current recommended budget of $2.1 million which county officials say includes public safety investments and preparations for federal health care reform along with affordable housing and infrastructure improvements.
“By making wise decisions over the past five years we have avoided the drastic service cutbacks faced by many public organizations,” County Manager John Maltbie said in a prepared statement. “Now with the rebounding economy we are positioned to invest wisely in securing a stable and prosperous future for our residents.”
Other significant budget changes include:
• More than $150 million the next two years to build the Maple Street Correctional Center;
• $62 million spread over two years for other capital improvement projects like Devil’s Slide, replacing the Skylonda Fire Station and infrastructure projects;
• Paying down the unfunded pension liability by spending $50 million in fiscal year 2013-14 and $10 million in fiscal year 2014-15;
• A major information technology overhaul to the tune of $26.4 million in fiscal year 2013-14 and $27.9 million the next;
• $13.4 million for affordable housing and emergency shelters;
• Reestablishing the Parks Department as a separate department.
The budget also includes $555,000 over the two years to fill two spots in the Housing Department.
The budget does not include any Measure A half-cent sales tax allocations. The board will consider 22 tentatively funded proposals at its Sept. 16 and 17 hearings to adopt the final document.
The complete budget document is available at www.smcgov.org/budget.