The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s priority-setting study session passed on accepting a recommendation that Measure A sales tax revenue be spent on new initiatives falling into one of five targeted areas, instead preferring to take a step back and review funding more holistically.
The Board appointed a subcommittee of Supervisor Warren Slocum and Supervisor Adrienne Tissier to revisit the process used to spend approximately $30 million in Measure A dollars for new initiatives during the Fiscal Year 2015-2017 cycle, to ensure that the Board’s priorities are met using Measure A and other funding in the County’s budget. The study session will continue at a future board meeting which in turn will push back the originally proposed timeline for notifying applicants of their status and holding public hearings on both new and continuing initiatives.
The Measure A half-cent general sales tax passed by voters in November 2012 generates approximately $80 million annually for a total of $160 million in two-year budget cycle. Of that, about $90 million has been recommended to be spent on ongoing initiatives and $40 million for facilities and IT infrastructure projects. The remaining $30 million is earmarked for new initiatives of which the county received about $177 million worth of requests from its departments, community-based organizations, partners and cities.
County Manager John Maltbie recommended the Board of Supervisors focus on a handful of priority areas where the funds can make substantial impact for the county’s low-income and underserved residents before the tax sunsets in eight years, and where little or no Measure A funds have been previously used. Specifically, the targeted fields were:
· Ending homelessness and increasing affordable housing availability;
· Supporting foster youth from entry to emancipation and self-sufficiency;
· Protecting older adults and ensuring low-income residents can age in place;
· Environmental sustainability;
· Interventions in communities with lower high school graduation rates and higher truancy rates.
However, the Board said it wanted greater understanding of why an individual application did or did not meet the criteria as listed in the recommendations for new initiatives.
Once the Board sets its priorities, applications receiving a preliminary “yes” recommendation will be invited to submit a more detailed application for consideration during the upcoming hearings. Applications falling under one of the identified priority areas but very similar to other requests can compete for possible funding through a request for proposals process. All Board-approved initiatives will be included in the County’s recommended budget. Public hearings on the budget will be held from June 22 to 24, 2015.
Note: This news release has been corrected to reflect that the future study session date is yet to be determined and is not scheduled for Feb. 24, 2015.