The County of Santa Clara will head into the next fiscal year focused on building out safety net services for the community, as leaders acknowledge the importance of resiliency against current and future challenges. Despite a number of hardships that continue to impact the country – from ongoing inflation to the unrelenting COVID-19 crisis – County officials detail a number of reasons for hopefulness in the Santa Clara County budget, fiscal year 2022-23, which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on June 16.
“Despite the pandemic, wildfires, budget reductions, and national social upheaval, our employees continued to overcome obstacles and were able to achieve many notable successes in the past year,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. “We are energized by this perseverance and that momentum will carry us into the next fiscal year with ambitious goals to improve our community. We’ll build out safety nets, continue fighting for an equitable society, and use what we’ve learned over the past two years to better prepare us for any challenges that may come.”
The $11.5 billion Santa Clara County budget, for the fiscal year that begins July 1, aims to expand the healthcare system to fit emerging needs and preserve core community services. Key priorities include:
- Promote equity and inclusion through the implementation of programs using an equity lens as departments continue to develop, refine, and measure systemwide efforts throughout the County organization;
- Address the mental health crises and expand behavioral health services, including construction of a new psychiatric health facility;
- Increase supportive and permanent affordable housing;
- Continue resources for disadvantaged populations;
- Address climate change and support sustainability initiatives;
- Reform the incarceration system while reducing recidivism; and
- Continuously improve transparency in government.
“Everything this County Administration does revolves around improving the lives of our residents today and for generations to come,” said Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman. “Our goal is not to simply operate a local government, but to create a healthy, thriving community. Every decision is guided by the same question: How do we make Santa Clara County a great place to live for everyone?”
“Our obligation is to create a budget that represents our County’s values and makes continuous progress toward greater transparency,” said Supervisor and Board Vice President Susan Ellenberg. “I am pleased we are investing in expanded resources to address mental illness and substance use disorders; in children’s recovery from the pandemic through supports for those who lost parents or caregivers and through school wellness centers; in further grants for our smallest businesses hit hardest by the pandemic-induced economic downturn; and in workforce pipeline development in some of our highest need areas, including social workers and early childhood educators and caregivers. I will continue to advocate for accountability in our spending to ensure we are effectively alleviating real problems and measurably improving the lives of county residents.”
Notable Investments in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget
- Enhance funding for the Vietnamese American Service Center (VASC) to provide behavioral health, social services, public health, and ambulatory care needs focused on the Vietnamese American population, as well as the general local population;
- Continue the development of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) services to interrupt the cycle of repetitive psychiatric crises and resulting hospitalizations, incarcerations, and homelessness for people with the most serious mental health problems;
- Support education and tutoring for African Ancestry and other children to close educational disparities imposed upon children;
- Establish new health clinics in South County;
- Add approximately 42 level II electric vehicle charging stations to support the County’s Sustainability Master Plan, the carbon neutrality resolution, and the fleet electrification policy;
- Institutionalize wastewater surveillance for communicable diseases as an early warning system to detect COVID-19 variants of concern, surges, and infection peaks, but also to be able to monitor other viruses of concerns such as certain strains of influenza.
“We worked hard to adjust the budget so we can maintain quality services for our residents. We are pleased to be able to provide one million dollars each to support capital campaigns for Sunnyvale Community Services and Sacred Heart Community Service, plus an additional $209,000 for another seven Emergency Assistance Network agencies,” said Supervisor Otto Lee. “I am also excited to see us increase our detox bed capacity by 55%, allowing us to help between 700-800 more residents each year with potentially significant reduced wait times. These efforts in conjunction provide support for the unhoused by adding more transitional housing stock, safe parking locations, and permanent supportive housing. There’s more to do, but we have to feel good about the upcoming fiscal year ahead.”
“One of the major strengths of the County budget is it anticipates issues coming our way during very uncertain times. One example of that is the $3 million Santa Clara County will provide to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte with the U.S. Supreme Court expected to overturn abortion rights. We are anticipating an uptick in women both in the county and from other states seeking abortions,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
“I’m particularly pleased that our budget supports resumed pre-pandemic service levels at our County libraries,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who serves on Santa Clara County Library’s Board. “Like almost everything else, libraries took a hit when COVID struck. I’m proud to say that our libraries have resumed seven-days-a-week service, and the funding approved for additional staff will ensure that our libraries are open and accessible.”
“The Board of Supervisors and the County Executive have developed and adopted a balanced and responsible budget with contributions from County departments and our community-based partners,” said County Budget Director, Greg Iturria. “Together, we have allocated the necessary funds to expand and maintain services that improve the lives of nearly two million residents in Santa Clara County.”
More details on priorities and investments are available in the full Fiscal Year 2022-23 Recommended Budget, which is published with an open data portal on the County’s website. In the Fall, the County will publish the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Adopted Budget that was approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 16.