Initial round of adjustments does not include layoffs of existing staff
Facing a $16 million budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved initial budget adjustments[PDF] November 17 that eliminate 22 vacant positions across various county departments. The remaining $8.2 million shortfall will be addressed this spring when the Supervisors plan to hold a public workshop in preparation for the fiscal year 2021-22 budget.
Of the $7.8 million in approved net cost reductions, $3.2 million comes from public safety, $1.8 million comes from health and human services, and $1.6 million from administrative services. Public Works, Community Development and other community services combined for an additional $1.1 million in reductions.
The projected $16 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year is primarily caused by a sharp decline in local and statewide sales tax revenues. Over the next five years, the shortfall was projected to be as much as $36.4 million if no adjustments were made.
The Board adopted a $619.7 million budget[PDF] in June and requested quarterly updates to work toward closing the projected budget gap. In his update to the Board, Budget Manager Bret Uppendahl cited large declines in national gross domestic product (GDP), statewide sales tax, and local sales tax revenues that affect budgets in local towns and cities.
“We saw the beginnings of an economic recovery over the past few months, but we still face a high degree of uncertainty due to the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the economy,” Uppendahl said. “We will know more about pensions, property tax, and federal stimulus this spring.”
The budget staff continues to work with all 22 County departments to identify options to achieve an ongoing structural balance. Another $8.2 million in recommended budget reductions will be brought to the Board in March 2021.
County Administrator Matthew Hymel said, “This is a good first step, but the choices will become tougher as we work to close the remaining gap.”