Santa Rosa, CA – April 23, 2021 – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will hold its annual budget workshop on April 26, 27 and 28 next week to provide the Board and the community an opportunity to learn about the County's preliminary spending plan for fiscal year 2021-22, ask questions and provide direction before final adoption during the June budget hearings.
"This is an important step in our budget deliberation process, when the Board and members of the community can provide input to help shape and inform the recommended budget," said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Board of Supervisors. "We invite residents to tune into the presentations to learn more about how the County may allocate funding next year and to participate during public comment on Zoom."
The three-day workshop will include presentations by each department with an overview of their 2021-22 preliminary budgets and an updated five-year General Fund forecast. As part of its deliberations, the Board will discuss lifting the current hiring and training freeze and allocating $100,000 to support equity training in this fiscal year. However, the Board will not make any budget determinations for fiscal year 2021-22 at these workshops.
The 2021-22 preliminary budget includes $2.1 billion in expenditures, which is a 0.8 percent decrease from the 2020-21 adopted budget. The decrease is largely attributable to COVID-19 response costs and related revenues included in the 2020-21 adopted budget. COVID-19 response costs for 2021-22 are not included in the preliminary budget and will be considered as part of the June budget hearings in order to allow more time to better understand the dynamic needs of pandemic response and recovery.
As part of the 2021-22 spending plan, most departments are maintaining services, however a few departments are anticipating decreases in revenues or large increases in costs, which could lead to required cuts. Two new revenue sources will come online in FY 2021-22. These include voter-approved Measure O funding for mental health and homelessness services and funding from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Package that was approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year. The County's Preliminary Budget includes a portion of Measure O funding to preserve existing services, which were previously funded with one-time resources. Later in the calendar year the Board will consider new programs for the remaining funding.
Sonoma County is expected to receive $95.9 million as part of the American Rescue Plan. The budget workshops do not include a discussion of ARP funds, as the County is developing a proposal for the use of those funds. Funding needed for fiscal year 2021-22 response costs will be included in the June budget hearings, and the Board will determine how to allocate remaining funds over the coming months.
The budget workshops will include a general fund update, where staff will provide information on the $10.6 million preliminary surplus that is anticipated at the end of this fiscal year, and the anticipated deficits of $13.8 million in FY 2022-23, $14.8 million FY 2023-24, and $19.2 million in FY 2024-25.
The public may watch the budget workshops through the County's legistar website, and may view the agenda for information on how to provide public comment during the workshops. Residents may also learn more by reviewing the materials for the workshops, which include a schedule of department presentations and opportunities for public comment. Residents who prefer to view and participate in Spanish may join on Zoom (link in the agenda) for live interpretation.
Following the budget workshops, the FY 2021-22 recommended budget will be available online on May 15, 2021. The FY 2021-22 budget hearings will be held beginning on June 15 when the Board will deliberate on adjustments to the recommended budget before adopting a final budget.
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Santa Rosa, CA 95403