February 11, 2015

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Still Setting Measure A Priorities

ON TUESDAY, WE had one of the most productive board meetings so far this year. Why? Because there was a lot of dialogue about programmatic priorities between board members, the public and staff. As a policy board, we don't often talk about our priorities and why those priorities are important to the people we serve.

Our meeting was a priority-setting study session but we passed on accepting the staff's recommendations on Measure A sales tax revenue spending for new initiatives, instead we preferred to take a step back and review the 370 funding requests more fully.

On President Groom's suggestion, the Board appointed a subcommittee of Supervisors Adrienne Tissier and myself 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 conversation will continue at our February 24 meeting, which will push back the originally proposed timelines for notifying applicants of their status and holding public hearings on both new and continuing initiatives.

The county Manager suggested that we focus on a handful of priority areas where the funds can make a substantial impact for the county's low-income and underserved residents. Specifically, the targeted areas 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.
While those targeted areas may end up being OK with the Board, my colleagues and I wanted a greater understanding of why an individual application did or did not meet the criteria as listed in the recommendations for new initiatives. Additionally, we wanted the opportunity to more fully discuss spending options and how they might complement existing efforts.

Stay tuned for more Measure A funding conversations.

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