Marin County Projects $16 Million Budget Shortfall

Estimate based primarily on a decline in state sales-tax revenues stemming from pandemic

San Rafael, CA – When the Marin County Board of Supervisors adopted a $619.7 million budget in June, it requested quarterly updates to work toward closing the projected budget gap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The County Administrator’s Office is projecting a $16 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, primarily caused by a sharp decline in statewide sales tax revenues.

Budget manager Bret Uppendahl provided an update Sep. 22 before the Board of Supervisors. He said the county is working with all 22 county departments to identify permanent reduction options to achieve an ongoing structural balance. County staff plans to return to the board in November with initial reduction proposals that do not involve staff layoffs.

”There will be hard choices ahead,” said county administrator Matthew Hymel. “The loss of revenues due to the economic downturn requires us to be proactive and reduce our spending over the next few years.”

The county used reserves and one-time expense reductions to balance this year’s budget, but it is clear that permanent budget reductions will be needed to balance the budget next year.

“It is too early to draw conclusions about the long-term budget outlook,” Uppendahl said, “but we will continue to refine our projections as more data becomes available.”

The County will be balancing its budget at the same time it is spending about $6 million per month on its COVID-19 response. Most of the expenses will be reimbursed by federal and state revenues through the end of the calendar year, but state and federal funding for emergency response is uncertain for 2021.

For more information from Marin County regarding its budget overview, click here.

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