State of the County

Matthew H. Hymel, County Administrator

The State of the County

In short, the State of the County is strong, but there’s so much work to be done to make Marin County an even better place to live.

For the first time, County departments collaborated to create a State of the County webpage and video to provide insight about your local government’s highest priorities. The Marin County Board of Supervisors has focused on certain focus areas for the fiscal year 2016-17 after a careful assessment of public feedback and internal review. We believe progress on these topics is most urgent.

Guiding us daily are the principles of our 5 Year Business Plan, a document that serves as a road map for us to deliver improved services to the community and help us lay the groundwork for a successful future as a representative organization. Also, the Supervisors and all County employees continue to focus on what we call the Four E’s (equity, economy, education, environment). All our key initiatives prominently feature those fundamental factors. Even as the needs of our residents change, projects that lead to improvements in those Four E’s will lead to a better quality of life for the entire Marin community.

Our focal points for the next year:

Affordable Housing

It’s no mystery Marin County is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. As of October 2016, the average Marin apartment rent is $2,600 per month, up 75 percent since 2005. The median rent for a single family home is $5,000 per month. With no new affordable housing developments under constructions in unincorporated Marin, the County’s focus has turned to preserving the existing stock of affordable homes.   

More information:  Deeper Dive  |  County Housing Program  |   Housing Authority

Homelessness

At the latest count, there were 1,309 individuals in Marin without a place to call home.  The County is maximizing its resources and collaborating with cities, towns and public agencies make more help available to people living without permanent shelter and identify permanent solutions.  The Homeless Outreach Team focuses on aid and stability for people experiencing chronic homelessness. This work reduces the amount of time individuals and families spend in support programs before becoming self-sufficient. Once a homeless person finds a home, it often leads to employment and better health.

More information: Homeless Outreach Team  |  VIDEO: An Option to End Homelessness

Equity

Income disparity in Marin is on the rise, negatively affecting quality of life and even life expectancy for those lower on the socioeconomic scale.  The County is dedicated to delivering services to the people who need the help the most.  Six County departments -- including the Marin Free Library, Parks and Open Space, Health and Human Services, Probation, Human Resources, and the County Administrator’s Office -- are part of a Countywide Pilot Program designed to increase fair inclusion and ensure individuals have access to the services that will support them. Efforts include increasing food parity, removing artificial barriers to job recruitment, promoting civil rights, and making open space preserves and parks more accessible to all.

More information: Racial Equity Alliance  |  VIDEO: A Conversation About Equity in the Community

Roads and Traffic

Along with public safety, road maintenance is one of the most basic and necessary components of local government service in any jurisdiction. With the rise of fuel efficient vehicles, State and Federal gas tax revenue has declined, yet vehicle miles traveled our roads has increased. This means the County must maximize resources to maintain our roads network. Over the next 3-5 years, the County is leveraging its road funding to get $31 million in federal grants for major road and bridge infrastructure improvements. In addition, the County is utilizing resources for local streets and roads through careful planning, innovative design, and the use of cost-effective paving technologies.

More information:  Deeper Dive  |  Traffic and Roads Information  |  Sir Francis Drake Blvd Project

Sea Level Rise and Climate Change

Scientists have proven that the environment is changing. Gradual sea level rise is already affecting lives throughout Marin, not just the waterfront communities. Marin can expect billions in financial losses as bay and ocean waters rise a predicted 3 feet by the year 2100 and overflow the existing levee structure.  The County recognizes that the slow-moving emergency needs to be addressed now and is aggressively promoting public education and adaptation measures.  In addition to addressing sea-level rise, the Marin County Climate Action Plan reduces greenhouse gas emissions and encourages all forms of sustainability, such as zero waste, energy efficiency, water-saving features and more.

More information: Climate Action Plan  |  VIDEO: Addressing the Risk of Sea Level Rise Together