For Immediate ReleaseMay 05, 2020
County requesting state to provide share of federal stimulus funds
San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin is actively lobbying the state and federal governments for fiscal relief as costs mount for urgent COVID-19 community needs. Counties are grappling with the combined impact of significantly increased costs to respond to the pandemic and reduced revenues because of the economic downturn.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act distributed $150 billion to state and large local governments, with California receiving $15.3 billion. Approximately $5.8 billion already has been allocated directly to large cities or counties with more than 500,000 residents. But jurisdictions with fewer people, like Marin, have not received any of that funding.
The County is working with its state and federal delegations and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to pursue funds for the two-thirds of California counties that have not received funding despite their mandate to protect the public health of every resident. On May 1, the County sent letters to state Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Marc Levine to discuss funding resources from Sacramento. The County has also issued letters to the Governor.
By the end of May, the County is expected to spend nearly $8 million in unforeseen direct expenses related to the public health emergency. Over the past six weeks, the County has spent more than $2.6 million in direct costs related to its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activation and short-term housing solutions for many of the most vulnerable residents through the county. County staff estimates that will cost an additional $2.3 million through the end of May.
In addition, as part of its countywide medical surge preparation, the County is implementing an alternate care site that could support medical services for anywhere from 25 to 100 patients. The cost estimate for that work is up to another $3.1 million.
As a result of the COVID-19 emergency, the County is projecting a General Fund shortfall of $7 million to $11 million for 2020-21 just for COVID-19 expenditures without an infusion of stimulus funds. Including revenue losses, the shortfall will increase to over $50 million by 2024.
“While we have had tremendous success locally and regionally in ‘flattening the curve,’ it has also been at tremendous local cost,” said Board of Supervisors President Katie Rice. “Early and unprecedented effort has saved many lives, but the County has shouldered an unsustainable burden with its mandate to protect the health of the public at large.”
Budget Manager Bret Uppendahl told the Supervisors on April 28 that he will need to review the Governor’s May Budget Revision in mid-May. That information, and seeing how shelter-in-place restrictions are gradually lifted, will allow staff to make final decisions on a balanced 2020-21 budget. Uppendahl will present a proposed budget to the Board in June.
Unlike the federal government, which is allowed to operate at a deficit, the County must adopt a balanced budget this June. In June 2019, the Board approved a $474 million General Fund budget and $631 million all-funds budget for 2019-2020.
“California counties are on the front line responding to the COVID-19 crisis and need these federal stimulus funds to provide critical services to our residents,” said Assistant County Administrator Dan Eilerman. “We’re urging our State Legislative delegation to work with the Governor to include funding to smaller counties as part of the May Revise budget so we can avoid making significant budget cuts just when our community needs us the most.”
Daniel EilermanAssistant County AdministratorCounty Administrator's Office
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 325San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7364Email: Daniel EilermanCounty Administrator website