County supervisors approve 2017-2018 budget

06/29/2017

Sea-level rise planning, mental-health services and road repairs are a few of the highlights in the county’s 2017–2018 budget. The Board of Supervisors adopted the $555 million budget last week, the second year of a two-year budget that Supervisor Dennis Rodoni called “a relatively conservative budget that’s balanced and well managed.” It’s a 2.6 percent increase from last year, and includes five one-time expenses worth $5.5 million: $3 million for repairing roads damaged by the winter storms, $1.6 million to renovate the Tomales fire station, $450,000 to support a medical cannabis dispensary system, $375,000 to reinforce the BayWAVE sea-level rise assessment and $100,000 to replace the library’s FLAGship bus, which brings books and early literacy programs throughout Marin. In an effort to bolster mental-health services, supervisors approved $505,000 for a two-year pilot program implementing Assembly Bill 1421, commonly known as Laura’s Law, which allows a judge to order a person with severe and untreated mental illness to adhere to a mental-health treatment plan. Supervisor Rodoni provided the majority when the board voted in favor of adopting the law and is pleased to see the program underway. “It was an early success that I was able to take part in,” he said. Health and Human Services will be developing the program over the next 10 to 12 months, and the budget will allow the county to hire three new employees to run it. Supervisor Rodoni is also excited that $150,000 would be put toward funding MCE’s Deep Green renewable energy program for all county government accounts, an effort that aims to reduce the county’s carbon emissions by over 2,270 tons before 2020. The budget specifically supports a few projects and groups in West Marin; it allocates $3 million toward remodeling the West Marin Service Center—Health and Human Services’ outpost—as well as $85,000 to the sheriff’s substation for building improvements and $2.7 million in projected tax revenue for the Marin County Farmland Preservation Program, which provides grants to organizations such as the Marin Agriculture Land Trust to assist in the acquisition of conservation easements. Six months into his first term, Supervisor Rodoni said working on the budget was a learning experience. “There are hundreds of ways money comes in and hundreds of ways it comes out,” he said. 

This article was corrected on July 6.