Grand jury wants budget analysis


A report by the Marin County Civil Grand Jury found that creating an office of independent budget and legislative analysis could improve county finances and better serve residents. The jury found that while Marin was in better shape than most other counties nationwide, the Marin’s most important recent decisions were driven solely by economics. Staff had been reduced, departments were combined, and costs were cut wherever possible. The jury emphasized that while that approach may work well for a corporate bottom line, financially driven decision-making does not always align itself with citizens’ best interests. The jury found that creating a formalized, independent body to review existing and proposed activities, observe and make recommendations would foster greater public understanding of relevant issues, challenge the board of supervisors to justify its budgetary decisions, and enhance trust between citizens and public institutions. The jury recommended that supervisors create an independent office to analyze the county’s annual budget presentations, evaluate long and short-term fiscal impacts of legislative actions, and evaluate county actions.