SANTA ROSA, CA – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to adopt a $2 billion budget for 2021-22 that makes investments in critical areas such as emergency response, vegetation management, COVID-19 recovery and the County’s pension liability.
 
    The Board committed to maintain a steady reserve of 9.5 percent of revenue and invested in tourism promotion as the County looks toward a robust recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
    The supervisors used a significant portion of their limited discretionary funds to address the threat of future wildfires as the County continues to recover and rebuild from fires that have occurred over the past four years. The budget includes $3.5 million in new funding to support fire services and $2.5 million to remove hazardous trees. Another $3 million in discretionary funding was invested to improve the County’s immediate response to disasters.
 
    “Here in Sonoma County, we have proven to be resilient in the way that we respond to and recover from adversity,” said Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “This budget makes us even more resilient. We are anticipating future challenges and making the investments to stay out in front, providing the tools to keep Sonoma County safe and thriving.”
 
    The County’s $2 billion budget is primarily made up of state and federal funding and other revenues that are designated for specific programs that provide a range of services for residents through the County’s 25 different departments. Discretionary revenue makes up only about $350 million of the total. Overall, staff positions will increase during the fiscal year beginning July 1 by a net of 12 for a total workforce of 4,159 employees.
 
    The 2021-22 spending plan approved by the Board after three days of deliberations this week includes:
  • $5 million in investment in Strategic Plan priorities
  • $2 million investment in non-congregate shelters and safe parking for homeless individuals
  • $3.75 million to pay down unfunded pension liabilities
  • $5.85 million for a new County Center project
  • $1.8 million to fund upgrades to Veterans Buildings
  • $350,000 for visitor centers and chambers of commerce to help with economic recovery
  • $350,000 investment in septic infrastructure
  • $140,000 to move the County’s archives out of the Los Guilicos site
 
    The adopted budget also includes $88 million related to COVID-19 response, and a $10 million investment in climate resiliency from PG&E settlement funds.
 
    The Board adopted the budget after three days of hearings this week. The process was altered last year, with budget approval not occurring until September, because of a delay in finalizing the state budget due to COVID-19.
 
    “Over the last three and a half years, Sonoma County has experienced a lifetime worth of disaster and disruption,” said County Administrator Sheryl Bratton. “This past year, with pandemic and fire, has tried us as much as any. Yet we emerge from it with hope, ready to move forward and embrace new challenges. Our County’s finances have stabilized. We can see a return to normality from our COVID-disrupted lives. We are ready to embrace the future. And we enter fiscal year 2021-22 with a clear vision of how we will not just embrace, but build that future.”
 
    For more detailed information about the Sonoma County 2021-22 budget, go to sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Public-Reports/Budget-Reports/