Fiscal Year 2020-21 Recommended Budget

As leaders at all levels of government contemplate how to navigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no blueprint that will tell us how to address the challenges Santa Clara County will face in the next few years. As the County began the process to develop the FY 2021 Recommended Budget, we recognized that the economic expansion we have enjoyed for eight years was coming to an end. From FY 12-13 thru FY 19-20 the County budget has increased by 96% from $4.2 billion to $8.2 billion, and staff has increased by 37% from 15,338 to 21,085. We have been able to expand and improve our health system, increase services to a wide variety of client groups and from an overall perspective, strengthen our community's safety net. Our expectation was that we were approaching a period where revenue growth would slow and the cost of delivering a unit of service would continue to rise, creating a challenging but manageable set of circumstances. The impact of the pandemic has now thrust us into a recession deeper than what we faced in 2008-2009. The speed and timing of these events have created a scenario that is unprecedented and truly daunting. Our general fund deficit originally estimated to be around $100 million has now swelled to $300 million, largely the result of the COVID-19-related closing of our economy. The timing of the pandemic and magnitude of the impact has not provided adequate time to develop thoughtful recommendations to balance the FY 20-21 budget with ongoing actions.
The Strategy to Balance the FY 2021 Recommended Budget
After careful consideration, the budget being put forward for your review is a truly stopgap product intended to provide the necessary time to begin the process of how we can re-think/downsize the organization. At this point in time, we are still determining what resources will be available moving forward. It is likely the "discovery" process will take place during the entirety of FY 20-21. The County will need to be scheduling iterative budget sessions throughout the year as new information becomes available and we take actions to maintain our financial health throughout FY 20-21.
For more information, please visit FY20-21 Recommended Budget.


For the FY 20-21 budget, the County anticipates $7.8 billion in revenues.  Of these, the majority are within the Health and Hospital System (47%) and Finance and Government Operations (33%).  Below is an interactive dashboard where residents can view revenues by budget unit, board policy area, fund level, and fund type.
*Revenue is the estimated amount of money the County earns and receives that can be used for the provisions of services.  It consists of residential and commercial property taxes, Federal and State aid, fees collected for services provided and other sources.


For the FY 20-21 budget, the County anticipates $8.3 billion in net expenditures.  The majority of expenditures are in the area of the Health and Hospital System (48%) and Finance and Government Operations (24%).  Below is an interactive dashboard where residents can view net expenditures by budget unit, board policy area, and fund level.
*Appropriation for expenditures is spending authority to the County departments to make payments for staff and the acquisition of goods and services used in the provision of services and the operation, or the transfer of funds to other organizations for public purposes.  Expenditures include payments made for salaries and benefits of staff, services and supplies, interest charges on debt incurred by the County, grants to other organizations, equipment, and facility improvements. Net Expenditure takes into account cost reimbursement from other budget units within the same fund.  Use of net expenditures avoids double counting of these costs.


The County is proud of our diverse workforce, consisting of 21,261 positions.   Of these, 46% of the positions are in the Health and Hospital System, 19% of the positions are in Public Safety and Justice, and 17% of the positions are in Finance and Government Operations.   Below is an interactive dashboard where residents can view positions by budget unit, board policy area, and fund level.
*Positions represent authorized jobs to be filled by County departments, each with specific duties and responsibilities that require the services of employees.  Position allocations are used for budgeting salaries and benefits.  They can be full-time or part-time and are measured on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis.