MARTINEZ — Contra Costa County supervisors got mixed news Tuesday about the proposed 2017-18 general fund budget, which in a draft form would go up 6.3 percent next year to about $1.56 billion.

The good news — county revenues have been up by 6 percent over the previous year; the state budget is “reasonably balanced,” County Administrator David Twa told supervisors Tuesday; and the Affordable Care Act is still in place, at least for now, offering some health care funding stability.

That the Affordable Care Act could change significantly, or even go away, is a cause of concern for the next year, as the county is a key purveyor of that care (one of every eight county residents is covered, county Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said Tuesday). Other possible problems on the horizon include how much the Trump Administration will ultimately cut grant funds to states, much of which is passed down to counties; and fronting money to fix this winter’s landslides and other storm damages while awaiting federal reimbursement. That, Twa said, could take years.

Already taking years has been the recovery from the Great Recession, which hit its low point in 2008. The Sheriff’s Office lost 100 positions in the 2011 budget, and has brought back about 40 since then, Undersheriff Mike Casten said Tuesday.

The supervisors heard Tuesday from several critics of its Feb. 7 approval of a $95 million plan to expand the West County Detention Facility. Some of them speaking in Spanish and using a translator, they told the supervisors that money would be better used on programs like Contra Costa CARES, which provides health care for uninsured people not covered by the Affordable Care Act; or for a proposed new program, the Contra Costa County Immigrant and Legal Partnership, which (among other functions) would defend county residents fighting deportation …read more

Source:: East Bay – Politics

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