The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, at its Dec. 8 meeting, approved the recommended budget priorities to be used in the development of the FY 2022-23 budget.
The recommended priorities for the use of General Fund discretionary funds in the FY 2022-23 budget are:
- Complying with the County’s legal, financial, regulatory and policy obligations, including providing mandated services, ensuring collection of revenues, and complying with the General Reserves policy.
- Maintaining existing service levels budgeted for County programs, improving effectiveness and efficiency where possible and limiting the extent to which reductions in categorical revenue are backfilled with discretionary resources.
- Funding new or enhanced programs that focus on the most critical and urgent needs, with the following priority focus areas identified in a survey of County residents:
- A Countywide focus area of addressing homelessness and its impacts, including housing, mental health and substance use
- An unincorporated focus area of improving the condition of streets and roads
In order to inform the development of survey questions, County departments conducted outreach with the County’s Advisory Boards and Commissions. All told, 59 boards and commissions provided responses, with key themes including affordable housing, homelessness, health and human services, safety, and parks and road infrastructure.
After a competitive bid process, the Board approved a contract award to FM3 Research (FM3) to develop a survey instrument and administer the public opinion survey.
FM3 conducted the survey of adult residents of Sacramento County from Oct. 27 through Nov. 8, 2021. Surveys were conducted through telephone and online interviews with 1,153 respondents, compared to the target of 800 respondents, with a margin of sampling error of ±3.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The survey was available in 10 languages, including English.
Of the 1,153 respondents surveyed, residents were drawn from communities in proportion to the population, represented the County’s adult population demographics by age and gender, and came from a mix of educational backgrounds and household income.
More than half of the respondents identified with a race or ethnicity other than white, and more than one-quarter indicated they speak a language other than English at home regularly.
More than two in five respondents personally experienced homelessness or knew someone who had, and more than half have lived in the County for more than 20 years.
Survey results highlights include:
County Context: The top concern the survey respondents want the County to address, by far, is homelessness. Of the respondents identified, 53 percent reported homelessness as the most important problem. The second and third categories, affordable housing/rent and crime/public safety/drugs/violence, were far behind at 13 percent each.
Roads/infrastructure was the fourth category at 8 percent, and COVID-19/pandemic/mandates was fifth at 7 percent.
Homelessness and housing costs are the top issues across racial and ethnic groups, and street and road conditions are especially concerning for residents in District 3.
In homes where a language other than English is spoken, jobs are a slightly bigger concern.
Resident Priorities for County Budget: Low levels of homelessness and crime, child abuse prevention and reliable water are seen as key to quality of life. Residents also strongly value affordable housing and disaster preparation.
Residents were broadly satisfied with waste disposal, clean water, parks and libraries. A majority of residents were dissatisfied with maintenance of County streets and roads.
Fully four in five residents are dissatisfied with the County’s efforts to prevent homelessness, and a number of key items that are more important to quality of life also have lower satisfaction ratings, including affordable housing, mental health services, child abuse prevention, job creation, planning for growth and drug use treatment.
Allocating the County Budget: Residents were asked to imagine they are in charge of the Sacramento County budget, and were asked how they would prioritize County spending in six broad areas.
On average, residents allocated more funding to public safety and homelessness than other areas. Residents in Districts 3, 4 and 5 assigned more of their funding to public safety, and white and Latino residents assigned greater shares to public safety as well.
Notably, those with and without ties to homelessness assign about the same amount to that priority.