The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will receive its first report back from its Measure X community advisory board on Tuesday, concerning recommendations on how the county should spend its expected windfall of sales tax money -- at least $81 million annually over 20 years.
The advisory board is asking supervisors to approve $20,000 to contract for assistance in compiling the information and writing a formal needs assessment report. The matter would return to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 2.
Measure X -- a half-cent sales tax -- was approved by county voters in 2020. The money started accruing in April, the same month the county's advisory board began meeting.
The Board of Supervisors decided to give 95% of the decision-making concerning where the money goes to the 27-person advisory committee, chosen by the board.
The funds are intended to keep "Contra Costa's regional hospital open and staffed, fund community health centers, provide timely fire and emergency response, support critical safety-net services, invest in early childhood services, protect vulnerable populations, and for other essential services," according to the measure's wording.
A draft of the advisory board's report outlines five recommended funding priorities for Measure X funds in fiscal 2021-22.
The first goal is "mental well-being," It details grants for childhood mental health services, substance abuse treatment, greater mental health services for the Asian American Pacific Islander community, the LGBTQ community, and more medical response to mental health crises.
The second goal is titled "Equity in Action," and prioritizes equity and removing barriers that cause poverty. Its strategies include a county office of racial equity and social justice, more representation and case management for immigrant residents, more community and school-based arts programs, an innovation fund to facilitate service needs, and asylum support for LGBTQ individuals and immigrants.
Goal three is "Healthy Communities," included ranked strategies of expanding comprehensive health care for the uninsured, creating a local housing trust fund to fund things like tenant legal services and subsidized child care, and community-based food distribution and employment training.
The fourth goal is "Intergenerational Thriving," including strategies for more service for children with disabilities, more community-based youth centers, more community-based aging centers, a guaranteed income pilot program, a master plan on aging, community-based restorative justice and discretionary funds for child protective services and foster youth.
The fifth goal is "Welcoming & Safe Community," with the goal of creating a community where all residents feel safe and can get necessary emergency help, funding East County fire services, reopening closed fire stations creating public defender front-end advocacy teams, emphasizing wildfire mitigation, providing community-based reentry support services, more money for abuse prevention and support, rental assistance for immigrants, creating a Reimagine Public Safety initiative, better seasonal fire staffing, and a multi-cultural wellness center for Nepali/AAPI residents.
The report also includes alternative considerations and breaks down the activities of the group, including the operating principles under which it has worked, and how it assessed county needs.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 12), and can be seen at https://bit.ly/3As1isJ or by calling 888-251-2949, followed by access code 1672589#.