County of Santa Cruz
County of Santa Cruz

The County of Santa Cruz has released its 2023-24 Proposed Budget and interactive website, giving residents unprecedented digital access to County spending and revenue forecasts, line-item details and insight into how the budget connects to ongoing strategic priorities.

The $1.1 billion Proposed Budget includes a $731.2 million General Fund and reflects slowing revenue growth while preserving support for community priorities despite significant uncertainties in local, state and national financial forecasts.

Despite challenges including financing the most recent storm disasters, the Proposed Budget supports several community investments, including continued build-out of a new South County Government Center, development of a new Children’s Crisis Stabilization Center, a Unified Permit Center, a new countywide emergency alert system, planning for the continuation of the Rail Trail, fully reopening the Simpkins Family Swim Center, design of a new Freedom Campus Health Care Center, completion of the Live Oak Library Annex and Aptos Library, a Master Plan on Aging, increases in inmate medical and behavioral health care, and completion of a new DNA laboratory to reduce case processing times.

However, the County faces significant headwinds when it comes to providing future services, with a projected budget deficit exceeding $10 million by 2028. County revenues are projected to grow just 0.4% in 2023-24, reflecting a slowing economy, changes in retail shopping patterns and reduced cannabis business taxes.

The slowdown comes in addition to longstanding structural issues that limit services the County can provide to the community. Despite a much higher share of residents living in unincorporated areas than other counties, the County collects just 13 cents out of every property tax dollar, far less than peer counties. While the County collects approximately $500 annually in per capita property taxes, some counties collect eight times that amount, or nearly $4,000.

Furthermore, the County collects just 5.4% in sales taxes from online sales, compared to nearly 20% of sales taxes from local retailers. Climate change, in the form of ongoing increased costs for disaster response, and unfunded mandates such as the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, continue to weigh on County finances.

The Board of Supervisors has scheduled a budget hearing to review the 2023-24 Proposed Budget on Tuesday, June 13, at 1:30pm in the Board Chambers, 701 Ocean St., 5th Floor, in Santa Cruz.

To learn more, visit the website

Previous articleNews Briefs | Published June 9, 2023
Next articleRedwood Mountain Faire brings good vibes to San Lorenzo Valley
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here