Budget Overview

Each year, the County Executive recommends, and the Board of Supervisors adopts, a budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st.  That budget authorizes a certain level of spending and staffing for each of the many departments and programs in the County’s General Fund and 126 other funds and includes an estimate of the amount of revenue and other resources that will be available to fund the authorized spending level. 

The Fiscal Year 2015-16 All-funds Budget – adopted by the Board on September 22, 2015 - totals $3.8 billion, an $115.4 million, or 3.1%, increase compared to the prior year Adopted Budget.  More than 70% of All-funds Budget revenue comes from the state and federal governments and revenue from fees and charges for service (like water use charges and building inspection fees).  The following table shows the Fiscal Year 2015-16 Adopted All-funds Budget by major fund or fund group.

Fiscal Year 2015-16 Adopted Budget  
All County Funds 

FY 2015-16 Adopted Requirements

General Fund2,325,086,304
Economic Development62,054,685
Environmental Management21,779,362
Golf Fund7,886,003
Transient Occupancy Tax110,861
Water Resources172,773,661
Airport System247,094,317
Waste Management and Recycling96,226,393
Capital Projects Funds40,869,154
Debt Service Funds38,144,874
Other Special Revenue Funds49,678,545
Other Enterprise Funds4,435,703
Other Internal Service Funds375,259,252
Other Special Districts and Agencies221,298,172
Total 3,838,099,222

Funding for most County operating departments is included in the General Fund Budget.  The Fiscal Year 2015-16 Adopted General Fund Budget totals $2.3 billion, which is a $120.4 million, or 5.5%, increase compared to the prior year's Adopted General Fund Budget.  The following table shows Fiscal Year 2015-16 General Fund appropriations by functional area.


Almost 75% of General Fund revenue comes from the state and federal governments and fee revenue (and is earmarked for certain purposes), but approximately 25% is discretionary revenue that comes from things like local property, sales and real property transfer taxes.  Discretionary resources (including discretionary revenue and reimbursements and the General Fund available fund balance) is money the Board of Supervisors can allocate at its discretion to help address local priorities.  Discretionary resources allocated to a department or program is referred to as that department’s Net County Cost.

The Fiscal Year 2015-16 Adopted General Fund Budget includes $563.3 million in discretionary revenue and reimbursements, an increase of $42.7 million, or 8.2%, compared to the amount included in the prior year’s Adopted Budget.  Fiscal Year 2015-16 budgeted Net County Cost totals approximately $591.5 million, a $31.7 million, or 5.7%, increase compared to the prior fiscal year’s budgeted Net County Cost level.  The difference between budgeted discretionary resources and reimbursements and Net County Cost – approximately $28.1 million - is covered by the General Fund’s available, or unreserved, fund balance – that is, money not spent in the prior year and not reserved for a particular purpose that carries over into the next fiscal year.  The following table shows the allocation of Net County Cost by functional area in the Fiscal Year 2015-16 Adopted Budget.


Forty-four General Fund departments or programs receive a Net County Cost allocation.  The five departments or programs with the largest Net County Cost are:

  • The Sheriff
  • Probation
  • District Attorney      
  • Correctional Health Services
  • Human Assistance-Aid Payments

Together, these departments receive over 64% of the discretionary resources allocated to all County departments.  Approximately 59% of the Fiscal Year 2015-16 increase in Net County Cost also went to these five departments or programs.