County Considers Using Reserves for Uninsured
San Mateo County supervisors will hold budget hearings next week before voting on whether to adopt a fiscal year 2006-2007 budget that would use $100 million in reserves to fund medical care, road projects and fire services, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
The $1.6 billion proposed budget is a 4% increase over the current budget. Most of that increase will be used to pay the salaries of new county workers, including 42 positions created for mental health services under Proposition 63. The proposition was approved by voters in 2004 to fund mental health care.
The reserves will be used in part to subsidize San Mateo Medical Center, as the latest budget projection estimates that the annual cost of treating uninsured patients has increased by $14 million to nearly $70 million (Carpenter, San Francisco Examiner, 6/23).