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Let’s Fix the MHSA Plan & Budget Cycle – Public Comment

Thank you Chair Stewart, Chair Fletcher, BHAB Members, county staff, providers, and guests.

I am speaking to an item being presented later, the county Chief Administrative Office’s (CAO) draft ‘2022-23 Recommended Budget, released just hours ago.

Although you may not have had the time to read the 11-page BHS summary of metrics, targets, and plans to spend nearly $900m, you should understand the context of the CAO’s Recommended Budget and a plan more specific to your work in the BHS’s MHSA Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan.

While the CAO’s Recommended Budget outlines how we’ll spend over $7.1 billion next Fiscal Year, including almost $900m for the BHS department, the MHSA Three-Year Plan is BHS’s plan on how they will spend the approximate $225m in MHSA revenues.

The challenge is, if tradition holds, neither you, nor stakeholders will see the actual BHS 3-Year Plan until around September, after we’ve already spent about a quarter of the annual budget you’re looking at today.

So, I ask you:

  1. Wouldn’t it make sense, that opportunities for stakeholder evaluation, planning, and engagement, be conducted from December to February so that stakeholders can meaningfully contribute to the MHSA Three-Year Plan on a more informed basis?
  2. If you believe this should be the case, and to help you yourselves contribute on a more informed basis, how will you address changing the planning, engagement, and budgeting processes we, both BHS and BHAB, take to focus those funds where they are most needed?
  3. We have all seen that this knowledge alone will not change anything. If you believe the MHSA Three-Year Plan should be developed and budgeted before the Board of Supervisors reach out to the greater county during their Spring Budget Cycle engagement process and approve the final county budget, what meaningful steps will you take to facilitate that change?

Thank you.

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