Coalition Hosts Community Forum on Health Services and EHS Department Budgets

February 28, 2019


The County Budget: Its Impact on You and Your Community

December 5, 2018 Workshop in Concord


The basics of county budgeting


Anna Roth & Kathy Gallagher

with Coalition Coordinator Dan Geiger, at “A Conversation about Budgets”

On February 28th, Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth and Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher engaged in a conversation with more than 50 community and service provider representatives at an event sponsored by the Budget Justice Coalition.

Directors Roth and Gallagher presented a high-level overview of their respective values, priorities, budgeting process and major budget components, which can be downloaded below. They also answered questions in a discussion moderated by Coaltion Coordinator Dan Geiger.

About 50 people attended a public workshop on December 5, 2018 on the basics of the County budget. We also took a closer look at funding for services for the homeless and how affordable housing gets developed and funded. Speakers included:

  • Supervisor Candace Andersen

  • Dan Geiger, Budget Justice Coalition Coordinator

  • Lavonna Martin, Director of Health, Housing and Homeless Services

  • Kristen Lackey, Affordable Housing Program Manager, Department of Conservation and Development

  • Nikki Beasely, Executive Director, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services (moderator)

The Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition held  two workshops to delve into the structure and process of county budgeting, identify characteristics of Contra Costa’s budget, and explore “values-based budgeting” best practices.  We learned about initiatives in other counties and explored next steps and strategies in our budget education and advocacy efforts.  This powerpoint presents an overview of basic county budgeting practices and highlights several case studies of community engagement strategies.



Budget advocacy

Margaret Brodkin, founder of Funding the Next Generation, the nation’s only initiative fighting for local public funding measures for services to children, youth and their families, has shared a presentation that provides an overview on budget advocacy strategies and tactics.


Community survey


2018 Investment Priorities

The Coalition conducted a preliminary survey of community organizations. It received 440 responses within a four-day period, demonstrating a high level of interest among community stakeholders.  High-level findings include:

Top identified county budget priorities for 2018:

  • Housing (81%)

  • Health care for low-income residents (71%)

  • Children and youth services (71%)

  • Mental/behavioral health (66%)

The four core values that should guide county budget decisions:

  • Meeting basic needs

  • Investing in prevention

  • Promoting equality of opportunity

  • Promoting racial equity

Budget process & transparency:

  • 71% of respondents said they do not understand the county’s budgeting process

  • 80% said it is very important to make the budgeting process more transparent, inclusive and timely