Concord’s future looking a little more optimistic

CONCORD, CA—It is with cautious optimism that I say 2021 seems to be headed in the right direction.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down, we are now out of the regional shelter-in-place, schools have been given permission to open when they are ready with a safety plan and restaurants are back open for outdoor dining (Thank goodness for heat lamps!).

And thankfully, the COVID-19 vaccine is being widely distributed throughout Contra Costa County. More than 182,000 doses were administered as of Feb. 10. If you haven’t done so already and you are 65 or older, please sign up for a vaccine today at

The government has issued the second round of federal stimulus checks, and Congress is discussing a possible third round of stimulus to boost the economy even further.

Locally, we are not in as dire of a situation financially as we anticipated last summer. In June, the city was bracing for a loss of $13 million in general fund revenues. We cut our expenditures by $10 million, and we worked hard to support economic activity through a small business grant program and a shop local campaign over the holidays.

This month, we received a mid-year update from our finance team. They shared that our revenues were not hit as hard as anticipated, and we are now projecting a $9 million loss.

Fortunately, the city will not have to rely as much on our reserves as we initially thought – we’ll use $3 million instead of $8 million – and our staff is already working on the next two-year budget cycle.

Thanks to Concord voters, we will be able to incorporate Measure V funds into future years’ revenue base. Measure V is the one-cent sales tax voters passed in November. It goes into effect on April 1 and is expected to generate about $27 million annually for Concord. This equates to about $14 million in new revenue; Measure Q previously provided about $13 million annually.

The City Council has already indicated its desire to spend the funds on community priorities, including repairing roads and infrastructure, and investing in programs that serve our unhoused population and those struggling with mental health.

On that note, I am proud to announce that the council recently committed to investing more than $560,000 to pilot the expansion of two successful programs.

First, we will expand the Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement (CORE) team’s work in Concord. The CORE team consists of two outreach staff who work to locate, engage, stabilize and house individuals who are unsheltered. Instead of having them work two days per week in Concord, they will now shift to full-time, assisting our community five days a week.

The second pilot program is the establishment of a Concord-based Mental Health Evaluation Team, known as MHET. It involves partnering a county mental health specialist with a city police officer. The two work proactively to provide referrals to outpatient mental health services and other resources to help individuals remain in the community safely.

Our goal is to begin both of these pilots in March.

On Feb. 20, the City Council will hold a goal-setting workshop to discuss other priorities for the year ahead, and on Feb. 22, I will join the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce for the annual State of the City address. You are invited to “attend” (virtually via Zoom) both events. If you miss the State of the City, it will be re-aired on Concord TV.

There is much work to be done over the year ahead to recover from the devastating effects of this pandemic, but I am looking forward to working with my colleagues, city staff, community partners and you. Together, we will continue to build a brighter future for Concord.

Mayor Tim McGallian can be reached at