County Measure X funds mental health, social justice – even pet services

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Jan. 29, 2024) — In November 2020, Contra Costa County residents passed a countywide 20-year, half-cent sales tax, Measure X.

This tax is dedicated to “keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staffed; fund community health centers and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential county services.”

The county began collecting the tax on April 1, 2021. As of September 2023, we’ve collected a total of $298.5 million.

Measure X has allowed the Board of Supervisors to develop, expand, and maintain a greater equity of services and outcomes for all residents while addressing some of the gaps and disparities in our county’s health care, social services, housing and public safety.

We’ve used Measure X funds for several crucial programs and projects, including the A3 (Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime) Crisis Response, adding 3,000 sq. ft. to Psychiatric Emergency Services at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, funding the county’s newest department – the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice, developing a family navigator program, creating a Housing Trust Fund and expanding fire services in East County.

We typically allot these funds through the county’s budgeting process. However, this fall, there were funds unallocated: more than $33 million in one-time funds and $4.7 million in ongoing revenue. The board received status reports on previous allocations, new department proposals and recommendations from the Measure X Community Advisory Board.

Funding new projects

On Dec. 12, the board approved $4,493,000 in one-time funds to be allocated. That included $50,000 for the Clerk-Recorder/Elections’ Mapping Prejudice Project, which will identify, map and redact illegal, restrictive local covenants related to race. Other funded projects are the development of a third youth center, expanding services in East County and developing the African American Holistic Wellness Hub.

I proposed and my colleagues supported $750,000 over three years to Contra Costa Animal Services to develop a spay and neuter clinic/pet retention program. After hearing from many advocates, this funding will improve the welfare of animals across the county.

The board also allocated $4,700,000 in ongoing funds. The $400,000 for the Clerk-Recorder/ Elections’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Democracy Initiative will add two bilingual DEI specialist positions to increase voter education, engagement and turnout. We also approved $1.1 million for a San Ramon Valley Fire Training Facility.

We allocated the rest of the ongoing funds for multiple issues. These include mental health services, food insecurity and building new parks in the unincorporated county. This helps ensure all residents have equitable access to open space.

These new allocations focus on DEI, improving county services and enhancing the quality of life equitably. I encourage you to follow the Measure X projects and programs as they develop and expand.

To learn more about Measure X, visit

Ken Carlson is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Carlson at or call his office at 925-655-2350.