Marin County is about half way to meeting an estimated $16 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year after supervisors on Tuesday approved the elimination of 22 vacant positions.

The $7.8 million in approved cost reductions includes $3.2 million from public safety, $1.8 million from health and human services, $1.6 million from administrative services, and $1.1 million combined from Public Works, Community Development and other community services, the county said in a news release.

The budget deficit is largely attributed to sharp drops in local and state sales tax revenue predicted for fiscal 2021-22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the next five years, the shortfall was projected to be as much as $36.4 million if no adjustments were made,” the county said.

Supervisors will address the remaining $8.2 million in reductions still to be made when public budget workshops are held next spring.

“We saw the beginnings of an economic recovery over the past few months, but we still face a high degree of uncertainty due to the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the economy,” Budget Manager Bret Uppendahl said. “We will know more about pensions, property tax, and federal stimulus this spring.”

County Administrator Matthew Hymel called the cuts “a good first step,” adding, “but the choices will become tougher as we work to close the remaining gap.”