Potomac: Leggett Proposes $5.1 Billion County Budget

Potomac: Leggett Proposes $5.1 Billion County Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett this week released his Recommended FY16 Operating Budget of $5.1 billion for the year that begins on July 1, 2015. The proposed budget increases county government tax-supported spending by 1.1 percent while cutting the county property tax rate by about one cent. The balanced budget closes an estimated $238 million gap.

Among the highlights:

  • A tax-supported county government budget of $1,405,714,273, a 1.1 percent increase over this year. A total county budget of $5,067,834,958 – a $72.1 million, or 1.4 percent, overall increase.

  • Funding for the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) of $2.2 billion – the Maintenance of Effort level required by State law. That represents a $30.7 million increase over last year, or 1.4 percent and is nearly 98 percent of the Board of Education’s request. The county executive’s budget also includes $27.2 million for future health care and retirement benefits for MCPS that makes that same amount available for funding for MCPS programs in FY16;

  • Reduces the property tax rate by 0.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation (from 99.6 cents to 98.7 cents). The average county residence, valued at $455,600, would pay $3,805 in FY16 — an increase of $15 for the year;

  • Increases staffing at the Department of Permitting Services to guarantee 30-day turnaround for permitting on ready projects, a continuation of the County Executive’s business-friendly streamlining initiative;

  • Reduces Solid Waste fees by 4 percent across-the-board for families and businesses;

  • Increases funding for Developmental Disability programs by $1 million;

  • Provides $43.9 million for affordable housing creation and preservation:

  • Adds $7 million in funding for senior housing projects in Silver Spring and Glenmont;

  • Increases funding for the Department of Public Libraries by 5 percent – mostly in increased materials;

  • Funds body cameras and new bulletproof vests for County Police;

  • Provides a $3 million increase in the county contribution for Montgomery College, a 2.6 percent increase that represents 98 percent of the college’s request.

  • Provides a $1.8 million increase for the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, a 1.5 percent increase and 96 percent of the agency’s tax-supported request;

  • Increases funding for county cybersecurity business efforts;

  • Provides a two percent wage increase for county employees;

  • Keeps the county on target to attain a 10 percent county reserve fund by 2020;

  • Maintains funding for the mandated level of funding to pay for future county retiree health benefits.