Council Reaches Tentative $4.6 Billion Budget Agreement
The operating budget for fiscal year 2013 is set to be formally adopted on May 24.
The Montgomery County Council tentatively agreed Thursday on a $4.6-billion county operating budget for fiscal 2013. The budget, along with a construction spending plan through fiscal year 2018, is set for formal approval May 24.
“Our priorities have been, and will continue to be, our world-class school system, public safety, safety net service and growing our economy. This budget reflects that,” Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist 1) said in a statement.
The plan is based on a $4.57-billion budget proposed in March by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), which included a $200-million spending boost and increased funding for police, firefighters, libraries and youth programs.
Council members reached the budget agreement unanimously.
The operating budget funds the county school system and Montgomery College at state-mandated maintenance of effort levels, The Gazette reported. It also grants county employees a one-time bonus and restores positions, including 58 in the county police department and 15 in the library system, according to The Gazette.
The plan bolsters spending for the county's Health and Human Services programs and increases library funding by $2.9 million, The Gazette added. It would also, however, increase parking rates and property taxes, The Washington Post reported. Under the plan, the owner of a $250,000 property would see their tax bill jump by about $18 a year, according to The Post. The cost of a monthly Ride On bus pass would increase from $40 to $45, The Post reported.
The plan includes revenue from a controversial energy tax and ambulance fees. Under the energy tax, residents would pay about $140 more a year, while businesses would pay about $1,360 more annually, The Post reported. The energy tax, however, would be decreased by 10 percent from the levels proposed by Leggett.
The budget increases county spending 5.6 percent over the fiscal 2012 budget, according to a county statement.