A new link on the Montgomery County homepage makes it even easier for residents to provide comments and ideas on government restructuring, cost savings and other thoughts about closing the County’s projected $300 million budget gap for the coming fiscal year (FY). The idea for the link, which connects to a budget response form, came from Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal.
Resident feedback will be used by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, as he prepares his recommended operating budget, which will be presented to the County Council on March 15, and the Montgomery County Council during its budget deliberations.
“Especially this year, public input is critical in the process of developing the FY 2012 operating budget,” said Leggett. “Over the last four years, we have closed $2.2 billion in budget shortfalls. With another $300 million budget gap looming next year, we are faced with making painful decisions that will affect every County resident’s services. We need to hear from the public about their priorities as we finalize our decisions on closing the shortfall.”
The County Executive held five budget forums in January throughout the County and the County Council is holding a series of Town Hall meetings to hear directly from residents about their suggestions.
“This year the County Council will get back to basics, focus on disciplined governing, and implement long-term structural changes to preserve our quality of life,” said Council President Valerie Ervin. “We need input from our residents as we formulate the Fiscal Year 2012 operating budget which promises to be one of the most challenging budgets we have tackled in years. Through this new web function, we are hoping to make it easier for our residents to contact us with their thoughts and suggestions.”
“This new web page will provide the public with easy access to decision makers, and I hope my constituents will take advantage of it and share their suggestions with us,” said Leventhal. “We know that we need to bring our expenditures in line with our revenues, and that will be very, very difficult. The Office of Legislative Oversight and the Organizational Reform Commission have offered many constructive proposals, but I believe there are other good ideas out there. All County employees will need to make sacrifices, but we owe it to ourselves, to our employees and to the public to wring every possible redundancy and inefficiency out of the budget before we start reducing pay and benefits.”
The County Council approves the FY 2012 budget in May. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
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