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County Council Tentatively Agrees on $4.6 Billion Total Operating Budget for FY13

The Montgomery County Council has unanimously reached tentative agreement on a $4.6 billion total County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2013 which reflects a 5.6%  increase over the approved  FY12 budget.

In summary, priorities cited are Schools, Montgomery College, Public Safety and a ‘Safety Net.’ Property taxes are below the Charter limit, and there is a $692 tax credit for homeowners.  Library funding and Police staffing are both increased, while the Energy Tax increase is reduced by 10%.

The Council is scheduled to formally adopt the FY13 operating budget and the Fiscal Years 2013-18 six-year Capital Improvements Program on May 24.

The budget becomes effective July 1.

See details on the budget.

Read Council President Berliner’s comments on the budget.

View President Berliner’s reaction on YouTube.

CATEGORIES: County Council , Budget
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 7:30:00 AM |

Leggett’s Recommended FY13 Operating Budget Addresses Highest Priorities with Fiscally Prudent Approach

The Recommended FY13 Operating Budget that County Executive Ike Leggett has sent to the County Council strategically restores some of the most critical and important services that were cut back dramatically over the past five years during a time of unprecedented budget challenges.  His approach to this budget attempts to balance the backlog of resident needs with the County’s new economic reality.  

Totaling $4.56 billion, the budget focuses on Leggett’s priorities to fully fund education, increase strategic investments in public safety and the safety net for the most vulnerable, and restore some hours for libraries and services for recreation centers, while maintaining his prudent policies that have put the County on the road to a sustainable economic future. 

The budget keeps property tax revenue at current levels by recommending a level below the Charter limit, increases reserves to the policy level of $300.2 million, allocates funding for PAYGO at 10 percent of planned general obligation bond issue and increases funding for retiree health benefits by $61 million to meet commitments for 2015 made to rating agencies.  

POSTED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |

Council President Berliner Responds to the Executive’s Budget

Responding to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s recommended Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget that was sent to the County Council on March 15, Council President Roger Berliner said:

 “The County Executive has submitted his Fiscal Year 2013 Recommended Operating Budget at a time when Montgomery County is slowly emerging from the deep hole brought about by the Great Recession. As we look ahead to this next fiscal year, our Council must bear in mind the steps we have taken to put ourselves on a sustainable path into the future as we make strategic restorations to County services that have sustained deep, deep cuts.

“I commend the County Executive and his staff for submitting a sound budget. It is an excellent framework for the Council as we enter budget deliberations and reflects our shared commitment to being careful stewards of our County’s resources. We will approach this year’s budget with cautious optimism and prudent judgment as we balance the wide array of County needs before us.”

POSTED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

Public Hearings Scheduled on FY13 Operating Budget

The County Council will hold a series of public hearings on the recommended FY13 Operating Budget from April 10 to 12 in the Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, in the 3rd floor Hearing Room according to the following schedule:

  • April 10 – 7 p.m.
  • Apr 11 and 12 -- 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. both days

Residents wishing to speak should call 240-777-7803 to sign up. Testimony also can be submitted via email at county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov, via regular mail to: County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville MD 20850, or by calling the Council’s budget hotline at 240-777-7802.

The Council must pass an Operating Budget for FY13 by June 1.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 1:00:00 AM |

Public Discussion on Recommended FY13 Operating Budget for Health and Human Services

The public is invited to attend a briefing on Monday, March 19 to discuss the County Executive’s FY 2013 Recommended Operating Budget for the Department of Health and Human Services. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Children’s Resource Center, 332 West Edmonston Dr. in Rockville. Free parking is available.

Department of Health and Human Services Director Uma Ahluwalia and senior leadership staff will brief attendees on the department’s portion of the recommended budget.

To request sign language interpreter services or other assistance to participate in this meeting, call Alma Laxa at 240-777-1211 (voice), 240-777-1295 (TTY) or email to alma.laxa@montgomerycountymd.gov by March 14.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |

Budget Input Invited

County Executive Ike Leggett will release his Recommended Operating Budget for FY 13 on March 15 at noon at the Executive Office Building lobby level auditorium in Rockville.

The County Executive and the Council need to know what County programs and services are most important to you and your family – and where County resources ought to go.
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 9:00:00 AM |


Council to Host Public Hearings on FY13 Capital Budget and CIP

Public hearings sponsored by the County Council on the FY13 Capital Budget and the FY13-18 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) will be held on February 7, 8, and 9 at 7 p.m. 

For information or to testify, call 240-777-7803.

New Website Makes Going Green Simpler for Residents 

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new website, MyGreenMontgomery.org, that simplifies achieving “green” goals by providing information linking residents with local, state, federal and private incentives. 

The website is an interactive community tool that will evolve to highlight new programs, resources and information, provide a forum for a community conversation, and allow users to ask questions and share success stories. 

Residents who want to get started on a basic green project, such as changing appliance settings to be more energy efficient or do a complete green makeover, can get guidance from the “Green Projects” section where projects are outlined in the following categories: Daily Choices, Energy, Lawn and Garden, Transportation and Water.  Each project is rated according to difficulty to implement, cost and green impact.  Project descriptions provide detailed information and resources, such as tips and “How-to” videos, to help users complete the project.  Users can also create a Green Plan and track their progress. 

Get more details.

New Local Shuttle Service to Germantown MARC Station

In order to ease commutes for Germantown MARC train passengers, the County’s Ride On bus system has partnered with the Maryland Transit Administration MARC Train to provide a new shuttle service to transport passengers during peak commuting times.

Ride On Route 94 will operate between the Kingsview Park and Ride Lot at Clopper Rd. (Maryland Rte. 117) and Kingsview Village Ave. and the Germantown MARC station.

Passengers using the new service will be dropped off and picked up immediately adjoining the train station.

Read more.

If It’s February, It Must Be…

Black History Month

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) celebrates Black History Month with free programs highlighting traditional West African culture, dance and storytelling.

Anansegromma of Ghana, featuring native Ghanaians Kofi Dennis and Kwame Ansah-Brew, will present a program of traditional music, storytelling and dance. The group performs “call and response” songs, games and drum rhythms on authentic instruments giving the audience first-hand exploration of West African cultural traditions.

With a calm, captivating voice and a drum, Baba Jamal Koram captures audiences of all ages, telling stories in the African American Griotic Traditions.

Check out the program schedule.

Lunar New Year

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is also celebrating the Lunar New Year with a variety of free programs marking the New Year 4709. Lunar New Year, which starts with the new moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later, began on January 23.

See the list of programs.

Library Lovers Month

Each year, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County designates February as Library Lovers Month to give residents a chance to recognize and express their appreciation for all that libraries and librarians do for the public year round.

Get more details about what you can do for Library Lovers Month at www.folmc.org.

Adopt-A-Shelter-Rabbit Month  

The Montgomery County Humane Society has dozens of rabbits waiting for homes at the shelter on Rothgeb Dr. in Rockville.

But before jumping on the bandwagon, take a minute to read some dos and don'ts about bunny care.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Budget
POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

Check Out What You Need to Know About the FY 2013 Operating Budget

On March 15, County Executive Ike Leggett will announce his Recommended Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget.

Meanwhile, residents can view a variety of information about the Operating Budget from a presentation that is given at each of the public Budget Forums around the County. Included are: the Executive’s goals and fiscal plan, the budget structure, charts on where the money comes from and where it goes, the FY13 fiscal outlook and community participation.

Take a look.

POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 8:00:00 AM |

Two Remaining FY13 Operating Budget Forums for Residents

Residents wanting to provide input about priorities for the Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget on a face-to-face basis, can attend one of the remaining forums -- both beginning at 7 p.m:

  • January 23 -- BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown
  • January 31 -- Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring

Sign language interpreter services will be provided only upon request, with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. If these or other services or aids are needed to participate in this activity, please call 240-777-6507, TTY 240-777-6505 or email a request to karen.falcon@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Community Forum , Budget
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 7:00:00 AM |

Leggett Unveils Proposed 2013 Capital Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett has introduced his Fiscal Year 2013 Capital Budget and six-year FY 2013-18 Capital Improvements Program that strikes a careful balance between meeting capital construction priorities and the continued need to put the County’s fiscal house in order.

View the proposed Capital Budget for FY13 and the FY 2013-18 CIP.

POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 5:00:00 AM |

FY2013 Budget Forums Scheduled; Resident Input Invited

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is sponsoring five budget forums throughout the County in January to seek input from residents about Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget priorities.

Residents are encouraged to attend the forums to provide input in light of budget shortfalls predicted in the coming fiscal year.

All of the forums are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., on the following dates:

  • January 9, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., 
  • January 12, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place;
  • January 17, Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring;
  • January 23, BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown; and
  • January 31, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring.

Sign language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. If these or other services or aids are needed to participate in this activity, call 240-777-6507, TTY 240-777-6505 or email a request to karen.falcon@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Community Forum , Budget
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

County Releases Priorities for 2012 General Assembly Session

The County government recently presented the following priorities for the 2012 Session to the members of the County’s delegation:

  • ensure that any changes to the State K-12 education statute will not prevent the County from meeting its statutory local funding requirement for FY 13 and beyond;
  • protect funding for energy assistance programs that an increasing number of lower income families in the County are relying on;
  • support a gas tax increase and other new, sustainable revenue sources that will result in the ability for the State to make substantial new investments to improve transportation infrastructure and restore Highway User and Ride On operating subsidy funds (see Appendix B for a listing of projects);
  • support the Montgomery County Public School’s public school construction request of $185 million which represents the State share of eligible project costs (see Appendix A for a listing of projects);
  • support a $1 million State grant to help underwrite the capital costs of the new Silver Spring Library;
  • support Montgomery College’s request for State funds to help underwrite the capital costs of the Germantown Science and Applied Studies Building ($2.7 million) and the Rockville Student Services Center ($5.4 million);
  • support funding for and strategic growth at the Universities at Shady Grove; and
  • support an increase in the Bay Restoration fee but restrict the use of the revenues to existing obligations.

For more information, view the complete power point presentation.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:22:00 PM |

Leggett’s Recommended Operating Budget Closes $300 Million Gap

 Hard Choices Made Include Significant Reductions in Employee Staffing and Compensation, plus Cuts in Programs and Services; No Property Tax Increase Beyond Charter Limit

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced his recommended $4.35 billion operating budget that closes a $300 million gap for fiscal year (FY) 2012 that begins July.

Leggett’s budget focuses on protecting essential services and his priorities of education, public safety and the safety net for the most vulnerable, but includes significant reductions in services, staffing levels and employee compensation to address the County’s long-term structural budget challenge. The only major County department seeing any increase is the Police Department.

The budget includes no reductions in County transit routes and no reductions to senior transportation and nutrition programs. Library operating hours and materials costs were maintained. All County recreation centers remain open, and ambulance service levels were maintained. There are no reductions in Police Department specialty units, and County after-school Sports Academies and Recreation Extra programs continue at their current levels.

In addition to the Montgomery County government budget, the overall recommendations include:

  • Maintaining local funding for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) at the same level as the current year -- $1.415 billion. This represents a reduction of $82 million, equaling 96 percent of the Board of Education’s request. Overall, with increased state and federal funding, the MCPS budget increases by $67.7 million, a 3.5 percent rise;
  • Increasing the total County budget (all agencies, all tax-supported and non-tax-supported funds and debt service) of $76.5 million from the FY11 approved budget, a 1.8 percent increase;
  • Increasing the overall tax-supported budget for all County agencies (including debt service) of $111.9 million, a 3.1 percent increase;
  • Funding increases for Montgomery College of $1.5 million, a 0.7 percent increase; and
  • Funding reductions for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) of $1.7 million, a 1.8 percent decrease.

Among County government departments and initiatives, the largest reductions from FY11 levels include Community Grants (26% less), the Arts and Humanities Council (24 %), Housing and Community Affairs (15%), General Services (11%), County Attorney’s Office (11%) and Public Libraries (10%).

Some services proposed to be eliminated or significantly impacted:

  • Public Libraries -- staffing would be reduced in a number of libraries including Silver Spring, Twinbrook, Chevy Chase and Long Branch. Information Service staff would be eliminated on Sundays, although Virtual Services would remain available;
  • Recreation -- most youth sports programs would be eliminated, as well as teen special events;
  • The Office of Commission for Women, Office of Human Rights and the Regional Services Centers will be consolidated into the newly-created Office of Community Engagement;
  • Health and Human Services -- the Conservation Corps program will be eliminated, as well as the Energy Tax Rebate program. An annual co-pay of $25 will be instituted for all Montgomery Cares Program participants; and
  • Police -- School Resource Officer program will be eliminated, as would Police neighborhood satellite stations in Piney Branch, Olney and East County.

The Police budget will increase by one-half percent, primarily to respond to growing public safety issues in the Silver Spring Central Business District and the Route 29 corridor. Fire and Rescue funding will decrease by 1.7 percent

The Council’s public hearings on the budget are scheduled for April 5-7. Residents may sign up to speak by calling 240-777-7803. They can also send email comments to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov or regular mail to 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. Comments may be left on the Council’s budget hotline at 240-777-7802.

See budget highlights and the full budget at montgomerycountymd.gov/omb. Additional information on the proposed budget is at montgomerycountymd.gov/budget.

CATEGORIES: Budget , County Executive
POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011 | 11:00:00 AM |

What Residents Should Know About Consolidating the Park and County Police

Eight months ago, the Montgomery County Council formed the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission with the mandate to recommend ways to restructure the way County agencies do business to save money and increase efficiency.

One of the Commission’s primary recommendations is to consolidate the Park Police and the Montgomery County Police Department

Not only will the consolidation save taxpayers at least $2 million a year, but will enhance the efficiency of communication and improve response times in a vast majority of County parks. The merger also will make additional County Police officers available to provide support and respond to calls for services in the parks.

Read more details (pdf) about the benefits of consolidation.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Budget
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

County Residents Can Give Budget Ideas and Comments via New, Easy-to-Use Link

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. The link leads to a form where residents can provide feedback.

The information will be used by County Executive Ike Leggett as he prepares his recommended operating budget, which will be presented to the County Council on March 15, and by the Council during its budget deliberations.

The budget form is available directly at montgomerycountymd.gov/budgetcomments.

CATEGORIES: Budget , County Executive
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 10:00:00 AM |

What You Should Know About the County Budget

There is now helpful information online -- at www.montgomerycountymd.gov -- for residents who want to understand the County’s budget procedures -- including how budget decisions are made, the County Executive’s priorities, what types of programs/services/projects are funded in the Operating and Capital budgets, projected expenditures in the FY12-17 Fiscal Plan and the FY12 Fiscal Outlook.

Also included is a section entitled Community Participation that includes tips for residents on how they can become more involved with their local government and how to express their concerns and advocate for issues of interest to them.

The information was prepared by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Finance for presentation at the public Budget Forums being held around the County.

The final two forums will be held -- at 7 p.m. -- according to the following schedule:

  • January 20, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring
  • January 24, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda .
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 10:00:00 AM |

Leggett Announces Amended Six-Year Capital Construction Budget

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has sent to the County Council his recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 11-16 Capital Improvements Program (CIP).

Recognizing the serious budget constraints facing the County, the recommendations delay some planned projects while focusing only on funding critical capital needs. Some shifts in funds for earlier years in the CIP were made possible by developing more realistic implementation plans for existing projects.

Leggett said, “We must focus on projects that address long-term, sustainable, programmatic needs; master plan visions; and long-term housing and economic development objectives, while resisting pressures to build new facilities that require ongoing operating and maintenance costs.

“My CIP recommendations delay some projects, but they ensure that the most urgent education, public safety and transportation projects do not wait.”

See details.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

Public Forums Scheduled on FY12 Operating Budget

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is sponsoring five budget forums throughout the County in coming weeks to seek input from residents about Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget priorities. With a projected $300 million budget gap looming, Montgomery County is again facing a challenging fiscal forecast.

The forums will begin at 7 p.m., on the following dates:

  • January 10, Upcounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown
  • January 13, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring
  • January 18, Crossway Community, 3015 Upton Dr., Kensington
  • January 20, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring
  • January 24, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda

The County Executive announces his recommended fiscal year 2012 operating budget on March 15. The County Council approves the operating budget at the end of May.

Visit website montgomerycountymd.gov/townhall for more information.

CATEGORIES: Budget , Community Forum , County Executive
POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |

County Executive Ike Leggett’s Comments on Council Approval of New County Fiscal & Reserve Policy

“I thank the Council for their swift approval of our proposal to establish a new set of fiscal policies and to enact changes to the Revenue Stabilization Fund law to address our structural budget challenges, including an increase in the County’s reserves from six percent to ten percent over the next nine years.
“This change is critical to continue the work I began four years ago to put the County’s fiscal house in order. We need to look beyond the year-to-year challenges by establishing a six-year structurally-balanced plan. We need to make sure that we as a County put aside more money to assist us in responding to volatile County revenue flows in lean years, especially from the income tax.
“Under this set of changes, reserve funds cannot be spent to support recurring expenses. Revenue above the required reserves can only be used to fund one-time expenditures. And, in good times, additional revenue would flow into the Revenue Stabilization Fund to further enhance our reserves and ensure future, continued fiscal stability.
“These changes make good sense all around.”
CATEGORIES: County Executive , Budget
POSTED: Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |

Approved County Budget Continues Leggett’s Four-Year Priority of Putting County

County Executive Ike Leggett knew before the current downturn that the County spending habits of the prior four years were unsustainable and from the start made putting the County’s fiscal house in order a priority for his administration

In his first year (FY08), Leggett brought County government tax-supported spending down from a 14.1 percent increase in the year before he took office to 6.7 percent. In FY09, he reduced it further to a 1.5 percent increase. In FY 10 he reduced it yet again to MINUS 2.2 percent and this year he proposed another minus 7 percent DECREASE below the previous year.

In the three years before Leggett took office, County government tax-supported spending increased by a total of 36 percent. By comparison, for his entire four years, the budget has decreased by 1 percent total. 

The County Executive has closed nearly $2.3 billion in budget gaps over the four years. He closed nearly a $1 billion gap this year alone -- 83 percent of gap closed with reductions and other actions -- only 17 percent was achieved with additional revenues. He has eliminated 1,100 positions (10 percent of the County government’s entire workforce) in just the last two years.

Last year, he prevented an additional $80 million in cuts to critical County services when he marshaled support from the County Council, the School Board and Superintendent, and ultimately, the state legislature for a waiver of the State’s Maintenance of Effort requirement. Working closely together with them again, Montgomery County has already won a similar waiver this year from the State Board of Education.

POSTED: Monday, June 14, 2010 | 8:00:00 AM |

Executive Commends State Board of Education Decision on Maintenance of Effort

“I am grateful to the State Board of Education for their decision to approve Montgomery County’s local contribution to education of $1.415 billion, supporting our request to waive the county’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement for fiscal year 2011.

“I want to thank the Montgomery County Council for their support. I also especially want to thank our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jerry Weast and Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill for standing shoulder to shoulder with us in support of the waiver.

“Montgomery County has a long history of funding our schools far in excess of State Maintenance of Effort requirements. But, this year, we were faced with serious challenges posed by the sharp economic downturn as a clear justification for a waiver.

“Despite being unable to meet our MOE target in fiscal year 2011, the County has made every effort to minimize the impact of this decline in revenue on K -12 education by taking proportionately steeper budget reductions in County government and other County funded agencies than the County has proposed for MCPS.

“I appreciate the State Board’s action. It recognizes that Montgomery County continues to support our world-class school system while sustaining critical programs in public safety, safety net services for our most vulnerable County residents, and initiatives to support our children and youth.”

CATEGORIES: Budget , Education
POSTED: Monday, June 14, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Council Agrees to $4.3 Billion FY2011 Operating Budget; Final Vote Comes May 27

At 4.5% less than the approved FY10 Operating Budget, this is the first decrease in the total budget since the current County Charter was adopted in 1968.

The budget re-establishes the reserve at 6 percent, which should help maintain the County’s AAA bond rating. The reserve was reduced to 5 percent in FY10.

The overall tax-supported budget of $3.66 billion reflects a decrease of $190.3 million from the FY10 adopted budget, a decrease of 4.9 percent. This is the second consecutive year the tax-supported portion of the budget has decreased. Read more details, including reactions from Council members.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 9:00:00 AM |

County Executive Leggett Applauds Council’s Work on the FY11 Operating Budget

“My Recommended Operating Budget for the coming fiscal year included many difficult choices and continues the work that I began three years ago of putting the County’s fiscal house in order. I’m pleased that the Council approved 99 percent of what was originally recommended.

“Although I believed strongly that the County should not increase property taxes beyond the Charter limit, the Council did approve, with adjustments, my recommended increases in the energy and cell phone taxes. These increases are unfortunate, but necessary.

“My budget recommendation closed a nearly $1 billion gap for this year – making a total of more than $2.2 billion in budget gaps closed over the past four years.

“We are restoring the County’s reserve funds to six percent – and I will forward later this week my proposal to strengthen our reserve policy to provide more flexibility for the County by saving more in good years to better weather the bad years.

“These were not easy choices. I thank the Council for supporting adoption of a budget that fully supports our priorities in education, public safety, and assistance for the most vulnerable.

“I also want to thank the Board of Education, Montgomery College and the Planning Board for working closely with us to develop solutions to the worst fiscal crisis this County has seen since the Great Depression.  The cooperation and hard work of these agencies to minimize the impact on their constituents is appreciated.

“Beyond this budget, I look forward to working with the Council on further steps to restructure County government to make it more efficient and cost-effective, create more jobs to bolster our County tax base, and provide critical services to County residents.”

Read the entire statement. Also, read budget feedback from County residents.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 8:00:00 AM |

Cuts on Top of Cuts

Putting the County’s fiscal house in order was job one when County Executive Ike Leggett took office.  And, due to the economic downturn, that work continues.

Since March 15, when the Executive released his Fiscal Year 2011 Recommended Operating Budget that closed an estimated $780 million gap, the County has received more bad news from the State concerning declining tax revenues due to the County. Furthermore, warning signs from those who rate County bonds require the Executive to increase the County’s reserve for the coming year to six percent from the five percent originally projected.

All told, these factors mean an additional gap of nearly $200 million that must be closed for the remainder of this year and the next.

In late April, Leggett sent to the County Council additional recommendations (pdf) to close this new gap.

Click here to see more on the release of the County Executive's recommended budget on March 15.

All told, the nearly $1 billion gap for FY2011 is filled mostly -- 83% -- by spending reductions and other changes. The remainder is mainly an increase in the County’s fuel energy tax that would raise, according to present calculations, the average residential household bill by $8 a month and the average business by $290 a month. Leggett recommended that the increase in the energy tax sunset at the end of FY12. 

POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Leggett Closes $779 Million Budget Gap with Largest Spending Reduction Since 1968

Hard Choices Made Include Reductions in Programs, No Pay Increases, Furloughs, $3 Monthly Hike in Energy Tax

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today announced his recommended $4.3 billion operating budget that closes a $779 million gap for fiscal year (FY) 2011 that begins July 1. Although the budget focuses on protecting essential services and Leggett’s priorities of education, public safety and the safety net for the most vulnerable, it reflects some “hard choices” made by the Executive, including reductions in programs, no pay increases and furloughs for County employees, and a $3 monthly hike in the County energy tax.

 “Past cost reduction efforts have focused on preserving my priorities of public safety, education and the safety net for the most vulnerable,” said Leggett. “Although I reduced the budget by $1.2 billion over the last three years, the size of this year’s budget deficit leaves no alternative now but to include more reductions in County services across all programs.”

 In the four budgets Leggett has prepared, he has closed budget gaps of nearly $2 billion to address shortfalls every year – which is unprecedented. The magnitude of the problem is reflected in the County’s income tax revenue annual rate of growth. In FY07, income tax revenue increased by 21 percent. In FY10, it decreased by more than 15 percent. 

This budget brings the County government’s tax-supported growth rate down from a 14.1 percent increase in FY07, the year before Leggett took office, to an historic minus 6.1 percent in the FY11 Recommended Budget compared with the current year. The overall 3.8 percent decrease for all County agencies from all sources represents the only reduction in the annual County budget in modern County history -- since the adoption of the current charter in 1968.

The budget proposes cutting costs by:

  • Eliminating 452 government positions, 232 of them currently filled,
  • Providing no pay increases of any kind for County government workers,
  • Furloughing non-public safety County employees for 10-days,
  • Realizing cost savings from all County departments, and
  • Reducing current revenue funded expenditures in the capital budget.

Among County government departments, the largest reductions from FY10 levels are in the Regional Service Centers and the Office of Human Resources (both 33 percent reductions), the Commission for Women (27 percent), the County Executive’s Office (26 percent), Housing and Community Affairs (24 percent), Transportation (23 percent), and Libraries (22 percent). Among the lowest reductions were Fire and Rescue (2.6 percent less than in FY10), Police (4 percent), Correction and Rehabilitation (4.5 percent), Department of Transportation/Transit Services (6.8 percent), and Health and Human Services (10.6 percent).

Faced with tough choices for public safety, this budget averts more serious reductions in first response Fire and Rescue Emergency Medical Services (EMS), because it includes instituting an Emergency Medical Services Transport Fee that will provide an estimated $62.2 million over the next four years.

The EMS Fee will be billed directly to an individual’s health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. Because County residents already pay taxes to support EMS service, no County resident will pay a dime, or even receive a bill. No County resident who is unable to pay will have any out-of-pocket expense for transport to the hospital. Leggett explained that “Nearly all our surrounding jurisdictions have a similar fee and are using those resources to improve service and save lives – with no adverse effects. Montgomery County should do the same instead of leaving tens of millions of dollars in insurance reimbursements uncollected.”

The facts about the EMS Transport Fee are available at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/emstransportfee.

As a last resort to avoid further reductions in County services or additional layoffs, Leggett also recommended an increase in the County’s energy tax to raise an additional  $50 million. The tax is paid by all utility users, including federal facilities in the County that pay no other major County taxes. For the average homeowner, this means an increase of about $3 a month.

For more information on the Executive’s recommended budget, click to view the news release, budget highlights and the full budget.

Montgomery County Income Tax Revenue Annual Rate of Growth Budget Shortfalls Closed County Government Rate of Growth County Government Rate of Growth


POSTED: Monday, March 15, 2010 | 4:21:00 PM |

Leggett Explains Budget Challenges to Council in Special Session

County Executive Ike Leggett and Chief Administrative Officer Tim Firestine met with County Councilmembers on February 23 to present updated information on the County's budget challenges for the coming year (View Presentation in PDF format). Leggett will release his Recommended Operating Budget for the coming fiscal year on March 15.

CATEGORIES: Budget , County Council , County Executive
POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |

Schools Come First in Executive’s Recommended Capital Improvements Program

County Executive Ike Leggett, joined by (left to right) County PTA President Kay Romero, Superintendent Dr. Jerry Weast and  Board of Education President Patricia O'Neill, has proposed a $3.9 billion fiscal year (FY) 2011-2016 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget that keeps an overall spending increase of 4.5 percent while significantly enhancing school construction, accelerating replacement of the County’s critical Traffic Management System and moving important public safety, affordable housing, infrastructure preservation, transportation, economic development and environmental protection projects forward. The proposed CIP mirrors the shared priorities of the Executive and the community.

Superintendent Jerry D. Weast said, “The need is there and the time is right to build. This is a solid investment in the future of Montgomery County and, on behalf of our students, staff and community, I thank the County Executive for his continued support of education.” 

Despite the difficult economic times, exceptionally low construction prices have allowed Leggett to take a long-term view on critically needed school infrastructure. By funding investments now, the County will save tens of millions of dollars in future construction costs as the economy recovers.

Leggett’s recommendation funds more than 99 percent of the Board of Education’s request, which in FY11 draws on about 58 percent of all general obligation bonds issued for that year. This represents a 16.8 percent increase for schools to nearly $1.5 billion. Education is Leggett’s highest priority, and he has reprioritized available resources to maximize support of public education. This CIP will add 118 classrooms for nine schools, build a new elementary and new middle school, and reopen two holding schools. The announcement was made at Paint Branch High School, where, in 2012, a new building will replace the current 1960s school.

Paint Branch principal Jeanette Dixon noted that Leggett’s support via the CIP will ensure that Leggett is remembered as the "Education County Executive."   

The Press Relase and recommended CIP are available on the County’s website.

POSTED: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 6:00:00 PM |

Putting the County’s Fiscal House in Order

rate of growth

In his three years as County Executive, Ike Leggett has brought County government tax-supported spending down from unsustainable double-digit increases before he assumed office to nearly five percent less for the current year.


POSTED: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 4:00:00 PM |

FY 2011 Operating Budget: Resident input invited

County Executive Ike Leggett will sponsor five budget forums in January to seek input from residents about the challenges facing the County in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget.

The sessions are hosted by the Regional Services Center Directors and the Regional Services Center Citizen Advisory Boards. Residents from any part of the county may attend. Staff from the County’s Office of Management and Budget will make presentations and be available to answer questions.

 The forums will begin on January 11 in Germantown.  The first forum will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (channel 6 for Comcast and RCN customers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers). Take a look at the complete schedule.


CATEGORIES: Budget , Community Forum
POSTED: Monday, January 04, 2010 | 12:30:00 PM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010