Thursday, May 21, 2009

Council Passes Reduced Budget

Today we unanimously approved a $4.39 billion total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2010. The national recession along with a shortfall in both tax revenue and state aid made this one of the most challenging budgets in County history.

This year’s budget is 0.3 percent lower than last year’s amount, marking the first decrease in our budget in 18 years. The tax-supported portion of the budget is down $14 million from last year and is $8.4 million less than the County Executive’s recommended budget.
There are no winners and losers in this budget—just tough decisions and hard-working employees trying to do more with less. We focused on protecting core services including education, public safety, public health and transportation. We also recognized the need to maintain and even enhance our safety net for those most affected by the troubled economy.

We understand that Montgomery County residents already are struggling with higher costs and flat or decreased income, so we chose not to exceed the County’s Charter Limit on property tax and included a $690 property tax credit for homeowners.

Although I was disappointed by many of the cuts we had to make, I am glad we were able to retain 18 Ride On bus routes that had been targeted for elimination or reduced service. Transit has a lot of benefits, like reducing congestion and mitigating climate change. But my most important consideration right now is that Ride On is the only transportation option for many of our residents. Fortunately, we’ve been able to make sure the most vulnerable of our residents continue to have the tools they need for their health, safety and productivity.

For a list of budget highlights, including specific funding decisions as well as approved reductions, see the Council’s press release.

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