Inside your county government
County budget: Your tax dollars at work
Do you ever wonder how your tax dollars are spent? During the budget process, available resources are allocated to support county agencies, projects and initiatives. This process is driven by the county commissioners’ goals with an emphasis on education, public safety and health, and government operations.
The budget process begins in the fall and ends in spring. The process includes reviewing department and agency budget requests, a public hearing, a presentation by the county administrator, and work sessions where recommendations and requests are presented to the commissioners.
On May 3, the commissioners adopted a $375.5 million fiscal year 2017 general fund budget and $94.8 million capital projects budget, without raising property and income taxes for the second year in a row. More than 71 percent of the general fund budget is allocated for education and public safety.
Here are a few of the fiscal 2017 budget highlights: Education • $4.4 million funding increase for Charles County Public Schools, 2.6 percent more than fiscal 2016. The county’s $170.5 million investment, to support salary raises for teachers and other public schools employees, demonstrates the commitment to education and the valuable contributions of our educators. This investment is the largest ever for Charles County Public Schools.
• Continued funding for the board of education’s priority projects, including a new elementary school on Billingsley Road; renovations to Dr. Samuel A. Mudd and Eva Turner elementary schools, and Maurice J. McDonough High School; various full-day kindergarten additions; and existing schools’ maintenance.
• College of Southern Maryland funding increase to $120,100 for network security enhancements, mediation services, and initial funding for the Health Care Training Facility in Hughesville for additional opportunities for residents. Public Safety and Health • $2.8 million funding increase for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, to support hiring additional officers, capital/equipment purchases, and staff salary increase, reflects the value of our dedicated law enforcement officials.
• Five new Emergency Medical Service (EMS) employees, to improve public safety in underserved areas.
• Additional funding for the Department of Health to offset a decrease in state grant funding. Environment • Funding for the rural legacy and agricultural preservation programs to protect county land.
• Continued funding for Popes Creek Rail Trail development.
• Expansion of the Curbside Recycling Collection Program to serve 1,500 more homes.
• Funding for stormwater management requirements associated with the federal Clean Water Act. Government operations • County department budget increase of 3 percent, including salary raises for eligible employees and capital/equipment purchases to improve operating efficiencies.
• New online/mobile application for landfill and recycling programs.
• Additional litter removal crew to improve county road appearance.
For a complete breakdown of the fiscal 2017 general fund and capital projects budgets, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/fas/budget/budget.
See how Charles County Government is working for you — read the Charles County Administrator’s Monthly Report. The report contains department updates, reports and analysis, and performance measures. Visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/ coadmin/county-administrators-monthly-report.
To learn more about Charles County Government, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov.
David M. Eicholtz is the Charles County director of fiscal and administrative services.