In­side your county gov­ern­ment

County bud­get: Your tax dol­lars at work

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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.

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