Charles County rev­enue look­ing sound in FY 2017

County meet­ing bud­get pro­jec­tions for next fis­cal year

Maryland Independent - - News - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­ Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

Af­ter fin­ish­ing fis­cal year 2016 in the black with a $69.5 mil­lion fund bal­ance, Charles County is not see­ing much in ear- ly re­turns for fis­cal year 2017.

A large chunk of the rev- enues the county pulled in to push them into the pos­i­tive in 2016 came from state in­come tax dis- burse­ments. In June, the county’s re­turns showed it ex­ceeded its in­come tax pro­jec­tions by $11 mil­lion.

How­ever, so far in 2016, the county has re­ceived two small dis­burse­ments with a larger one com- ing in Novem­ber, David Ei­choltz, the di­rec­tor of fis­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices, said at Tues- day’s county com­mis­sion- er meet­ing. The pro­jec­tions so far do not come with “sur­prises,” he said.

The county is pro­ject­ing to end the year with rev- enues of $377.5 mil­lion. Be­cause the county has two smaller dis­tri­bu­tions, Jenifer Ellin, the county’s chief of bud­get, said the county’s in­come taxes are pro­jected to fin­ish at about $500,000 less than orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated.

How­ever, Ellin said, the cur­rent dis­tri­bu­tions only rep­re­sent about 4 per­cent of the to­tal bud­get. And all de­part­ments are on pace to meet their ex­pen­di­ture pro­jec­tions as well, she noted.

“Right now we’re just an­tic­i­pat­ing ev­ery­body to meet bud­get at $374.6 mil­lion, lead­ing us to an oper­at­ing gain of just over $1 mil­lion,” she said.

The ex­pen­di­ture pro­jec­tions are “con­ser­va­tive” right now, Ei­choltz said — mean­ing it would be dif­fi­cult for the county’s de­part­ments to over- spend their share in the bud­get.

“We never over­spend,” he said. “Typ­i­cally, we un­der­spend our bud­get.”

The county’s cur­rent year-end fund bal­ance pro­jec­tion sits at $65.8 mil­lion, which in­cludes $2 mil­lion for snow storm re­lief, just over $121,000 for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment busi­ness in­cen­tives and $35,110 for the county’s mo­bile li­brary pur­chase.

Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) said, ac­cord­ing to the way the cur­rent pro­jec­tions look, the county is head­ing in a good di­rec­tion for the next fis­cal year.

“It looks like the win­ning streak, if you want to call it that, of the ro­bust fi­nan­cial pic­ture con­tin­ues,” he said. “Things look good.”

Ei­choltz said he would call the out­look “very pos­i­tive” so far. The county is meet­ing bud­get in both rev­enues and ex­pen­di­tures.

“For us, that’s what we’d like to see,” he said.

It would not hurt the county, Ei­choltz said, if rev­enues came in greater than pro­jected. Things like in­come tax dis­tri­bu­tions could po­ten­tially increase them.

But it is too early to tell, he said, and the county will have to wait un­til later in the fis­cal year to find out if that is pos­si­ble.

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