Charles County revenue looking sound in FY 2017
County meeting budget projections for next fiscal year
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.