Commission considers $133.6 million budget
CENTREVILLE — Queen Anne’s County Finance Director Jonathan Seeman walked the commissioners through the county administrator’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget during a work session Tuesday, March 28.
The operating budget, in its early stages, is $133.6 million, an increase of almost $4 million from fiscal 2017. The proposed capital budget is $37.3 million.
Seeman said both the property tax rate of $0.847 per $100 of assessed value and the income tax rate of 3.2 percent are proposed to stay the same as last year. Because the northern part of the county had its property reassessed and had an increase of 3.2 percent, the county would have to use the constant yield rate to keep the tax amount the same as last year.
The constant yield rate would lower the property tax rate to $0.8385 per $100 of assessed value. Seeman proposed that the commission not use the constant yield rate, but rather keep the current $0.8471 per $100 of assessed value resulting in additional revenue of about $670,000.
“This budget reflects the recommendations of the County’s Spending Affordability Committee, formed for the first time for the FY2018 budget. The recommendations include use of fund balance only for onetime non-recurring expenditures, expenditure growth in accordance with revenue growth, and compensation increases sustainable in future years,” wrote Seeman and County Administrator Gregg Todd in a memo to commissioners.
Though not specified as to what form an employee compensation increase for county workers would be, a 2 percent cost of living increase or pay for performance incentive was proposed, Seeman said.
“There are funds in the Contingency account to address potential salary adjustments or additional positions associated with departmental enhancement requests. These 15 new enhancement positions, including seven new sheriff positions (five sworn officers and two civilians) associated with the new courthouse, are not included in this budget,” Seeman wrote.
At 42 percent of the county’s total budget, the Board of Education is proposed to be funded at maintenance of effort, which is a $1.3 million increase from the previous year to a total of $55.5 million.
Budget amounts for county departments are as follows: county administration, $5.7 million; community services, $3.2 million; planning and zoning, $1.9 million; public safety, $13.3 million; public works, $10.3 million; parks, $4.1 million; and sheriff’s office, $7.5 million.
Projects in the capital budget from the recent bond sale of $17.5 million include $9 million for the new circuit courthouse, $3.1 million for an addition to Grasonville Elementary School, $2.5 million for road repairing, $1 million for energy management and fire alarms at Kent Island High School, $600,000 for vehicles and an ambulance and $300,000 for an expansion at the Kent Island Library.
Department heads are currently making their case for their department’s budget during work sessions with the commissioners.
Budget work sessions have been held on March 21 and 28, with future sessions to be held on March 30 and April 4. Public hearings on the county budget will be held on April 24 at Bayside Elementary, April 25 at the Liberty building and April 26 at Sudlersville Middle School with a final budget adoption date of May 23.
To view the budget it its entirety visit the county’s website at www.qac.org.
Queen Anne’s County Finance Director Jonathan Seeman, middle, discusses the proposed fiscal 2018 budget with the county commissioners on Tuesday, March 21.