Pro­posed bud­get at $133.8 mil­lion

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers of­fi­cially in­tro­duced the county’s pro­posed fis­cal 2018 op­er­at­ing and cap­i­tal bud­gets Tues­day, April 11. The op­er­at­ing bud­get shows an in­crease of $4.1 mil­lion.

Fi­nance Di­rec­tor Jonathan See­man gave a short

pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ing parts of the bud­get dur­ing the meet­ing.

The op­er­at­ing bud­get is pro­posed at $133.8 mil­lion and the cap­i­tal bud­get is pro­posed at $37 mil­lion. The 3.2 per­cent op­er­a­tional bud­get in­crease, See­man said, is mainly from the $1.2 mil­lion in­crease in prop­erty taxes and $3 mil­lion in­crease in in­come taxes.

The $4.1 mil­lion bud­get in­crease is pro­posed to be spent on em­ployee com­pen­sa­tion and ben­e­fits, the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, pub­lic safety, parks, ag­ing and South­ern Kent Is­land Sewer Project fi­nan­cial aid as­sis­tance.

The county will host pub­lic hear­ings re­gard­ing the pro­posed bud­get at 7 p.m. on April 24 at Bay­side Ele­men­tar y School, April 25 at the Liber ty Build­ing in Cen­tre­ville and April 26 at Sudlersville Mid­dle School. A tax rate hear­ing will be held at the April 25 meet­ing in Cen­tre­ville.

The county has pro­posed not to use the Con­stant Yield Rate, which is the num­ber the tax rate should be set at to re­ceive the same amount of in­come as the pre­vi­ous year ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Depart­ment of As­sess­ments and Tax­a­tion. Be­cause prop­erty val­ues in­creased dur­ing the last as­sess­ment, which took place in north­ern Queen Anne’s County, the rate would need to be low­ered to $0.8388 per $100 of as­sessed value.

See­man said the county is not go­ing to use that fig­ure and in­stead will keep the tax rate at $0.8471 per $100 of as­sessed value, re­sult­ing in $670,000 in rev­enue.

For the first time, the county has pro­vided fund­ing to the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices bud­get, $225,000, for fi­nan­cial aid as­sis­tance to low-in­come fam­i­lies in the South­ern Kent Is­land Sewer Project area.

“We have a sta­ble eco­nomic base, a solid rev­enue frame­work and Fitch in­di­cated that they ex­pected us to have growth in our rev­enue to be above in­fla­tion,” See­man said when talk­ing about the county’s re­cent AAA bond rat­ing. “And they took into ac­count that there was a mod­est ap­pre­ci­a­tion in res­i­den­tial prop­erty val­ues, and con­ser­va­tive bud­get man­age­ment prac­tices have con­trib­uted to con­sis­tent reser ve lev­els.”

The county has pro­posed fund­ing the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion at “main­te­nance of ef­fort,” a state law that re­quires each county spend as much per stu­dent as it did the pre­vi­ous year, which is $55,495,261. The amount is an in­crease in $1.3 mil­lion from last year.

Other bud­geted cat­e­gories in­clude: county ad­min­is­tra­tion, $5.7 mil­lion; com­mu­nity ser­vices, $3.5 mil­lion; plan­ning and zon­ing, $1.9 mil­lion; pub­lic safety, which in­cludes an­i­mal ser­vices, the de­ten­tion cen­ter and emer­gency ser­vices, $13.3 mil­lion; pub­lic works, $10.3 mil­lion; parks, $4.1 mil­lion; and the sher­iff’s of­fice, $7.5 mil­lion.

The county has pro­posed fund­ing $6.4 mil­lion in Board of Ed­u­ca­tion projects, which in­cludes the six-class­room ad­di­tion to Gra­sonville El­e­men­tary School at $3.1 mil­lion. See­man said most Board of Ed­u­ca­tion cap­i­tal projects have match­ing state funds.

Other cap­i­tal project al­lo­ca­tions from the $15.8 mil­lion pro­posed bond sale num­bers in­clude $8 mil­lion for the new cir­cuit court­house, $2.5 mil­lion for as­phalt over­lay, $250,000 for a new de­ten­tion cen­ter roof and four pub­lic schools projects.

To view the bud­get in its en­tirety, visit the county’s web­site at www.qac.org/587/Bud­getSec­tion.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Queen Anne’s County Fi­nance Di­rec­tor Jonathan See­man high­lights sec­tions of the pro­posed fis­cal 2018 bud­get dur­ing the county’s Tues­day, April 11, meet­ing.

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