$133.8 million budget passed
CENTREVILLE — After months of work sessions and public hearings, the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners on Tuesday, May 23, unanimously approved a combined $170 million operational and capital budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The operational budget is $133,800,975, and the capital budget is $37,571,678. The operational budget is an increase of about $4 million from this year.
The commissioners kept the current real estate tax rate at $0.8471 per $100 of assessed value rather than the constant yield rate of $0.8388 per $100 of assessed value.
The county’s income tax rate of 3.2 percent remained the same.
Throughout the public hearings at Bayside Elementary School, the Liberty building and Sudlersville Middle School, employees, patrons and friends of the Queen Anne’s County Library System came out and urged the commissioners to approve funds for a library expansion project.
The system had received a grant from the state in the amount of $325,000 that required a matching component from the local level. At the time of the public hearings, the commissioners had not put the necessar y dollars in to fund the project, which caused loads of people to speak out.
The final budget includes the matching $325,000 for architectural and engineering work. The commissioners funded the expansion project on the condition the library presents three options for the renovation project before moving forward. The options are to include various buildout sizes.
The Board of Education, which was applauded by the commissioners for stretching its dollars and asking for its lowest budget proposal in recent years, will be funded at maintenance of effort, receiving $55,495,293, an increase of $1.3 million from fiscal 2017.
Maintenance of effort is a state requirement that counties fund schools at least at the same cost per pupil as the previous year.
Other departmental budgets are as follows: county administration, $5.7 million; community services, $3.5 million; planning and zoning, $1.9 million; public safety, $13.5 million; public works, 10.3 million; parks, $4.1 million; sheriff’s office, $7.5 million; and fire protection and rescue, $3.8 million.
Major capital project expenditures include about $12 million for the Southern Kent Island Sewer Project for the sewer force main, community mains and other Phase 1 Septic Tank Effluent Pump system installations.
The county, which will be caught up in its road repairs, will fund asphalt overlays at $2.4 million. Major school board capital funding line items include $3.1 million for the addition to Grasonville Elementary School and $1.2 million to continue the system’s technology plan.
About $9 million has been itemized for construction of the new circuit courthouse being built in Centreville.
To review the Fiscal Year 2018 budget in its entirety, visit the county’s website at www.qac.org. Accompanying documents can be found in the “Budget” section of the webpage.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @ mike_kibaytimes.