Com­mis­sion passes $133.8 mil­lion bud­get

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­

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 Ele­men­tar y 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 nec­es­sary 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 Ac­com­pa­ny­ing doc­u­ments can be found in the “Bud­get” sec­tion of the web­page.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­times.

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