Following is the press release from the County Council.
Release ID: 09-077
Release Date: 5/21/2009
Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Jean Arthur 240-777-7934
From: Council Office
Montgomery County Council Approves $3.73 Billion Operating Budget for FY 2010
County’s 1.1 Percent Decrease in Tax-Supported, All-Agencies Budget Is First Decrease Since Fiscal Year 1992
County Government Budget Decreases 2.2 Percent
Public Safety, Schools, ‘Safety Net’ Are Priorities; Property Tax Stays
Within Charter Limit; $690 Tax Credit for Homeowners
ROCKVILLE, Md., May 21, 2009—The Montgomery County Council today approved a $3.73 billion tax-supported, all-agencies operating budget for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins July 1. The budget is 1.1 percent less than the approved budget for FY09, marking the first decrease in a Montgomery budget since FY 1992.
The approved budget for County government, which includes the Police Department, the Fire and Rescue Service, and Health and Human Services, but does not include Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), is $1.25 billion—a decrease of $28 million (2.2 percent) from FY09.
In a budget year complicated by the national and regional economic downturn, the Council’s budget protects core services and “safety net” programs, but does not exceed the County’s Charter Limit on property tax revenue. The budget includes a $690 property tax credit for owner-occupants of principal residences and does not fund cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for 33,000 employees of County government, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, saving $125 million. Employees agreed to forgo COLAs in FY10, recognizing that the County could not afford the increases.
The $3.73 tax-supported operating budget, as defined in the County Charter, excludes self-supported enterprise funds and specific grants from the Federal and State governments, but includes current revenue funding for capital projects. For comparative purposes, this figure does not include $79.5 in debt service for MCPS school construction that will be appropriated to the MCPS budget.
The approved total operating budget for FY10, without the MCPS-related debt service, is $4.394 billion, an increase of 1.2 percent from FY09. The total operating budget includes self-supported enterprise funds and specific grants from the Federal and State governments.
In March, County Executive Isiah Leggett submitted his recommended budget to the Council. In reviewing the budget over the past two months, the Council reduced funding in several areas—including technology, cable funds, utilities and leases—and redirected it to reflect the Council’s priorities in health and human services and public safety.
The Council adopted resolutions for the FY 2009-14 Capital Improvements Program that will keep all school construction projects on their current timetables, move ahead with funding for a new Silver Spring Library and continue plans for a North County Bus Maintenance Depot.
The Council also approved a down payment of $12.9 million for purchase of the GE Tech Building on Route 28. That property is a key element in the Executive’s Property Use/Smart Growth Initiative that would move numerous County operations from scattered locations, and some from rented space, into County-owned consolidated facilities. The new complex, whose overall cost is approximately $107 million, would include the Montgomery County Police Department’s headquarters, the 1st District Police Station, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Office of Emergency Management and various County offices. A new public safety memorial also would be located on the site.
Under the approved budget, property tax revenue will stay within the County’s Charter limit. The County exceeded the Charter limit—which requires that revenue from taxes on existing property not exceed the rate of inflation for the previous year—only four times since voters approved the provision in November 1990. In November 2008, County voters amended the Charter to require support of all nine Councilmembers to exceed the limit.
In addition, the County “circuit breaker” tax credit will provide more targeted property tax relief for households with incomes of $64,000 or less. And under a law the Council passed three years ago, eligible homeowners who are at least 70 years old will benefit from an added 25 percent circuit breaker credit.
The County entered the budget season facing a gap estimated at nearly $587 million. The budget adopted by the Council restored core services including police and fire and rescue services, addressed the health needs of the poor and disadvantaged and maintained facilities and programs that continue the quality of life expected by residents.
The budget emphasizes the Council’s priority focus on education, public safety and health and transportation programs that help the less fortunate during these difficult economic times.
The Council did not approve the Emergency Medical Services Transport (EMST) fee—generally known as an ambulance fee—recommended by the Executive. The fee would produce an estimated net of $12.5 million in revenue, which the Executive asserts would be paid primarily by insurance companies.
The Council’s budget preserved 18 bus routes that the Executive recommended be reduced or eliminated. The Council heard numerous concerns during budget public hearings about the impact of such cuts. The Council’s action helps many residents for whom transit is the only way to get to work or get around. The Council also provided for $1.8 million in community grants to non-profits in addition to about $2.5 million in grants recommended by the Executive and approved by the Council. Those grants will strengthen the safety net for the most vulnerable residents.
The budget continues the Council’s commitment to affordable housing. The Council approved $57.8 million for the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF) as recommended by the Executive. The Council allocated $8.9 million from the HIF for costs associated with Housing First, including rental assistance subsidy payments. Housing First seeks to find permanent homes for homeless individuals and families rather than keep them in a series of transitional housing.
The budget avoids layoffs through agreements with organizations that represent County employees that will have all employees forgo Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs).
“We had a framework in approaching this most difficult budget year and we stuck to it,” said Council President Phil Andrews. “These are difficult times for our residents and for our County. We cut spending and produced the first Montgomery County budget in 18 years that is less than the previous year’s budget. We protected our residents by not exceeding the Charter limit, but we still preserved essential services and provided for our most vulnerable residents by making sure they will have access to health services and transportation.
“We did not approve an ambulance fee, which was recommended by the County Executive but is opposed by many residents. We restored funding to keep all police stations open all night to the public, and we will buy 14 new ambulances to keep our services state-of-the-art. And we have provided a $690 property tax credit for homeowners, which will be a significant help in this challenging year. The pain of a budget year like this is real for employees who won’t receive COLAs, for example, and for youth in recreational programs, some of which were eliminated. However, we have taken the steps that were necessary to balance the budget wisely in these very tough economic times.”
The FY10 approved total budget for Montgomery County Public Schools is $2.2 billion, fully funding the Board of Education’s request. Funding for Montgomery College will be $265.6 million, 99.5 percent of the College’s request. The budget provides for enrollment growth, the opening of the new Performing Arts Center at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, and additional scholarship funds.
The $246.6 million for the Police Department includes $316,160 to restore 24-hour public access to the 2nd District (Bethesda area) and 6th District (Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village) police stations. The Executive proposed closing these stations to the public from 1-6 a.m. Police funding also includes $75,000 to keep the Piney Branch Satellite Station open and in its current location and $216,220 to add five recruits to the January 2010 police academy class. In addition, the Council approved funding to administer a program that will install video cameras in police cars. The cameras will be purchased with grant funds.
The budget includes $660,000 to add 12 recruits for the County Fire and Rescue Service that were not included in the Executive’s recommended budget. The additional employees will help keep up with increased staffing needs.
“The Council’s budget action this morning maintains property taxes at the Charter limit, spreads the property tax burden equitably among residents, preserves essential services for residents and eliminates planned cost of living increases for employees,” said Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who chairs the Council’s Education Committee and represents District 5, which includes Kensington, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Wheaton. “The Council kept its commitment to fund core services that residents rely on each day. Education, public safety and safety net services were at the top of my list of priorities because these are issues that I hear about most in District 5.”
Councilmember Nancy Floreen, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, said: “Fortunately, we were able to retain 18 Ride On bus routes that had been targeted for elimination or reduced service. Transit has a lot of benefits, like reducing congestion and mitigating climate change. But my most important consideration right now is that that Ride On is the only transportation option for many of our residents. I’m glad that during these difficult times we’ve been able to make sure the most vulnerable of our residents continue to have the tools they need for their health and safety.”
Councilmember George Leventhal, chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee said: “This was the most challenging budget of my seven years on the Council. As chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, I am gratified that the Councilmembers worked together to protect the ‘safety net’ - the array of County services that support our most vulnerable residents. The economic recession has forced an unprecedented number of residents to seek relief from County government in the form of rental assistance, utility payments, advice and counseling on preventing home foreclosure, assistance finding employment, primary health care, mental health counseling and shelter from homelessness. The County Council is committed to helping our residents through these difficult financial times, and is working toward our economic recovery and a prosperous future for everyone who chooses to call Montgomery County home.”
Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg, who chairs the Council’s Management and Fiscal Policy Committee, praised her colleagues for today’s vote.
“During this season of unparalleled budget pressure, I am particularly pleased that funding was preserved for vital preventive health and behavioral health care delivery programs,” said Councilmember Trachtenberg. “We prioritized funds for screening, assessment and wraparound services for youth. The Council made a commitment to the integration of primary care and behavioral health by supporting the Montgomery Cares Behavioral Health pilot program. We also increased our funding for the County’s STD/HIV core programming after I presented information to my colleagues on the current unmet reproductive health needs of women qualifying for publicly funded services.”
# # #
Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2010 Montgomery County Operating Budget:
• The average tax rate will remain unchanged from FY09, resulting in an average tax rate of 90.3 cents per $100 of taxable value (there are 21 property tax rates in the County).
• Every owner-occupied principal residence will receive a $690 property tax credit.
• The County “circuit breaker” homeowners’ tax credit will provide significant property tax relief for homeowners of all ages with household incomes of $64,000 or less.
• Under a law the Council passed three years ago, eligible homeowners who are at least 70 years old will receive an added 25 percent circuit breaker credit.
• $2.2 billion total budget for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), fully funding the request of the Board of Education.
• MCPS Capital Improvements Program (CIP)
- Supports all of MCPS-requested CIP amendments for capacity projects and infrastructure maintenance.
- Includes funding requested by MCPS for work required to meet general discharge permit requirements, as well as planning requirements, associated with the new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
• $265.6 million for Montgomery College, 99.5 percent of the College’s request. The budget provides for enrollment growth, the opening of the new Performing Arts Center at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, and additional scholarship funds.
• $745,000, plus a transfer of $43,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services, for the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL). The Coalition administers County grants for programs to improve adult literacy.
• Approved construction funds for the Bioscience Education Center at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus, including a new access road to serve the entire campus. Center is scheduled to open in January 2013.
• Created Workforce Investment Scholarship program to provide tuition funding assistance for undergraduate students at Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove who are pursuing degrees in fields of significant occupational need in Montgomery County. It is estimated that in its first year, the program will provide 25 scholarships of $3,000 each.
• $246.6 million for the Police Department.
• $316,160 to restore 24 hour public access to the 2nd District (Bethesda area) and 6th District (Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village) police stations. The Executive had proposed closing these stations to the public from 1-6 a.m.
• $75,000 to keep the Piney Branch satellite station open and in its current location.
• $216,220 to add five recruits to the January 2010 police academy class.
• Approved funding to administer a program that will install video cameras in police cars. The cameras will be purchased with grant funds.
- Fire and Rescue
• $193,587,120 for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
• Budget does not assume $12.5 million in net revenues from Emergency Medical Services Transport (EMST) fee that was proposed in County Executive’s recommended budget.
• Save $1.18 million by lease purchasing 14 new ambulances instead of County Executive’s recommended purchase of 30. The Council supported a staggered approach to purchasing vehicles rather than a lump sum approach.
• Lease purchase two engine body pump modules and one tanker, but save about $200,000 by not purchasing four all-wheel-drive engines and two light duty brush trucks also recommended by Executive.
• $439,330 in Consolidated Fire Tax funds and $100,000 in grant funds to open the new Milestone (East Germantown) Station in March 2010.
• Add matching funds for 12 new field positions to be partially funded through a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. Five positions will be assigned to the new Milestone Station. The others will be used to increase four-person staffing on fire engines around the County.
• Maintain funding for the new Kingsview (West Germantown) station that opened in March 2009 with one fire engine and one ambulance.
• Save $676,590 by delaying implementation of a second ambulance for the Kingsview (West Germantown) Station until FY11.
• $264,150 for a transition in the Emergency Communications Center that would return 10 uniformed firefighter/rescuer positions to the field and replace them with 10 civilian positions. After the first transitional year, this civilianization initiative is expected to produce cost savings.
• $157,500 for a transition in Fire Code Enforcement that would return six uniformed positions to the field and replace them with six civilian positions. After the first transitional year, this civilianization initiative is expected to produce cost savings.
• $660,000 to add 12 recruits to recruit class in February FY10.
• Save $216,000 by eliminating some daywork overtime for career positions at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, Kensington Volunteer Fire Department, and Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad. The reduction will either be covered by volunteers, or by units from other nearby stations.
• $134,000 to restore a day position at Burtonsville Fire Station (funding was not included in Executive’s recommended budget).
- Correction and Rehabilitation
• $65.6 million to fund the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.
• $72,140 to restore a laboratory assistant position in Pre-Trial Services that had been initially cut under the Executive’s recommended budget.
- Sheriff’s Office
• $21.2 million to fund operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
• $108,650 to restore a recruit class that had been eliminated under the Executive’s recommended budget. This will add three new officers over the next fiscal year. While attrition is currently low, the Maryland General Assembly recently created a new judgeship for Montgomery County Circuit Court. In the past, each new judgeship has warranted the addition of two officers to handle the resulting increased caseload.
• $88,460 to help support new Family Justice Center in Rockville. The center provides a coordinated team of professionals that provide a variety of services for victims of domestic abuse.
• $189 million to fund the Department of Transportation.
• Retained the current service for 18 Ride On bus routes that were targeted for elimination or reduced service in the County Executive’s recommended budget. To offset the costs of retaining the bus routes, parking rates were increased in the Bethesda/North Bethesda area. Also restored weekday midday service (from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) on the Route 6 Ride On line that serves the Garrett Park area. That service was eliminated during a round of mid-year budget cuts in April. It is expected that service would be returned in September.
• Parking payment by cell phone will be piloted in Bethesda in the fall.
• Increased by 25 cents per hour all short-term spaces for public parking in the Bethesda Parking Lot District. Also increased long-term hourly rate, for a monthly Parking Convenience Sticker and for other associated fees. The parking fee changes include the following:
- Raised price of all short-term spaces from 75 cents to $1 per hour
- Raised price of long-term spaces from 50 cents to 65 cents per hour
- Raised the price of the Parking Convenience Sticker from $95 to $120 per month
- Raised price of a two-person carpool permit from $70 to $90 per month
- Raised price of a three-to-four-person carpool permit from $40 to $50 per month
- Raised price of a five-plus-person carpool permit from $10 to $13 per month
- Raised the price of the Daily Parking Permit and for the Daily Maximum and a Lost Ticket in Garage 49 from $8.25 to $10.50 per day
• Increased parking fees in the North Bethesda area, including:
- Short-term rate increased from 60 cents to 75 cents per hour
- Long-term rate increased from 45 cents to 50 cents per hour
- Monthly Parking Convenience Sticker increased from $85 to $95
• Increased the subsidy for the Call-’N-Ride program that supplies taxi coupons for economically disadvantaged seniors (age 67 or over) and disabled persons. The impact of those changes would be:
- An eligible person earning $14,001 to $17,000 who now pays $17.50 per coupon book per month will pay $10 in FY10. An individual can buy up to two coupon books each month. This measure could save an individual $15 per month.
- An individual earning $17,001 to $20,000 who now pays $26.25 per coupon book per month would pay $20 in FY10. This measure could save this person $12.50 per month.
• $10.3 million to fund the Department of Economic Development.
• $852,440 for the Economic Development Fund that loans funds to businesses and including funding for the impact assistance program which provides grants to small businesses impacted by County revitalization projects.
• $700,490 for the Conference and Visitor’s Bureau that promotes the County as a tourist destination.
• $1,339,860 will be added to the FY09 budget in federal economic stimulus aid for workforce development to focus on youth and on adult dislocated workers.
• $617,395 to fund the Montgomery County Conference Center.
• $57.8 million for the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF).
• $8.9 million from the HIF to be allocated for costs associated with Housing First, including rental assistance subsidy payments. Housing First seeks to find permanent homes for homeless individuals and families, rather than keep them in a series of transitional housing.
• The Department of Housing and Community Affairs has already made commitments to use a portion of the HIF for 13 identified projects to acquire, preserve and/or renovate affordable housing.
• $50,000 to enhance the County’s Clean and Lien program and outreach effort regarding code enforcement. The Clean and Lien program will address problems at vacant properties (such as uncut grass and weeds) and then require the property owner to repay the County.
• $4 million in Community Development Block Grant Funds, including $1.26 million for housing rehabilitation and $605,000 in grants to non-profit organizations.
• $226,875 in Federal Emergency Shelter Grants and $2.76 million in HOME Investment Partnership funding.
Health and Human Services
• $269.5 million in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services.
• $249,530 to fund a 1 percent inflationary adjustment for contracts with eligible health and human services providers.
• Restore $136,830 (funding was eliminating in County Executive’s recommended budget) for six Conservation Corps member slots and a Human Service Specialist who provides counseling, employment skills training and support services to out-of-school, at-risk youth ages 17-24.
• $10,000 for ESOL Silver Spring team
• $90,790 for a human services specialist for the Conservation Corps program
• $46,040 for six member slots for Conservation Corps program
- Public Health Services
• $10.16 million for the Montgomery Cares program, plus $117,000 to restore the Executive’s recommended funding reduction to the Montgomery Cares Behavioral Health Pilot program and to fund specialty care services as recommended by the Montgomery Cares Advisory Board. Montgomery Cares provides primary health care to low-income uninsured adults. More than 22,000 patients will be seen by the Montgomery Cares clinics in the current fiscal year and the Montgomery Cares Advisory Board projects that up to 28,000 may need services in FY10.
• $45,000 for smoking prevention programs for at-risk youth and young mothers. These programs were proposed to be eliminated because of the State’s reduction in Cigarette Restitution Funds for education and outreach.
• $100,000 to expand screening and treatment capacity for STDs and HIV to reduce the number of people who are turned away from the County’s STD/HIV clinic.
• $182,330 to restore funding for primary care for low income uninsured patients through Mobile Medical Care and Proyecto Salud.
• $100,000 for a nurse practitioner for the Mobile Medical Care service.
• $130,000 for special care and a volunteer coordinator for Mobile Medical Care.
• $50,000 to support clinic expansion through Mercy Health Clinic
- Behavioral Health and Crisis Services
• $70,000 to restore Level 1 Outpatient Treatment services to minimize acceptance time into treatment.
• $83,810 to restore Child Mental Health Care Coordination services. Funds were not included in the Executive’s recommended budget.
• $162,420 to expand the Public Inebriation Intervention Team to the Wheaton Central Business District.
• $4.2 million for 24-hour crisis services including telephone, walk-in, mobile crisis outreach and crisis residential services.
- Aging and Disability Services
• $4 million for services that help seniors remain independent in the community including an increase of $154,010 for senior transportation services.
• $4.62 million for in-home aide services.
• $2.3 million to support the senior food program, an increase of $600,000 over the previous year.
- Children, Youth and Family Services
• $291,210 for the Neighborhood Network initiative to provide emergency food and housing stabilization services to neighborhoods most impacted by the recession. These funds will be combined with grants to non-profits and funding from the Community Foundation.
• Restore $50,000 (funding was eliminating in County Executive’s recommended budget) for intensive individualized, coordinated, and multi-agency support services for children and youth who are gang-involved or at risk of becoming gang involved.
• $22.1 million for Child Welfare Services.
• $10.7 million for Child Care Subsidies.
• $20.3 million for School Health services, an increase of $500,000 from the FY09 approved budget).
• $2.4 million to fund an initiative that addresses high risk youth behaviors including gang involvement, violent behavior, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. Services are delivered through the Youth Opportunity Center in Langley Park, the Wellness Center at Northwood High School and the Street Outreach Network, a cadre of outreach workers, who connect with and provide support to gang involved youth.
• $2.85 million for services focused on increasing the quality early care and education programs available to young children, including restoration of $17,000 for training incentives for new child care providers.
• $3.5 million for evaluation, assessment, and early intervention services to families with children under age three when there is a concern about development, including a $1.3 million increase in federal and state funding.
• $5.2 million for Linkages to Learning, an increase of $26,850.
• $340,000 to support community-based pre-kindergarten services for 40 children provided by Centro Nia.
• $17,000 for incentives for new child care program.
• $37.9 million for the Department of Public Libraries.
• Maintains current hours at all libraries.
• A decrease of 53 positions (most were already vacant).
• 10 percent reduction in purchase of new materials.
• $31.8 million to fund the Department of Technology Services to continue support a multitude of resident and County services on the web, as well as provide an infrastructure for County business applications, data storage, and information sharing in a secure and reliable manner for all county departments.
• $14.9 million to continue technology modernization initiatives that are expected to streamline County processes and make it easier for residents to reach the County and receive services.
• Many aging Finance, Procurement and Human Resource systems are being replaced and the many call taking operations in multiple departments will be consolidated into a single MC311 call center ensuring prompt and coordinated response. In addition, this effort will result in long term operational savings of $7.5 million annually, with the first such savings being realized in the last quarter of FY10 equaling an estimated $1.875 million.
• $6.8 million for desktop computer modernization, a program that refreshes a schedule of outdated desktops / laptops and provides a responsive Help Desk function for all County departments.
• $15.5 million of Cable Fund revenues to a variety of programs including the Office of Cable and Communications Services that assists residents with cable and broadband service complaints, enforces cable and other telecommunication franchises, and reviews all telecommunications tower and antenna siting requests.
• Funding provided to support cable programming produced by community, government and educational organizations and to support of expansion of the FiberNet system that permits cost-effective, fast, secure broadband communications between public safety agencies, educational facilities, government service centers and much more.
Arts and Humanities
• $5,069,380 for Arts and Humanities.
• $3,963,130 for Arts and Humanities Council includes:
- $3 million for operating support for large organizations.
- $492,930 for grants to small and mid-size organizations, program and arts education grants, and individual artist/scholar grants (a 5 percent reduction from FY09)
- $375,000 for administration and related functions (about the same as FY09)
- For operating support, the Council requested that the Arts and Humanities Council adjust the formula for allocation of grants to avoid large percentage increases or decreases for organizations between FY09 and FY10. The Arts and Humanities Council revised the formula so that an organization’s FY10 grant would not increase or decrease by more than 11 percent of the organization’s FY09 grant award.
• Assistance to individual organizations
- $506,250 for American Film Institute (Silver Theatre operating support)
- $75,000 for Heritage Tourism Alliance (operating support – match for State funds)
- $400,000 for Imagination Stage (facility debt service and/or debt retirement)
- $50,000 for Pyramid Atlantic (facility debt payment)
- $75,000 for Round House Theatre (Bethesda facility maintenance and utilities)
• Initiated a plan to reduce energy consumption in County government facilities by four percent in FY10. Meeting the goal would save an estimated $1.1 million in the next fiscal year.
• Reached agreement with the Prince George’s County Council for a 9 percent rate increase that will provide additional funding for large diameter pipe inspections, fiber optic monitoring, and repairs as well as an increased pace of small diameter water main replacement.
- Department of Environmental Protection
• $11.7 million to fund the Department of Environmental Protection including $8.9 million for the Water Quality Protection Fund.
• Added $270,000 for the staffing of the State of Maryland’s new Clean Energy Center, which is to be located at the Universities of Shady Grove.
• Added $90,000 for a storm drain inventory of Montgomery County Public Schools facilities as required under the County’s new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
• Approved four additional positions in DEP for planning and capital work associated with the new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
• Supported an additional $192,000 for the maintenance of 70 stormwater management facilities (new or recently transferred to DEP for maintenance). DEP inspects all stormwater management facilities in the County (more than 4,000) and currently maintains more than 1,400 stormwater facilities.
- Department of Environmental Protection-Solid Waste
• $102.5 million for Solid Waste Collection and Solid Waste Disposal, fully funding the Executive’s recommended budget.
• Approved modest increases in Solid Waste charges. Single-family residences will see increases of 3.5 percent or less depending on the subdistrict (A or B) in which they reside. Multi-family residences will see virtually no increase (increase of .1 percent)
• Maintains tipping fee at Shady Grove Transfer Station at $56 per ton for non-residential and multi-family transfers.
• Supports the Executive’s recommendation to close the Damascus “Beauty Spot” because of environmental compliance issues at the site.
- Climate Change Implementation
• $30,000 to the Office of Consumer Protection to continue advocacy at the State and Federal levels on energy issues affecting Montgomery County residents.
• $518,000 to continue the Clean Energy Rewards program.
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
• $135 million for M-NCPPC budget.
• $83 million to maintain current level of staffing for parks.
• $19 million to fund planning initiatives including master plans, environmental and transportation analyses, and the development review process.
• A summer study to examine the efficiency of administrative services within the Commission and consider restructuring options.
• New funding for a parking management study to be conducted jointly with County government.
• $30.96 million to fund the Montgomery County Recreation Department.
• Restored three out of the 13 RecExtra after-school program sites recommended for elimination, providing for the continued operation of a total 28 program sites for FY10.
• $80,000 for youth programming to be disbursed to the four recreation regions.
• Increase financial assistance by $100,000 for low-income families to take part in fee-based Recreation Department activities.
• Provide funding to continue the operation of the Piney Branch Elementary School pool.
• $417,000 for operating the Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center, scheduled to open in July 2009.
• $551,170 for operating the Mid-County Community Recreation Center, scheduled to open in November 2009.
• $24,000 to operate the Randolph Road Theater.
• $5.6 million for aquatics programs, including recreational, fitness, instructional, competitive, therapeutic and rehabilitative water activities.
• $2.6 million for camps, classes, and sports programs.
• $11 million for services provided by the Department’s Recreation Regions and Centers.
• $1.7 million for senior adult programs, which include senior centers, neighborhood programs, classes, sports and fitness, trips, and special programs for frail and isolated seniors.
• $534,000 to support land acquisition costs for the Wheaton Community Recreation Center – Rafferty.
• $44.4 million to fund the Department of Liquor Control (an increase of 13.4 percent over FY09).
• $5.3 million in debt service from the Liquor fund for state transportation projects
• Approval for the liquor warehouse to move to the Finnmark property in Gaithersburg to meet industry storage and other safety standards.
Fleet Management Services
• Reduced the County CarShare fleet from 28 vehicles to 18. MC CarShare is a pilot program (began Jan. 1, 2009) where County employees rent hybrid vehicles by the hour instead of using administrative fleet vehicles or traditional rentals. While the Council actively supports the use of this program, it is currently being underutilized. The Council therefore decided that 18 was a more appropriate and cost-effective fleet size while the program is in its infancy.
• Reduced the number of administrative fleet vehicles, saving approximately $1.5 million. In order to achieve this reduction, fleet users will be shifted from administrative fleet vehicles to the MC CarShare program.
• Reduced Enterprise rental expenditures by $100,000. FY09 rentals are projected to cost more than $300,000.
Regional Services Centers
• $4.2 million to fund the East County, Mid-County, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Upcounty and Silver Spring regional centers.
• $125,000 for Emerging Communities Initiative for small community development projects in commercial areas that are not in Urban Districts.
Other Notable Items
• $1.8 million for a total of 47 grants to nonprofit organizations to support a variety of programs and services, including food, eviction prevention, utility assistance and other safety net services to help low income families facing severe economic hardships.
• Funded several youth development proposals from community nonprofit organizations working to provide needed after school programs for County youth.
• $48.6 million for the Division of Risk Management, the self-insurance component of the Department of Finance.
• $8.6 million to fund the Office of Human Resources.
• $2.4 million to fund the Office of Consumer Protection.
• $9.2 million for Community Use of Public Facilities.
• $27.1 million for the Department of Permitting Services.
• $2.2 million to fund the Office of Human Rights, including an increase of $3,000 in administrative expenses for the Human Right Commission.
• $1.2 million to fund the Commission for Women.
• $64,500 for the Montgomery County Historical Society.
Programs Eliminated or Significantly Reduced
• The Teen Club program was totally eliminated from the Recreation Department budget for savings of $595,240 (net savings $184,240 because of lost revenues of $461,000). The program included activities and trips for middle and high school students.
• RecExtra programs offered by the Recreation Department are reduced from 38 to 28 schools for savings of $158,350. Program funding overall was reduced by 57 percent of FY09 levels.
• SHARP Street Suspension Program budget was cut by $342,980, a 75 percent reduction from FY09 approved levels, due to restructuring of the program. Four of the seven existing sites will receive some level of funding to support operations. The other three sites will continue only if the churches and volunteers can sustain programming.
• Implementation of a second ambulance for the recently opened Kingsview (West Germantown) Fire Station will be delayed until FY11, saving $676,590.
• Police staffing reduced by six non-sworn positions in the administration, personnel and crime analysis sections and five vacant positions were eliminated in the Security Services section.
• Only one police recruit class will be held in the upcoming fiscal year. Because there will be only one class in January 2010, four background investigator, two recruiter and a field training coordinator positions were eliminated.
• Save $724,000 by eliminating 10 positions at Montgomery College.
• The Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings was reduced 58 percent (total reduction of $21,510 from the FY09 appropriation of $36,500) in the area of legal and attorney services. This area is for contract attorneys that assist in hearings to maintain a hearing schedule that does not have significant delays. The hearing examiner believes this reduction could delay hearings in some cases.
• Save $150,000 in funding for Chore Services, which provided assistance to elderly or disabled persons who need assistance with heavy housework and trash removal. The program was eliminated because of budget constraints, but had assisted 30 people before it ended. At the time the program ended there were 71 people on the waiting list for these services.
• Saved $135,000 by reducing maximum hours of Respite Care, which provides family caregivers of disabled persons with up to 164 hours of respite services per year. In order to reduce expenditures, the maximum hours will be reduced to 140 per year. While this is the average number of hours used, many families will experience a reduction in this very important service.
• The State reduced the Hepatitis B grant to the County by $161,000 and the County has eliminated a Community Health Nurse in the immunization program. This will impact the County’s ability to provide outreach, education and immunization clinics.
• The State has reduced Cigarette Restitution Funds for prevention, outreach and education by $734,900. This will result in the elimination of three positions in the Department of Health and Human Services and more than $400,000 of contractual services.
• Redistribute/increase the workload for existing analysts in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and abolish a vacant budget specialist position to save $135,000.
• Fill several analyst positions at OMB with interns to save $104,000 (assuming that some of the analyst positions become vacant during the year).
• Save $27,000 by reducing the number of County budget books printed (they are available online).
• Save $122,000 in the Department of General Services (DGS) for the cost of various supplies, reflecting lower prices and reduced use.
• Save $235,000 by reducing miscellaneous maintenance operating expenses in DGS.
• Save $442,000 by assuming efficiencies in administration in DGS from digitizing the work processes. Savings will come in form of paper, toner, copier use, paper storage, filing space (cabinets and floor space for them) and general administrative costs
• Save $1.4 million by assuming that the cost of the various service contracts for maintaining County facilities can be reduced 11.2 percent without reducing the level of service. This seems reasonable due to the fact that the economic recession has reduced the demand for such services and the contractors must reduce their prices to attract customers.
• Eliminated three positions in the Department of Finance: one in Treasury, one in Payroll and one in IT. Total savings of $273,340.
• Phase out mailing of tax bills to homeowners whose mortgage company pays the property tax bill to save $42,950. Savings will come from printing, postage, and handling. Finance explained that the service impact would occur in FY11, not FY10, because it will still mail the FY10 bills, but on or before the end of FY09, using appropriation in the FY09 budget. The savings in FY10 would result from not mailing the FY11 bills in FY10. Instead, Finance would mail a postcard informing residents that they can view and print their bill from Finance’s web site. The FY12 bills (July 2011) will be available only online.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Following is the press release from the County Council.