Wednesday, May 19, 2010

County Budget Basics in Place (Updated)

The basic items in the FY 2011 budget were settled this afternoon. Here's the rough outline.

Furloughs: All non-school employees, including the police and fire fighters, will be taking furloughs. They will be progressively structured. Employees making $50,000 or less will have to take three days, employees making between $50,000 and $100,000 will have to take five days and employees making over $100,000 will have to take eight days. School system employees will not be furloughed.

School Budget: The schools will be getting $25 million less than the County Executive proposed. MCPS will have to allocate the cut and the county's maintenance of effort waiver application will be amended to reflect it. The school system will not be suing the county.

Energy Tax: The tax will go up by 85%, not 100% as the County Executive proposed. The increase will be split 50-50 between residents and businesses, not 73% towards business as the Executive wanted. The overall increase will be 58% on business. The tax will sunset in two years. Phil Andrews was the only vote against it.

Carbon Tax: Roger Berliner's bill to tax Mirant's Dickerson power plant $5 per ton of carbon emitted passed 8-1 with Mike Knapp voting against.

Ambulance Fee: The council passed it 5-4, with George Leventhal, Mike Knapp, Nancy Floreen, Marc Elrich and Duchy Trachtenberg voting in favor. Trachtenberg had opposed the fee previously.

Reserve: Will be 6% in Fiscal 2011, not a lower amount as the school unions had wanted.

We believe the above budget outline will attract support from at least eight Council Members at the straw vote on Friday.

Update: Here are the Gazette's reports on the school budget and the ambulance fee.

Update 2: The straw vote on the budget is now scheduled for tomorrow at 1:30 PM.