The Frederick Board of County Commissioners today approved the FY2015 Operating Budget calendar and took initial steps toward development of the proposed base budget.
Board President Blaine Young commented, "We invite citizen feedback on the development of the last operating budget under this county commissioner form of government. The next time around, it will be up to the Charter Government county executive to work on crafting a budget.
"The Budget Committee is already hard at work developing a base budget to present to the board on December 19. With continuing financial challenges facing our economy, we have told our departments that they will only be able to request additional funding for items that are required legally, based on a previous board action, required due to a new facility opening or
operating costs, or a contractual obligation.
"As with any county budget, there are many variables and challenges that will play a role in the approval of the final budget on June 5, 2014. We must plan carefully and also be ready for any changes in the economy, the legislature, federal requirements, emergencies and many things that could affect our budget. We value the input from our Budget Committee, County Manager
Lori Depies and the outstanding team of division and department directors who make up Frederick County Government in the development of this important budget.
"We would also like to stress as we have in the past that while last year’s funding for Frederick County Public Schools was at the ‘Maintenance of Effort’ level, Frederick County’s Local Education Effort has exceeded the state average since 2007, according to information prepared by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. The county commissioners support education
and we included an additional $3.1 million into the last budget for the Board of Education to supplement a state security grant initiative, school renovation projects at Liberty Elementary School and Brunswick High School, and various technology initiatives.
"We will post the operating budget calendar on the budget page of the county website and encourage citizen input in the coming months. As always our number one focus is to have compassion for the taxpayers, and that is the main reason we are proposing to keep tax rate the same for our citizens."
The board agreed on the following items to be included in the proposed base budget:
- Maintaining a property tax rate of $1.064.
- Estimated inflation for healthcare costs will be reflected.
- The Board of Education will be budgeted at "Maintenance of Effort," which will include approximately $8.4 million for year three of the four-year phase-in of the teacher pension shift.
- Frederick Community College will be budgeted at last year’s level, including the additional requested $250,000 to fully restore the $1 million prior reduction in funding.
- Tax equity will be computed using the same method as FY2014, including the tax differential for The City of Frederick and Town of Myersville.
- There will be no budgeted funds dedicated to the non-government agency programs and grant-in-aid agencies without a memorandum of understanding in place for FY2015.
- A two percent cost-of-living adjustment and merit increase for all eligible county employees.
The FY2015 Operating Budget calendar may be found at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/budget.
For additional information, contact Budget Officer Regina Howell at 301-600-3191 or via e-mail at rhowell@FrederickCountyMD.gov.