She will release her proposed operating & capital budgets next month.
Frederick, Md (KM) Citizens came out to make budget requests to the Frederick County Executive Thursday night, as she gets ready to release her proposed spending plans for fiscal year 2020.
Brad Young, the President of the Frederick County Board of Education, asked the county continue to fund the final year of the salary scale for school system employees. He noted that the School System had suffered during years of maintenance of effort funding when there was no new money coming in. “We know that the County Executive and members of the County Council understand the critical for teacher pay in Frederick County to be fair and competitive,” he said. “The $17.7-million that we need this coming year to finish the transition is critical to moving forward to that promise that we’ve made.”
Frederick County Teachers Association President Missy Dirks said this new salary scale is making a difference in local public schools. “Every time I’ve gone into a school this year, teachers have stopped me and said ‘thank you. The salary transition is allowing me to stay here and teach in the community I care about.’ But there is also worry that the investments won’t be long term, and that we will go backwards again,” she said.
Frederick Community College President Libby Burmaster asked for $1,065,000 for a cost of living increase for employees. She said FCC receives funding from the state, the county and the students through fees and tuition. “We place a high priority for maintaining affordability for our students. And to continue to provide an affordable education, our board has proposed to increase tuition by $3 per credit to in-county residents.” she said. “To provide a COLA increase for all, it would request this additional revenue. And it’s critical that we provide that increase to our employees to mitigate rising health care costs, and to remain competitive in attracting high quality employees.”
A majority of the speakers asked the County Executive to support the request from Animal Control for an additional officer and vehicle, and more funding for food and medical care at the animal shelter. . “Each and everyone of these items is a priority for one part of the population that cannot advocate for itself. And that’s our domestic animals,:” says Tammy Benson, a volunteer at the animal shelter. “Each day, an average of 11 animals are admitted to the Frederick County Animal Control. That added up last year to 3,955.”
Erin Riley said that additional money will be spent wisely by Animal Control. “I have seen first hand how the shelter makes every penny count. They don’t ask for much so when they do, you should know that they really need it,” she said. “If granted the additional funding requested, you can rest assure that they make excellent use of that funding, and it will yield actual, tangible results.”
The amount requested from Animal Control is $102,693 for the additional animal control officer due to an increase in calls for service. The request also includes $3,000 increase in the animal food account, and $15,000 more for veterinarian account.
County Executive Jan Gardner told the audience she will release her proposed fiscal year 2020 operating and capital budgets on April 15th. The Council will hold its own hearings and could make some adjustments to the spending plan. It must vote on a budget by May 31st.
By Kevin McManus