County Executive Introduces FY 2020 Operating Budget

She says it contains no tax rate increases, but spending goes up by 4.7%


Frederick, Md (KM) A proposed fiscal year 2020 operating budget was introduced on Monday by Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner during a public information briefing.. She calls the spending plan lean, sensible, balanced and fiscally responsible. “The proposed fiscal year ’20 is based on existing tax rates. There is no tax rate increases for either property taxes or income taxes. We live within our means,” she says.

The County Executive’s budget totals $637.7-million which is a 4.78% increase compared to the spending plan for fiscal year 2019, which totaled $608.6-million. . “The budget reflects steady, modest growth in revenues, indicating a strong and vibrant local economy, and good property values,” says Gardner.

She says the budget delivers results when it comes to outstanding schools, safe communities and efficient delivery of services.

The School System receives some additional funding. “The proposed budget provides $12.2-million for our K-12 public schools. This includes about $3.8-million for maintenance of effort, and a total of $4.2-million to support enrollment growth with other things we have to support with the opening of schools,” says Gardner. She also says the budget supports the final year of the transition to the new salary scale for teachers and other school system employees.

She says a new Urbana Elementary School is under construction, and her capital budget contains funding for a new Rock Creek School which will be located in Walkersville. The  Rock Creek School  site in Frederick off of Taney Avenue will be the location of a new Waverly Elementary School. Along with that, Gardner announced a supplemental budget in September of last year to speed up the design of a new east county elementary school, and a 300-seat addition to Oakdale Middle School.

The total amount set aside in the budget for the Board of Education is $295.5-million.

In the area of public safety, County Executive Gardner says there is some additions in her budget for the Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Corrections. “The proposed budget supports law enforcement and corrections by funding the first of   three-years of a newly-negotiated pay scale. We are seeing a growing number of calls for service which is why the budget also authorizes six new sheriff’s deputy positions. The budget also supports additional protective gear and an update to mobile data terminals in the capital budget,” she says.

“To support positive outcomes for individuals in corrections, the budget funds a new position to coordinate and facilitate case management for inmates to improve successful reentry into society. And that’s also a state mandate,” says Gardner.

There’s also some personnel increases in the Division of Fire and Rescue Services. “The proposed budget for Fire and Rescue includes applying for a federal SAFER {Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response} grant to add an additional 38 fire fighter/EMT’s, four additional battalion chiefs to address the supervisory needs of more people in the field, and funding for a health and wellness program,” says Gardner.

There will also be more dispatchers at the 911 call center. “The proposed budget includes an additional six call takers to meet growing call volume and to make progress toward industry staffing standards,” she says. “911 can be a tough place to work to keep pace with the calls and deal with the stressful situations. And staff deserves to be able to take earned time off.”

The budget also has new software that will assist with emergency communications between the schools and the county. It also has a new director of training position at the Emergency Communications Center and puts in a grants position that will be shared with the Division of Fire and Rescue Services, says Gardner.

The County Executive formally presented her budget to County Council President MC Keegan-Ayer. The Council will hold a public hearing on the budget on Tuesday, April 30th beginning at 6:00 PM.


By Kevin McManus