She also unveils her capital budget, 6-year CIP.
Frederick, Md (KM) Work continues on crafting a proposed operating budget for Frederick County for fiscal year 2022. County Executive Jan Gardner said her final spending plan won’t be released until April. But she provided some details during her public information briefing on Tuesday.
“The fiscal year ’22 budget is based on maintaining our existing tax rate. There are no tax rate increases proposed for either property taxes or income taxes,” she said. “During my administration, Frederick County has and will continue to live within our means.”
Gardner also said the revenue picture for the next fiscal year looks good. “I anticipate some growth in revenues reflecting the strength of our economy, which is very diverse; housing and business growth which has continued even during the pandemic, and improving property values.”
But the County has received a number of budget requests. “Budget requests come from the Board of Education, our Community College, county divisions and agencies, our municipalities and others. These requests this year total $65-million dollars,” says Gardner. “And about 46-million of that 65-million is for program expansions or new initiatives.”
Fiscal year 2022 begins on July 1st, 2021.
Also during her briefing, County Executive Gardner discussed the capital budget and six-year capital improvements program, which contains a lot of school projects. “Now, my goal is eliminate school overcrowding. And to achieve that goal, I have made a huge investment in school facilities, investing more than double of the past two administrations’ investments in our school facilities,”: she said. “We also try to balance our new schools with maintaining and renovating our existing schools.”
One of the school projects included in the budget is a new Rock Creek School to be located on the Walkersville Middle School campus. It’s scheduled to open in the fall of 2021. Another project is a new Waverly Elementary School which will be the largest grade school in the county. “Designed to solve severe school overcrowding on the west side of the city of Frederick. The new school will have 11,019 seats and will open to students in August, 2023. It is a two-year construction and it includes the removal of the existing schools on this site,” Gardner says.
Other school projects include a new Brunswick Elementary School, Blue Heron Elementary School, and a 300-seat addition to Crestwood Middle School.
Three fire stations are contained in the six-year CIP. Gardner says water and sewer extensions will be constructed in 2021 for a new Green Valley Fire Station. “A much need Carroll Manor Fire Station in Adamstown is funded for design in fiscal year ’24, with construction in fiscal year ’26. This project also replaces an existing fire station that is need of repair and upgrade that cannot be accommodated on the existing site. And then in the out years it’s planning for the new Jefferson Tech Park fire station,” she says.
Another public safety project is a new medical until at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. Construction will begin in fiscal year 2022. “Now the medical unit expansion is greatly needed. It will help to support the provision of mental health services. And it will provide more space to serve women and their health needs. Now this project is partially funded by the state,” says Gardner.
The CIP also contains parks, libraries and the expansion of the Animal Control Center.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, March 22nd beginning at 7:00 PM.
By Kevin McManus