It is up by nearly 13% over the current spending plan.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater released her proposed fiscal year 2024 budget on Friday. She say it’s designed to move Frederick County forward. “My first budget is anchored in the core values of accountability, inclusion and sustainability. Values that form the foundation of my administration,” she siad..
The operating budget totals $893,660,311. The property tax rate remains the same at $1.06 per $100 of assessed value.
In drafting this budget, Fitzwater said she considered input from many sources. “More than 1500 helped to develop this budget through town halls, our balancing survey or by submitting comments,:” she said.
In a pre-recorded video introducing her budget, Fitzwater said she is providing $405 million to the public school system, which is $35-million over maintenance of effort.. “This is record funding for our schools. Yet it still does not meet the Board of Education’s full request. I look forward to working with Superintendent Dyson, the Board of Education and other stakeholders so we can develop a sustainable approach to implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and assuring our schools are a place where every student can succeed,”: Fitzwater says
Earlier this year, the Board of Education sent over a budget request for fiscal year 2024 totaling $938 million.
Fitzwater also says her capital budget has funding for several school construction projects. “We will open a new Brunswick Elementary School this August. We will begin work on an addition to Crestwood Middle School, a new larger Green Valley Elementary School, and a replacement for Valley Elementary School. We will also begin the design phase to replace Middletown Elementary and MIddle Schools on a co-located campus,” she says.
The proposed spending plan also contains an additional $1.8-million for Frederick Community College. “This will allow FCC to freeze tuition and fees for the second consecutive year, and provide funding equivalent to a five-percent cost of living adjustment for employees which will help retain and attract highly qualified faculty and staff,” says Fitzwater.
There’s also more money for some county employees. “Our employees here in Frederick County Government are some of our greatest assets. People come to work here because they want to serve others. I am committed to investing in our workforce. This proposed budget includes a five-percent cost of living adjustments for non-union employees, and honors the contract with our public safety unions,” says Fitzwater.
And there’s a tax decrease in the proposed spending plan. “The proposed budget reduces the personal income tax for people making less than $25,000 to 2.25 percent,” she says. “This is the lowest rate allowed by state law.”
But Fitzwater says the admissions and amusement tax will be reinstated to fund grant programs “to harness the energy in the arts community and grow our creative economy.”
There’s also something for the 911 center. “Our 911 emergency communications specialists are on the front lines of responding to crises,” says Fitzwater. “The proposed budget provides additional staff, and supports the operations of a new, state-of-the-art, next generation, 911 center, funded through an increase the 911 fee on cell phone bills.”
A public hearing before the County Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25th beginning at 7:00 PM.
For more information on County Executive Fitzwater’s proposed budget, go on line to FrederickCountyMD.gov/Budget.