On Tuesday, April 19, County Executive Rick Pollitt is outlining his FY 12 budget proposal to the County Council. The plan is reported by the Daily Times to include an increase in the property tax as well as cuts to education and public safety. A third straight year of furloughs is also part of the proposal. Although the county has a tax cap, Pollitt stated in a council meeting last week, that..”the county’s “revenue cap” is not a factor this year, because property tax revenues are so low that Pollitt can raise the tax rate by 5 cents and still fall within the restrictions of the cap.”
Pollitt has said that without a property tax increase, he’ll have to cut public safety and education even further. It would also undercut Pollitt’s goals of keeping the ferries running, preserving the county park system, repairing Beaglin Park Road, budgeting another $900,000 for roads, providing a $12,000 increase to address rising expenses in the Meals on Wheels program and contributing $131,600 so EMTs in noncounty ambulance services could get raises.
Since the economic downturn, the county budget has been shrinking. In 2008, the county budget was $127.7 million. In 2009, it was $123.9 million; in 2010, it was amended mid-year to $120.7 million; and this year, it was $112.9 million. In this climate, state aid has diminished, particularly in the area of road funding, and in 2012, the county will pick up a new $776,000 state assessment office cost.