As reported by the Washington Post, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett released his proposed $4.8 billion fiscal year 2014 operating budget on Friday, March 15. The budget provides funding for police officers, restores library hours, and gives county employees their first pay increase in four years. The budget also proposes a slight property tax increase and continues an expansion on the county’s energy tax.
The budget, a 4.1 percent increase from the current fiscal year, continues a gradual restoration that Leggett began in 2012 as the economy began to recover from a recession that ravaged local governments across the Washington region. In Montgomery, the loss of tax revenue triggered more than $2 billion in budget shortfalls between fiscal years 2008 and 2012, forcing furloughs, elimination of 1,200 county jobs and cuts in everything from road repairs to recreational facilities.
This year’s budget gap, about $136 million, would be closed with a combination of sources, including higher-than-projected income tax revenue, increased state aid and lower-than-estimated debt service costs.