Washington County Proposed Budget: No Tax Increase, Modest Growth

Washington County’s proposed FY 2015 budget of $296,328,890 includes an approximate $3.3 million increase in expenditures, but holds the line on property taxes for the 14th straight year. The proposed budget is 2.58% above the FY 2014 approved budget.

The budget was balanced based on the following major changes and objectives:

1. Decline in the assessable base within the City of Hagerstown area

2. Increases in Local Income Tax revenue

3. Decrease of solid waste rate for bulk haulers and increase in utility rates

4. Funding of the Phase I fire plan and workers compensation increases

5. Public Safety operational increases

6. Employee step increases

7. Addressing road repair maintenance

From the HeraldMailMedia.com article,

Projected local taxes — like income tax, admissions and amusement tax, and recordation tax — amount to $78.5 million in the proposed budget, reflecting a 5 percent increase next fiscal year that makes about $4 million more available over the current year.

Murray said unemployment has declined in recent years and, with more people working, income taxes are projected to supply an additional $3.5 million of that local tax for fiscal 2015.

“I think the focus is we’re now starting to come out of the economic decline,” County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said Thursday. “Hopefully, next year we’ll see that happen, and we’re very fortunate” to maintain service levels without a tax increase.

The bulk of the county’s general-fund expenses, as in past years, is going to education ($106.7 million) and public safety ($43.2 million), according to draft budget figures.

To view the proposed FY 2015 budget in detail, visit Washington County’s website.