Talbot County Balances Budget On Anticipated Tax Revenues, Public Safety a Priority

The Talbot County Council recently approved a $74.6 million  budget for fiscal 2015, up slightly from the prior year budget of $72.4 million.  As reported by the Star Democrat,

For the third year in a row, the Talbot County Council has crafted a budget that is balanced upon the hope of a slight increase in tax revenues, and does not use general fund reserves, savings and transfers from other funds.

The county’s finance director, Angela Lane, noted that this has been “remarkable after two years prior to this, or four years prior when we had no revenues to meet basic needs.”

The increased revenues are expected to come from an increase in the county’s property tax rate and revenue growth in the county’s income tax.

There is a proposed increase in property tax rates. The county will raise the rates from $0.512 to $0.527 cents per $100 of assessed value.

That 1.5-cent increase will give the county 2.6 percent more from property taxes, reaching a projected overall total of $34,177,500.

“The county income tax rate is to remain the same at 2.4 percent of Maryland taxable income,” Lane said.

The finance office predicts a modest 2.3 percent increase in income tax revenue for a total of $26,600,000.

Public Safety is a priority in the fiscal 2015 budget.

The budget is calling for two new sheriff’s deputies, two additional corrections officers, two additional 911 dispatch operators, and one additional paramedic.

Public safety is proposed to receive a total of $12,630,889, reflecting a 6.92 percent increase.

Other items funded in the budget include:

Monies allotted for county road maintenance are $2,669,865, reflecting a 16.80 percent increase, and funding for health services is proposed to be $2,299,650 reflecting a 17.98 percent raise, which will include health services in the public schools.

And, as a matter of course, the proposed general fund budget continues to meet the state’s mandated “Maintenance of Effort” in county funding of Talbot County Public Schools.

Other proposed increases in the general fund budget are the county’s library system, at 9.97 percent or a total of $1,111,700, and Chesapeake College at 8.86 percent or a total of $1,785,323.

Additional fiscal 2015 budget information can be found on the county’s website.  The approved budget ordinance can be found here.