Carroll County Approves Additional School Funding, Focuses on Needs of Residents

During budget deliberations last week, Carroll County Commissioners have agreed to use one-time funding and funds usually allocated towards school construction projects to bridge some of the $13.8 million gap between the school systems operating funding request and the county’s recommended budget.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun,

During the commissioners’ budget session Thursday, they voted 4-1 to take 1.5 percent of Carroll’s income taxes from CCPS’s capital budget — 9.09 percent is normally allotted — and allocate it to the school system’s operational costs in fiscal year 2016.

That equates to about $2.1 million in additional operational funding. The percentage of dedicated income tax allocated for the school system’s operational budget will remain at 1.5 percent through fiscal 2018 before it decreases to 1 percent in 2019 and further to 0.5 percent in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The commissioners also elected to give $3 million in one-time surplus funding in 2016 and $2 million in 2017 in an attempt to get closer to the school’s $175.8 million county funding request. With these additional operational funding sources, the commissioners have gotten CCPS funding just past $167 million.

The majority of commissioners have agreed that funding schools is a priority. As reported by the Carroll County Times,

Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, said the board will need to focus on the needs of the county’s residents, such as education and public safety, and all other concerns will “have to come second.”

“There are a lot of priorities, but anything that deals with people comes first,” Weaver said. “We’ve already started with the school system with opening lines of communication, but now we need to focus on getting the system up to speed by getting them money to operate.”

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, agreed with Weaver, and said education is the county’s top priority. He also said proper funding of the county’s nonprofits is a necessity to continue to provide adequate levels of service to residents.

Carroll County Commissioners began budget deliberations last week after hearing county agency requests for the two weeks prior. County agencies have requested more than $20 million in additional funding and a number of nonprofit organizations have requested additional funding as well. County revenues are not expected to be able to accommodate these additional requests.

The top eight revenue generators for the county are expected to bring in about $339 million in FY16, almost $10 million more than they did last year, according to county staff. County government also has about $6.9 million in surplus funds, but this will not be enough to cover all the requests.

Staff has recommended the real property tax rate of $1.018 per every $100 of assessed value remain the same in FY16.

Carroll County’s Recommended FY 2016 Operating and Capital Budget