Wicomico County’s Proposed Budget Maintains Tax Rates, Slightly Increases Spending

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver released his proposed FY 2016 budget last week. The $129 million proposed budget is slightly more than the current year and maintains all current tax rates. The county executive’s narrative on the budget describes how the budget was constructed.

The FY16 estimated recurring revenue of $122,815,651 will cover our debt service, recurring educational, public safety, pension, health care, general government, culture and recreation, and community development ongoing expenses. In addition, I am proposing the use of $6,184,592 of General Fund prior year revenue to pay for one-time operating costs, pay-go Capital Improvement Plan funding, and minor capital/infrastructure spending bringing the total proposed General Fund Budget to $129,000,243; a change of $266,435 or 0.2% increase over last year’s budget. This increase accommodates a $910,527 recurring expenditure for the Board of Education as a result of State mandated increases in Maintenance of Effort and Teacher Pension funding. It also accommodates $222,288 to fund the County’s commitment to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement executed February 19, 2015. In addition this budget proposes the appropriation of $2,837,923 in unassigned capital funds plus the proposed issuance of $15,760,000 of new debt to fund approved CIP projects. Of the proposed new debt amount, $10,558,228 is contemplated for Board of Education priority systemic renovations.

To assist with constructing the budget, county agencies were asked to reduce operating expenses by 2.5%. Agencies exceeded this request and submitted reductions totaling 6.4%.

The County Council will begin its process of holding public hearings with the approval of the budget taking place no later than June 15.

Information on the County Executive’s proposed budget can be found on the county’s website.