County Executive Leggett Urges Council Not to Add New Expenditures

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Montgomery County Executive Leggett met with County Council Members earlier this week to urge them not to add new expenditures to his proposed FY 2016 budget. The $5 billion budget proposed by Leggett increases spending by 1.4%. Council members have proposed a series of reductions and new spending which would add $21 million to the budget.

As reported by the Washington Post,

The add-ons include $10.9 million for Montgomery College, $2 million for the county’s new publicly funded campaign finance system, $1.7 million for parks improvements and $541,000 in grants to arts and humanities organizations. At the same time, the council is considering a proposal by council member Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) to reduce the county’s fuel energy tax rate by 10 percent. The cut would decrease projected revenue by $11.5 million, Leggett said.

Leggett told the council that the addition of ongoing costs without revenue to offset them will only increase the size of what is likely to be a significant property tax increase in next year’s budget. But he also said he will be sending his own supplemental appropriation requests, including $6 million for new voting machines and upgrades to the fire department’s emergency communications center. He is also asking for $4.8 million to cover snow removal costs from this past winter.

The County Council is scheduled to take final action on the proposed budget on May 21.