Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh released his FY 2016 budget last week, which will reduce the county’s property tax rate by 3% and provide funding for schools, public safety, and waterways. The county press release outlines the County Executive’s five-point strategic plan.
- Proposing 3% Property Tax Cut: The $18 million reduction in taxes, made possible in part through savings found in the budget, is designed to benefits all property owners in our county, especially seniors on fixed incomes and small business owners.
- Improving our Education System: The budget contains planning funding for a new Crofton High School and to study the feasibility of building two, smaller high schools to replace the Old Mill Complex.
- Enhancing Public Safety: The budget plan includes funding for 30 new public safety personnel, new police academy and 3% compensation increase.
- Reforming County Government: With an overall reduction in non-public safety departmental budgets, investments in technology and a hiring freeze, the budget makes county government more efficient and effective with $4 million in annual savings.
- Improve Our Waterways: The budget protects our waterways and the Bay through $70 million to support critical projects, including 1.5 miles of stormwater pipe repairs, over 300 outfall projects, 74 stormwater pond retrofits, and 9 miles of stream restorations.
An article in the Annapolis Capital provides more detail on how these items will be paid for and council member’s views of the proposed budget.
But the proposal to fund it — and free money to begin long-awaited capital spending across Anne Arundel County — drew skepticism from county councilmen worried this will force future generations to pay for Schuh’s tax cut and ambitious projects.
Schuh’s campaign centered on a $19 million property tax rate cut, and he predicted an increase in county revenue driven by an improving economy would help fund it. His first budget showed modest 1.7 percent growth over last fiscal year.
So, to pay for capital projects, Schuh is proposing to lengthen the life of bonds the county issues from 20 to 30 years, freeing $25 million a year over the next six years to start long-awaited projects.
More details on County Executive Schuh’s proposed FY 2016 budget can be found on the county’s website.