Queen Anne’s Approved Budget Increases Funds for Education, Holds Tax Rates

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Queen Anne’s County Commissioners approved a $125.1 million fiscal 2016 budget last week, increasing funds for education and holding tax rates. The budget is up slightly from what was originally proposed and is $6.2 million more than the current fiscal year.

As reported by The Star Democrat,

The county will give the board of education $52,850,293, an increase of about $1.3 million from what commissioners originally proposed and short of the additional $6 million the school board wanted.

Commissioners indicated the additional $1.3 million is intended to pay for existing negotiated contracts, which Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol Williamson said would have to be renegotiated if schools didn’t get more money.

To fund the increase to the school system, the Commissioners plan to reallocate recordation tax revenues earmarked for courthouse construction. The courthouse is being paid for through general obligation bonds.

Additional items funded include an employee cost of living allowance and economic development initiatives.

The budget provides a 1.5 percent cost of living allowance for county employees with the exception of employees hired between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2015. Those employees will receive a cost of living allowance at the beginning of the next calendar year. County employees making $40,000 or less will receive at least $600, and county employees making $80,000 or more will receive no more than $1,200 for their cost of living allowance. The county’s pay for performance, using rating levels of one, two or three, has been added to the budget.

A franchise fee fund, BRIDGE economic development fund and hotel tax are new dedicated funds in this year’s budget, all of which aim to enhance economic development and tourism in the county.

More information on the approved fiscal 2016 budget can be found on the county’s website.