Kent County Commissioners Fine-tune Proposed Budget, Focus on Education

At a recent budget work session, the Kent County commissioners worked to fine-tune the proposed FY 2017 budget of $51.3 million, focusing on funding for education. According to MyEasternShoreMD.com,

An issue that has drawn considerable interest is the commissioners’ decision to ask the school district to draw on its fund balance to the tune of $1 million. This appeared to be a retreat from the commissioners’ commitment of $1.6 million in February to cover a $765,857 revenue shortfall, $768,000 for staff raises and $70,000 for student laptops.

In a letter to the school board, signed by the commissioners at the regular May 24 meeting, the decision was explained as using “previously committed dollars that have not been spent.”

The letter also said the commissioners will accept a one-time donation of $300,000 offered by Gov. Larry Hogan to apply to the school budget. The county budget still includes the one-time allocation of $70,000 to purchase laptop computers for students.

In other budget highlights, (Commissioner) Pickrum said he opposed a projected 4 percent increase in county water and sewer fees. He said it was unfair to residents on fixed incomes, who haven’t received a cost of living adjustment in several years.

Merritt said the total impact of the increase would be about $86,000.

(Commissioner) Fithian agreed with Pickrum that the water and sewer budget could be balanced without the increase.

County staff will receive a blanket 3 percent raise this year. The increase includes employees at the county libraries, the humane society and the University of Maryland Extension office.

Read the full article on Kent County’s proposed budget here.

Further detail is available on the county website.

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