Caroline County recently passed its FY 2017 operating budget of $45.5 million and capital budget of $9.4 million without increasing taxes or user fees.
According to the county’s budget documents,
The budget approved by the Commissioners kept the property and income tax rates unchanged. The County’s property tax rate will continue to be 98 cents per $100 of assessed value. The income tax rate will remain at 2.73 percent. User fees will remain largely the same in the coming fiscal year. The County expects to receive about $45.5 million in total revenues.
A major focus of the FY 17 budget is public safety. Increased resources in law enforcement, volunteer fire, and emergency services feature prominently. Another theme is capital investment. The Commissioners decision to earmark a previous increase in the income tax rate for infrastructure is paying dividends. Finally, the focus of unfunded liabilities – County bills that will come due in the future – has given the County badly needed “breathing room” in the operating budget.
The approved budget for any single year is simply a “snapshot” of a much more complex picture. In isolation, the FY 17 budget for Caroline County is a thoughtful, carefully crafted budget with reasonable levels of revenues, expenses, and capital investment. When considered against the backdrop of the past 10 years, however, the budget approved by the County Commissioners is a testament to wise fiscal management and milestone showing a fiscally-challenged County government on the road to recover.
Ken Decker, Caroline County Administrator, also added,
A major theme of the FY 17 budget is capital investment. It’s critical to maintain (and improve) our vast infrastructure of roads, bridges, and facilities. On that note, we’ve started to make real progress in replacing older vehicles and equipment and in fixing up County buildings. We want to ensure everyone has the right tools to do the job and an place of work they can take pride in.