Charles Budget Proposal Prioritizes Core Services, Education, Public Safety

EWzDSmaUYAEpE8cCharles County Administrator Mark Belton today presented the fiscal 2021 budget proposal to the Board of County Commissioners. The total proposed operating budget is $433,441,200, an increase of two percent over last year.

The budget proposal protects core services, exceeds maintenance of effort funding for Charles County Public Schools, and preserves necessary operations for the Sheriff’s Office.

“The proposed budget balances short-term needs with long-term priorities, but there is no doubt that difficult choices were made during this process,” Belton said. “This approach was vital for maintaining the current tax rate and protecting the county’s hard-earned triple-A bond rating.”

The budget outlook has changed since planning began last fall. While revenue growth in property taxes has been stable, economic stability is more fragile due to the closure of all non-essential businesses and significant unemployment due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

According to a press release:

The proposed budget does include the addition of 10 positions for Advanced Life Support (ALS) providers in Waldorf because data shows that our community needs it to ensure adequate emergency services. To address the shortfall in revenue, the county did not fully fund the budget requests from Charles County Public Schools and the Sheriff’s Office, which comprises approximately 71 percent of the budget. The county’s executive leadership team also identified several internal government efficiencies to reduce expenditures in next year’s proposed budget.

Commissioners will consider the proposed operating and capital budgets and may make changes before it is scheduled for adoption on Tuesday, May 19. A virtual public hearing will be held on the proposed budget on Tuesday, May 5, at 6 p.m. The public may comment on the proposed budget during the hearing, through an online comment form, by phone message or by mail. Instructions for participating are available on the website at www.charlescountymd.gov.

Visit the Charles County website for more information.

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