Cecil Exec Hornberger’s Budget Includes Property Tax Cut

Cecil County Executive Danielle Hornberger this week released her fiscal 2022 budget. The County Executive’s proposed budget is fully balanced, cuts property tax rates, protects the County’s AA+ bond rating, preserves reserve funds, and maintains high-level services for the residents of Cecil County.

“I am proud to introduce a budget that is balanced, provides a property tax cut to residents and businesses, and funds the services that are critical to our County’s growth and our resident’s safety,” said County Executive Hornberger. “Implementing tax relief was a promise I made to Cecil County residents when I took office, and I am pleased to have kept that promise. And, I will continue to identify efficiencies and ways to lower taxes.”

According to a County press release:

The following are some highlights from the Proposed FY 2022 Budget:

  • The proposed budget cuts the real property tax rate to $1.0279 per hundred dollars and the personal property tax rate for businesses to $2.5698 per hundred dollars, which represents a 1.3% reduction. This is the first time in the history of Cecil County charter government that property taxes have been cut.
  • To retain and attract a highly qualified and trained workforce within Cecil County Government, the proposed budget includes a step increase and a COLA for all county employees.
  • The County Executive’s proposed budget fully funds a new Domestic Violence Division within the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office as well as a Victim Witness Coordinator.  In addition, the proposed budget funds the creation of five additional office spaces for the State’s Attorney’s Office allowing them to remain in the Courthouse for at least 5 additional years.
  • To fully integrate Cecil County’s Department of Emergency Services’ communications system (including the 911 system) with the State of Maryland’s communication system, the proposed budget includes the purchase of the final phase of the new P-25 Motorola communications system.  The County’s Volunteer Fire Companies are also slated to receive three new lifesaving vehicles.
  • The proposed budget supports the Cecil County Department of Health by funding a new roof at their facility in Elkton.
  • To further protect, preserve and promote Cecil County’s rural and agricultural heritage, the proposed budget restores $650,000 in agricultural land preservation funds.
  • The County Executive’s proposed budget increases the Public School’s per student funding by 2.5% and increases overall funding by $2.875M above the State’s Maintenance of Effort calculation.  This additional money helps fund a new School of Manufacturing Technology as well as utility infrastructure improvements at the Board of Education’s Bayview campus.
  • The proposed budget meets the State of Maryland’s Maintenance of Effort calculation for Cecil College’s operation budget, thus allowing the college to receive its full allotment of State funding.  In addition, it includes funding for the College’s requested transfer of their truck driving school to their North East campus, full funding of their new entrance, and phase 1 funding of a new facilities building.
  • The overall funding for the Cecil County Library System, in the proposed budget, is increased by 12.7% ($818,798). This overall total includes a small cut to the Library’s operation budget but a large increase to the Library’s debt service (which is paying for the new North East Library over the next 20 years). The new North East Library will open at the end of April 2021.
  • The County Executive’s proposed budget also endorses the second-year fund allocation plan of the $3 million VLT fund program (the three-year plan was created in FY2021).  Highlights of the VLT allocation include money for Broadband, Substance Abuse, Economic Development, Infrastructure, Community Services, and Education.
  • The County Executive’s proposed budget creates a position within the IT Department to work closely with the Federal Government, the State, and private sector providers to champion broadband to unserved areas of Cecil County.
  • The proposed budget will provide funding to complete Chesapeake City Elementary School and for the initial design work for the new North East Middle School.
  • To afford citizens a seamless and more efficient interface with County Government, the proposed budget provides funding for the IT Department to migrate to a web-based portal that will allows citizens to submit permits, report issues, and engage with county services from their home computer or phone.
  • To show the County Executive’s continued strong support for law enforcement, the FY 2022 proposed budget increases the Sheriff’s budget by 9%, which includes a salary increase and a new evidentiary room.
  • The FY 2022 proposed budget also includes funding for a much needed upgrade of the County’s Animal Shelter with an integrated sprinkler system.
  • The County Executive’s proposed budget also includes funds for environmental engineering as the first phase in an effort to relocate the Interstate 95 toll location from its current location in Perryville to a more central location in the County, which will save Cecil County residents significant commuter costs.
  • The FY 2022 proposed budget funds the Belvidere Road Interstate 95 Interchange project, upgrades to four bridges, a new Central Fuel Point, a new Paramedic Station, and the upgrade to Belvidere Road between Rt 40 and 95.

The County Council will conduct hearings on the fiscal 2022 budget over the next two months, with their first meeting taking place on April 6. The Council will then vote on the fiscal 2022 budget no later than June 15, 2021. County residents are encouraged to review the FY 2022 Proposed Budget in Brief, and the proposed expense and proposed revenue report on the County’s website.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.