Charles Aims to Boost School Funding, Enhance Core Services

Charles County Administrator Mark Belton yesterday presented the County’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget of $449,512,800, an increase of 3.7 percent over last year. The spending plan holds taxes steady, enhances core services, invests in criminal justice and public safety priorities, provides funding for transportation and transit services, and funds community public health outreach initiatives.

“I am excited that the proposed fiscal 2022 budget reflects investment in Commissioner priorities,” said County Administrator Belton. “These priorities positively impact our residents, which include improvements and continued efforts in economic development, institutional governance and policy, environment, education, and quality of life.”

The budget increases funding for Charles County Public Schools by $3.97 million, which exceeds Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding and increases per-pupil spending by 4.2 percent. The spending plan also allocates provides the Charles County Sheriff’s Office with funding for two new school resources officers, a systems administrator, and a new mental health liaison position.

“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I look forward to continuing to review the proposed fiscal 2022 budget,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “During this process, the Board is diligently examining the new and current initiatives, programs, and services to ensure our Charles County community’s needs are met this upcoming year.”

The Board of Charles County Commissioners will hold a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:00 pm to receive comments on the proposed general fund and capital operating budgets and constant yield tax rate.

According to a County press release:

The proposed budget includes investments to expand access to programs and services, including:

  • A six-month pilot program offering free service to riders on VanGO once capacity restrictions are lifted, a first among all Maryland jurisdictions designed to eliminate barriers for residents to travel to essential destinations including work, shopping, and educational facilities.
  • A new zoning administrator position to support implementation of updates to the zoning ordinance and sustainability coordinator, which will support climate resiliency initiatives within the Department of Planning and Growth Management.
  • Four new, contractual positions for community outreach workers within the Charles County Department of Health.
  • A new position and restroom facilities at Mallows Bay to prepare for expanded tourism to the park.
  • New investments in criminal justice, including six additional attorneys for the State’s Attorney’s Office, funding for a pre-trial services program, and a coordinator to support the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Capital project funding highlights include accelerated design work for a new middle school; continued support of modernizing our county schools; a retrofit of the current La Plata Library once the new La Plata Library is constructed; two new synthetic turf fields; increased funding for drainage improvement projects; funding for phase three of the Western Parkway; and transportation improvements for Route 301 southbound lanes and traffic signals, Pinefield Road/Maryland Route 5 intersection, and the Billingsley/Bensville Road intersection.

Visit the Charles County website for more information.

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