The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County this week approved the fiscal 2022 budget, with record funding for schools and public safety.
The Commissioners allocated $114,540,490 for public schools, which is the most significant funding effort in St. Mary’s County history. The funding represents a 4.4 percent increase over the Maintenance of Effort requirement for St. Mary’s County Public Schools. Over the past ten years, the County has provided an average of $4.6 million above the MOE requirement to the Board of Education.
The fiscal 2022 operating budget is $288,664,540, which represents a 7.49 percent increase over fiscal 2021. “This growth is principally related to increased assessments for property and increased Income tax return growth,” said St. Mary’s County Government’s Chief Financial Officer Jeannett Cudmore.
The Sheriff’s Office will receive funding for 36 new full-time positions — principally for the expansion of the St. Mary’s County Detention & Rehabilitation Center — and overall funding exceeds the fiscal 2021 (non-grant) budget by $6 million.
The budget includes compensation increases for Board of Education and Sheriff’s staff, as well as County employees, with a merit equivalent of 2.5 percent and a 1.3 percent cost of living adjustment. The Commissioners also approved a slight reduction in the local income tax rate, which will take effect on January 1, 2022.