Worcester Budget Invests in Infrastructure, Public Safety, Schools, Other Essential Services

The Worcester County Commissioners approved a nearly $227 million fiscal 2023 operating budget that prioritizes schools, public safety, infrastructure, and other essential services — without raising local income or property rates.

Worcester County Maryland SealThe approved budget reflects an increase of $10.4 million (five percent) over the current year’s budget while reducing the requested expenditures of $229.6 million by $2.7 million. The fiscal 2023 budget maintains the real property tax rate of 84.5¢ per $100 of assessed value and the County’s local income tax rate of 2.25 percent.

According to a County press release:

Anticipated General Fund Revenues
• Based on the Real Property tax rate of $0.845, NET property taxes increased by $4,122,207.
o The Homestead Credit cap remains unchanged at 3% and is estimated to be $1,717,809
for the County’s qualified principal resident homeowners effective July 1, 2022.
• Income Tax revenue increased by $8,000,000 and is estimated at $38,000,000 and remains the same at 2.25%. Revenues are based on the market conditions and estimates for the current year. The pass through to Municipalities is included for $2.6 million.
• Revenue from Other Local Taxes increased by $330,000 for the following: $30,000 increase in
Room Tax administration and $300,000 in Room Tax collections for Unincorporated areas in
the County, both estimates are based on the current trends.
• State Shared Revenues increased by $103,288 due to an increase estimate for Highway User
revenue.
• Licenses and Permits increased by $70,855 overall. Significant changes include increases of
$10,000 for vending machine licenses, $15,000 for building permits and $52,455 for health
permits. A decrease of $26,000 is included for the occupational licenses which is a biannual
license.
• Charges for Services decreased by $1,411,340 with a decrease of $1,500,000 in ICE housing
revenue as the most significant change. Increases include $20,000 in recreation fees, $12,100 in
recycling revenue and $22,760 in park fees.
• Interest on investments decreased by $100,000 based on current rates of return.
• Other Revenues increased by $180,143 with an increase of $150,000 in expected sales of assets and an increase of $28,258 in rent revenue.
• Federal grants project a decrease of $11,727 due to decreased estimates for Homeland Security Grant revenue.
• State grants increased overall by $21,330. Increases include $200,000 in State park receipts,
$55,000 in Waterway Improvement grants, $16,895 in 911 grants, and $23,387 in a Family
Support grant. The significant decreases include $327,500 in Program Open Space grants and
$10,000 in conservation easement reimbursements.
• Transfers in decreased by $897,189.
o Prior year surplus decreased by $283,296 and Casino/Local Impact Grant Funds decreased by $613,893.
Major Approved General Fund Expenditures County Departments and Agencies:
A summary of significant increases and decreases in approved expenditures include the following:
• State’s Attorney Office increased by $969,958.
o Increased by $863,639 in salaries and includes six additional Assistant State’s Attorneys
and six Legal Assistants.
o Increased by $135,489 in supplies and materials which includes dues, licenses,
subscriptions, software maintenance and office furniture.
• Elections Office increased by $110,275 and includes Gubernatorial early voting, Primary
Election, and General Election.
o Increased by $41,211 in salaries which includes salary increases by the State Board of
Elections of in FY23.
o Increased by $63,553 in supplies and materials mainly due to new poll books.
• Sheriff’s Office increased by $815,262.
o Increased by $606,854 in salaries and includes 2 new full-time Support Specialists and an additional 3,964 hours for existing part-time positions.
o Increased by $623,384 in supplies and materials for body cameras, software licensing and
software maintenance.
• Fire Company Grant is included for $2,520,000 based on the current funding of $250,000 to each fire company and the supplement for $20,000.
• Ambulance Grants is included for $6,343,244, an increase of $247,612 and includes
supplemental funding for 10 EMS companies to assist with staffing.
• Public Works Department increased by $203,678.
o Increased by $160,800 in maintenance and services due to increased consulting services
and fleet repairs.
• Public Works Maintenance Division increased by $142,268.
o Increased by $178,685 in salaries and includes a Project Manager position.
o Increased by $22,900 in maintenance and services for vehicle safety and warning lights.
• Public Works Roads Division increased by $712,877.
o Increased by $74,530 in supplies and materials for sign materials, a salt brine unit,
patching materials, and pipe.
o Increased by $464,362 in capital equipment for a tractor with long reach attachment, skid
steer, dump truck and 4×4 pick-up truck with snow plow.
• Natural Resources increased by $102,235.
o Increased by $72,235 for Spongy Moth control and $30,000 for beach maintenance.
• Taxes Shared with Towns increased by $301,800.
o Increased by $300,000 for the pass through of the Income Tax distribution to the Towns.
• Grants to Towns increased by $334,776.
o Increased by $258,776 in grants to Towns over the prior year.
o Increased by $76,000 for restricted fire grant to the Towns based on the current formula.
• Insurance & Benefits increased by $1,954,163.
o Increased by $1,268,121 for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) for a total of
$9,500,000. Additional OPEB is provided to the Board of Education for total County
OPEB funding of $12,368,146 in FY23.
o Increased by $290,036 for the retirement plan based on State rates.
o Increased by $256,711 for social security taxes based on the estimated payroll.
o Decreased by $84,125 for Workers’ Compensation insurance plan.
o Increased by $197,427 for Property & Liability insurance due to an increase in premium.
o Increased by $21,440 for Life Insurance.
• Salary accounts increased to include a 4% cost of living adjustment (COLA), a step increase and longevity pay for those County employees that are eligible.

Board of Education

The County allocation for the Board of Education’s (BOE) operating budget is $100,983,605, an increase of $3,981,384 over the current year adopted budget. School construction debt is paid by the County on behalf of the BOE. It is not reflected in the BOE’s budget; however, it is included in the County’s operating budget. The BOE’s approved operating budget of $100,983,605 plus debt service of $12,455,856 totals $113,439,461 or 50% of the County’s total estimated revenue.

Board of Education Requested Employee Salary and Bus Contractor Increase:

The Board of Education (BOE) budget includes the following salary adjustments for FY23:

• The salary package for the BOE reflects a payroll increase of $4,025,396, which includes a step, longevity step for those eligible, a 4% COLA for Teachers and 4.5% COLA for Support Staff employees.

• The bus contracts account increase over FY22 is $247,876 and reflects an increase in the hourly rate from $22.58 to $25.00, increasing mileage from $1.60 to $1.62 and PVA from $20,115 to $20,920.

• Starting Teacher pay would increase 4.0% from $47,795 to $49,707.

The total FY23 Worcester County Education MOE funding per student based on the estimated student population of 6,402.25 equates to $15,169.25 per student for $97,117,331 as compared to total funding as shown below for the estimated total enrollment of 6,803.

Visit the Worcester County website for more information.

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