In a unanimous vote, the Prince George’s County Council adopted a balanced $5.4 billion fiscal 2024 operating budget.
The adopted operating budget totals $4.5 billion. Nearly $2.8 billion, or 62 percent of the budget, directly supports the Board of Education for Prince George’s County Public Schools.
“This year’s budget was particularly difficult to navigate, and like many families sitting around the kitchen table, we had to make difficult choices,” said County Executive Alsobrooks in her budget message.
“That’s because the new funding obligations for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Kirwan) have begun. We are legally mandated this year to provide an additional $88.4 million to our school system. With $180 million in new revenues this year, half of our new revenues are legally mandated to go to our school system before we do anything else.”
After receiving the Proposed Budget from County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in March, a revenue write-down, primarily driven by lower-than-expected non-wage and capital gains income, revealed a $60 million gap in the fiscal 2024 spending plan. Instead of cutting services or a tax hike, County Executive Alsobrooks tapped into reserves to cover the shortfall.
The Council held several work sessions, committee budget oversight meetings, and public hearings as part of its review and adoption process. Prince George’s County Council Chair Council Tom Dernoga, noting the impact of the $60 million revenue shortfall, thanked his Council colleagues and residents for their engagement during the budget process but ultimately expressed disappointment that the final budget package failed to fund Council initiatives like Guaranteed Basic Income program, the Healthy Restaurants Program, and various public programs aimed at reducing crime.
“Over the last few months, guided by the core tenets of the People’s Agenda, Council Members, as a body and in our respective districts, have been digging in to ensure Council priorities – your priorities – were reflected in the final spending plan. So, with disappointment, and despite our best efforts, we’re approving a County Budget with serious concern that many of these priorities were not addressed.”
Council-initiated enhancements include:
- The addition of $1.3 million for more firefighters; funding for public safety officials’ disability training; support for the Police Explorers; and a $250,000 investment in the Office of the Sheriff for recruitment and replacement of weapons.
- Council Member Krystal Oriadha secured $250,000 to support the Private Security Camera Incentive Program, also known as the Jayz Agnew Law, named in honor of 13-year-old Jayz Agnew, who was fatally shot in front of his home while raking leaves. The program allows businesses and homeowners to purchase cameras to support law enforcement in addressing and solving crime within Prince George’s County communities.
- The Council also responded to residents, who for years have advocated for safer streets, accessible pathways, and road improvements with an allocation of $2.1 million for additional streetlights and traffic signals, along with $4.5 million for curb and road rehabilitation.
- Additional Council investments include increased funding for noise enforcement and the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council, an additional $3 million for grants to Shepard’sommunity organizations, and $275,000 for United Communities Against Poverty (UCAP) to support Shepard’s Cove Emergency Shelter for women and children.