Council Committees Meet on May 1
The Montgomery County Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee and its Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. on May 1 to discuss the County’s fuel-energy tax rates for the next fiscal year. The worksession is part of the Council’s examination of the recommended budget presented by County Executive Isiah Leggett.
The Council has been reviewing the Executive’s recommended budget as it works toward adopting the FY14 County operating budget in late May. The budget will go into effect on July 1.
The GO Committee, which is chaired by Council President Nancy Navarro and includes Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Hans Riemer, and the T and E Committee, which is chaired by Roger Berliner and includes Councilmembers Riemer and Nancy Floreen, will meet in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The session will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.
A public hearing was held on April 30 on the increased fuel-energy tax rates that have been in place since they were recommended by County Executive Leggett while the County was impacted by financial hardships of the Great Recession.
In his FY11 recommended budget, the County Executive proposed an increase in the tax rates of 100 percent over a two-year period to raise an estimated $133 million. Ultimately, the Council increased the rates to raise 85 percent of the Executive’s recommendation, raising an estimated $114 million. In FY13, the Executive recommended not carrying out his proposal to sunset the tax rate increases and proposed extending the rate increases indefinitely. The Council instead reduced the FY10-11 increase by 10 percent, or $11.4 million.
On April 9, Council President Navarro and Councilmember Phil Andrews each introduced resolutions that would reduce the fuel-energy tax rates in FY14. The Council president’s proposal, which is a placeholder to allow further discussion by the Council, would reduce the FY10-11 increase by an additional 5 percent. Councilmember Andrews’ proposal would reduce the FY10-11 increase by an additional 10 percent.
At 10 a.m., the GO Committee will address the amount of the property tax credit for income tax offset, the amount of property tax revenue that should be raised to fund the FY14 budget and the weighted property tax rate. Decisions on any two of these will effectively determine the third.
The Executive has recommended setting the property tax revenue at the Charter limit (increasing the revenue at the rate of inflation), with a credit of $692. The County’s Department of Finance estimates 244,391 households will be eligible for the credit in FY14.