County Council Calls Leggett Budget ‘A Solid Template’ (VIDEO)
They said they were sure the spending plan would go through changes as it passes through council committees before its adoption.
“It’s a solid template that we will modify as we do, but it’s a good starting point for our deliberations,” Council President Roger Berliner said.
Leggett released his fiscal 2018 budget proposal Tuesday morning. Usually, such releases are accompanied by some hoopla, where the county executive uses the event to show off new initiatives. The nor’easter that coated roadways with several inches of snow forced the cancellation of the ceremony.
In his $5.4 billion budget proposal, Leggett provides Montgomery County Public Schools with $25 million more than would be required under the state’s “maintenance of effort” law, which is just a bit shy of what the county Board of Education sought.
“I’m obviously pleased the county executive fully funded the school system’s request,” Berliner said. “That’s a top priority for our county.”
The budget meets the so-called charter limit, which restricts growth in tax revenue to inflation, unless a unanimous County Council agrees to an increase.
“I think it’s fair to say this is a steady-as-you-go budget, and is a strong starting point for our council to do its work,” Berliner said.
Councilmember George Leventhal said the budget did not include some of the programs sought by members of the council’s Health and Human Services Committee, which he chairs, in particular, funding to provide homes for the chronically homeless and an expansion of pre-kindergarten.
Councilmember Hans Riemer is proposing the county spend $5 million to make part-day Head Start become full day.
Leventhal said the county has set a target date for the end of 2017 to end homelessness. Last year, the county declared it eliminated homelessness among veterans.
The councilmember said the county has 274 chronically homeless individuals, and the county estimates housing and services for each would be about $23,000 a year.
The budget document can be found here.