Leggett Submits Budget Adjustments, Millions More for Schools
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today submitted to the Montgomery County Council recommended adjustments to the FY15 Operating and Capital Budgets using funds set aside in March to address the uncertainty about State legislative actions. Leggett recommends adding eight school resource officers, $9.3 million for additional road maintenance and improvements and $41.306 million in GO bond funding for new and expanded schools to equal the Superintendent’s FY15-20 Capital Improvements Program request for school construction.
Leggett has made road maintenance and resurfacing a priority of his administration over the last eight years. Today’s budget request boosts road maintenance and repairs even further with an additional $9.3 million, using $8.334 million in FY14 GO bond funding and an additional $992,000 in State aid.
“For the eight years before I took office, the County spent only $37 million on our primary and arterial roads,” said Leggett. “My budgets have included $67 million – an increase of 80 percent. The eight years prior to my taking office saw only $18 million spent on our residential and rural roads. My eight years have totaled $138 million – a 676 percent increase.”
In addition, Leggett’s request adds eight additional resource officers to schools. These are sworn police officers assigned to middle and high schools.
“Having increased officers means so much when it comes to us addressing some of the issues that we’re continuing to see in a lot of our schools throughout the country,” said Craig Rice, president, Montgomery County Council. “Making sure that there’s another person that our children can confide in and talk to is so important and the fact is, these officers improve safety not just in our schools, but in the broader community as well.”
The school construction budget modification, increases Leggett’s funding for Montgomery County Public Schools to $1.528 billion – an all-time high, and an 11.9 percent increase over last year’s funding.
“Historically, major initiatives to establish new funding mechanisms in Annapolis have required a multi-year effort, and increasing school construction funding is no exception,” said Leggett. “Just as we prevailed in boosting transportation funding, I am optimistic that we will ultimately prevail in obtaining a new revenue stream for school construction here in Montgomery County that is over and above our normal allocation. Our broad partnership with Baltimore and Prince George’s counties and with the Board of Education and Parent-Teacher Associations will continue to pressure the State to adequately invest in education so that we are able to build and renovate our schools in a timely way.”
Highlights of the other key recommendations in today’s budget request are listed below:
- Add $18.5 million for Purple Line related projects at Bethesda Station South, Capital Crescent Trail, and the Silver Spring Green Trail;
- Add $100,000 to purchase additional automated external defibrillators for police vehicles;
- Add $400,000 in State Rural Legacy Program funding to protect 70 to 90 acres of land in the County, adding to the 4,875 acres of agricultural land protected through the program.
- Adjust the Water Quality Fund to pay for enhancements for the Soil Conservation District to support the County’s water quality improvement efforts, help farmers improve the water quality in streams and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay;
- Fund replacement of the Lyttonsville Place Bridge concrete deck; and
- Add community grants to support senior transportation, behavioral health outreach and education, youth leadership programs and workplace excellence.
Leggett is also continuing to reserve funds for cleanup should Montgomery County experience severe weather this spring and for any costs incurred by our public safety department that may be required to comply with the DeWolfe v. Richmond decision.