Montgomery County Council picture

Council FY 2014 Budget Forum (Photos)

The Montgomery County Council hosted a budget forum on fiscal year 2014 on Nov. 29 at the Council Chambers.

The 90-minute session began at 7:30 p.m. and included a presentation on the challenges that the Council and County Executive will face in formulating a balanced budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1.

“The past few years have been economically challenging for the County as they have been for individuals, families, and businesses all across the country,” said Council President Roger Berliner. “The upcoming year’s operating budget looks like it will be no less difficult.”

“As we strive to promote a more open and transparent county government, this meeting is an important opportunity to hear from a broad range of community stakeholders about their budget priorities for the coming year,” said Council Vice President Nancy Navarro. “At the same time, we will share the significant budget challenges and tough choices that lie ahead.”

The FY14 budget process will be significantly impacted by recent changes in State law regarding K-12 public education funding. The changes have added a layer of complexity to the County’s budget deliberations and fiscal outlook as the Maryland General Assembly recently amended the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) law that governs local education funding and shifted a large portion of the cost of teacher pensions to the County.

“It is essential for the Council to understand how legislative changes at the state level will impact the County’s operating budget in Fiscal Year 2014 and how these changes will impact the County’s ability to fund government services over time,” said Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who chairs the Council’s Education Committee. “This budget forum is an opportunity for the Council to share information with community organizations throughout the County and to discuss how state budget decisions impact services at the local level.”

The County’s Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) recently analyzed how continuing economic pressures and the recent changes in local school funding requirements would affect the Council’s budgeting and fiscal planning in FY14 and future years. The Council received the report and an initial briefing on Oct. 16. The Council’s Education Committee and Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee held a worksession on the report the following week.

“We would now like to broaden the conversation by including a wide range of County stakeholders and community leaders,” said Berliner.

County departments are already working on early stages of the FY14 budget. County Executive Isiah Leggett is required to present his recommended budget to the Council by March 15. The Council and its committees will analyze the recommendations, make adjustments and adopt the budget by late May. Here’s a look at some scenes from the budget forum.

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