Council Unanimously Adopts $6.3 Billion Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

Montgomery County Council unanimously approved the $6.3 billion Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget and $5.3 billion Fiscal Years 2023 to 2028 capital budget Thursday morning.

The budget, which does not increase taxes, was adopted with no comments. However, councilmembers have been meeting for weeks discussing the budget, department by department.

“Montgomery County’s $6.3 billion operating budget and six-year capital budget create the foundation for what is most important to us: a community with excellent schools, housing for all our residents, strong economic development, green spaces for recreation and relaxation, safe neighborhoods, robust libraries, strong public health services, resources for older adults to age in place with grace, a healthy environment and an essential safety net for our most vulnerable residents,” Council President Gabe Albornoz said in a news release.

Following adoption, Councilmember Andrew Friedson said, “I am proud to say that we were able to fulfill our fiscal obligations without raising taxes on our residents who are still recovering from the pandemic. Of course, a single number and short description can’t possibly capture the magnitude of investment and impact these programs have, but our hope is that this graphic will demonstrate the value and values we worked hard to uphold in this budget process.”

The budgets include increased money for education, expansion to access of health and human services, efforts toward expanding affordable housing and measures to continue recovering from the pandemic. It also includes salary increases for frontline employees.

Almost half of the operating budget is for Montgomery County Public Schools, which will receive a 5% increase from last year’s operating budget.

The capital budget includes $1.7 billion for school construction and $26 million for two years of funding of the High School Wellness Center project. It also funds several projects at Montgomery College.

It includes funding for a new library in Clarksburg, development of a Restoration Center for those experiencing mental health or substance abuse problems, completion of the South County Regional Recreation and Aquatic Center and improvements at Wheaton Regional Park.

The public safety budget is 4.5% higher than it was last year and includes 24 new police positions, of which all but three are civilian. It also includes efforts to hire and retain more public safety employees, 300 body worn cameras and less lethal protective instruments such as pepper ball guns.

Fire and Rescue Services’ budget was increased 8% to $251.8 million.

While Ride on and Call-n-Ride services are funded to be restored to pre-pandemic levels, Ride On trips no longer will be free. They will cost $1 for most fares.

The county’s Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice is funded at $1.2 million with personnel costs making up three-quarters of the total.

Health and Human Services’ budget increased by almost 16% with funding for food security and mental health as top priorities. The recreation department also received a budget increase.

Department of Environmental Protection budget jump by 116%.

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