Elrich Proposes $6.3 Billion Operating Budget

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has laid out his recommended operating budget for Fiscal Year 2023. 

He held a press conference Tuesday to present the $6.3 billion dollar fiscal plan. It includes the highest level of funding for affordable housing at nearly $140 million and the largest budget ever for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) at $2.9 billion. That line item meets 99% of the school board’s request, according to the County

During a weekly briefing Wednesday, Elrich said his budget provides enough resources to meet 100% of student needs. It also sets aside $920,000 to open a new Kennedy High School Wellness Center.

“My administration is exploring options to expand high school wellness centers to those high schools that do not currently offer the service. As an interim step we are recommending $3.7 million to fund enhanced mental health supports at 10 of our high schools with the highest needs,” Elrich said.

He proposed salary increases for police officers, expanding the police recruitment unit, and funds for a new Human Resources officer to support mental health assessments. $5.6 million was proposed for service consolidation hubs and $5.5 million would support new migrants and asylum-seeking people.

Environmental and climate change funding includes $18.6 million for the Montgomery County Green Bank and a new $1 million program to offer incentives for buildings to replace fossil fuel equipment with electric appliances. 

Elrich proposed cutting regular fares on Ride On bus routes in half to bring the cost of most trips to one dollar. 

$1.5 million was proposed to fill new librarian positions in county libraries to support more hours and customer service.

The county council will review the budget over the next two months and make potential changes before it goes into effect July 1. In a statement Tuesday, Council President Gabe Albornoz thanked Elrich and his administration for developing the budget. 

“Montgomery County’s operating budget is our most significant policy document and one of the best tools to fund pivotal and essential services to improve the quality of life for County residents,” Albornoz said. “The FY 23 Recommended Operating Budget provides the Council with a blueprint for us to begin our work.”

Albornoz encouraged residents to give feedback to councilmembers as they move through the approval process. The council holds public hearings for the budget on April 19, 20 and 21. Residents can sign up to testify virtually or in-person starting March 24.

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