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County Council Adopts $5.08 Billion Budget for Fiscal 2016



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Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council adopted a $5.08 billion total County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2016. The budget reflects a 1.7 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2015.

“This budget effectively addresses the top priority concerns of County residents while holding the line on taxes,” said Council President George Leventhal. The Council also approved amendments to the Fiscal Years 2015-20 six-year Capital Improvements Program. The budget will go into effect on July 1.

The total County budget, including debt service, grants and enterprise funds, will be $5.08 billion, an increase of 1.7 percent from the FY15 approved budget. The overall tax supported portion of the budget including debt service will be $4.42 billion, an increase of 1.5 percent from the FY15 budget.

The budget also maintains property tax revenue at the Charter limit (last year’s amount plus an inflation-tied increase). It includes a $692 property tax credit for owner-occupants of principal residences. The weighted property tax rate will decrease to 98.7 cents per $100 of assessed value, down from 99.6 cents.

“The budget proposed by the County Executive in March provided a strong foundation,” said Leventhal. “The Council has strengthened it by directing targeted additional resources to top priority concerns of our one million residents, including education, public safety, health and human services, libraries, parks, transportation, and the Public Election Fund. We have done so while holding the line on taxes.”

County Executive Isiah Legggett said in a statement that he appreciated the hard work the County Council had done to work on the FY16 budget but was unhappy with the Council’s decision to reduce the County reserves in light of the Supreme Court of United States decision in the Wynne Case.

In the Wynne Case, a Howard County couple, Brian and Karen Wynne, challenged the rights of local governments to tax income from out-of-state jurisdictions which have already taxed the income. On Monday, May 18, the Supreme Court ruled that Maryland’s income tax law is unconstitutional because it does not provide a full tax credit to residents for income tax paid outside the state, a ruling likely to cost Maryland counties and localities across the country millions of dollars in revenue.