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Leggett Proposes 3.9 Cent Property Tax Increase to Pay for $5.3 B Operating Budget

MCPS Spending Increases $136 million, BOE Says: Thanks But It’s Not Enough​

County Executive Ike Leggett has proposed the largest property tax increase in eight years while unveiling his Fiscal Year 2017 Recommended Operating Budget yesterday.

The $5.3 billion proposed budget for the year beginning July 1, 2016, contains a 3.9 cent increase per $100 assessed valuation in the property tax rate over the current year. The budget closes an estimated $178 million gap. Leggett’s proposed budget increases County spending for Montgomery County Schools by almost $136 million and addresses the loss of County funds impacted by the Wynne case.

“Over the last ten years, I have closed over $3.3 billion in budget gaps while putting the County’s fiscal house back in order and making the investments necessary to build a better future,” said Leggett.

Under the FY17 Recommended Operating Budget, the proposed property tax rate increase is 3.9 cents above the current rate (1.0264 - .987 = .0394). The average tax bill (for a house assessed at $464,000) increases by about $27 a month or $325 annually (from $3,750 to $4,075). This includes a $692 tax credit for owner-occupied residences.

This recommended operating budget is a tax-supported County government budget of $1.55 billion, a 1.9 percent increase over this year. A total Montgomery County budget of $5.3 billion, a 3.8 percent increase over this year.

According to the County press release, “Over the past four years, average County property taxes have gone up a total of only $9 – or less than $3 per year. Over that same period, typical property taxes in Fairfax, County, Virginia, for example, have gone up $1,195, or about $300 per year.”

“This budget addresses the fact that our public schools have been funded at, or below, the level defined as ‘Maintenance of Effort’ since FY09,” said Leggett. “This means that, on a per-pupil basis, funding has not increased. As the population grows and the needs of the student population change, this approach to funding one of our most valuable assets – our education system — cannot continue.”