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Leggett’s FY18 Operating Budget Increases School Spending, Holds Property Taxes

County Executive Ike Leggett today released his Recommended FY18 Operating Budget of $5.4 billion for the year that begins on July 1, 2017 – a budget that increases County spending on the Montgomery County Public Schools by $54 million and holds property taxes at the Charter Limit by reducing the tax rate by 2.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

According to Leggett, any increase in property taxes homeowners find on this year’s levy is entire due to an increase in property values. Under the Leggett’s Recommended Operating Budget, the proposed property tax rate is $1 per $100 of assessed valuation, which is 2.54 cents below the current rate. According to the County, the median tax bill for a house assessed at $400,000, will see an annual increase of $20 from $4,106 currently to $4,126 in the coming year — due entirely to increased property values. This amounts to $1.67 a month. It includes a $692 tax credit for owner-occupied residences.

“Last year, the Council increased property taxes by $33.7 million over what I had recommended and, in addition, increased the recordation tax in order to include additional spending. This created greater pressure on this year’s budget. Given these parameters I have chosen not to increase taxes either this year or next,” said Leggett.

“In addition, the outcome of the Wynne case has resulted in a loss of revenue estimated to be $30 million annually, with retroactive payments of an additional $27 million annually from FY19 through FY23. Given that, along with continued uncertainty about the economic recovery and State and federal actions, I am limiting any new programs or significant program expansions to those that clearly achieve our shared priorities and best serve County residents.”

“Given the continued budget uncertainty at the State and federal levels, and the potential impact any federal employment and spending reductions would have on the local economy, we must remain cautious in our spending,” Leggett said. “Many of the Federal job centers located within Montgomery County are vulnerable to significant cutbacks and the potential resulting harm to the County’s economy cannot be overstated.”

Leggett’s FY18 total budget increases spending from $5.3 billion to $5.44 billion, a 2.7 percent increase.