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Council to Vote on Savings Plan Tuesday

The Montgomery County Council will meet on January 30 at 10:00 am in the Third Floor Council Hearing Room. The Council will vote on County Executive Ike Leggett’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Savings Plan.

The FY18 Savings Plan is based on Department of Finance estimates that income tax revenue will be lower than expected and the County faces a $120 million budget shortfall. Savings plans are not unusual. In FY16 the County Executive proposed a $50.8 million savings plan, and the Council approved $54.2 million in savings. The Executive’s FY18 savings plan called for $58.7 million in operating budget savings and $13.5 million in current revenue capital budget savings to reduce costs in the current year.

The Council’s six committees reviewed the County Executive’s savings plan recommendations earlier this month. Their recommendations for the FY18 savings plan are now before the Council for a vote. The committees recommend $53.3 million in operating budget savings and $9.3 million in current revenue capital budget savings.

Among the operating budget savings which the Savings Plan includes is cutting the number of officers in the January recruit class by 10, from 46 to 36. The cutting of 10 new recruits is expected to save the County $525,452. While the Public Safety Committee is recommending that those cuts be made, the memo form the Public Safety Committee also indicates that this reduction will not impact any of the new Police positions that Council added during the FYI 8 operating budget. Those include five new patrol officers for both 4th and 5th Districts, as well as one new Sergeant in 6th District.

The County will also delay the rollout of the Next Generation 911 system, which will allow the Emergency Communications Center to take text-to-911 messages. The delay is expected to save the County $770,000 in FY18. “Police and Fire have been working with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) for a regional approach to NG91 l service. They have now engaged in a cooperative venture with Fairfax County. As a result, there have been delays in contract and acquisition timelines. There is no change to the overall project cost and there is no impact on ECC operations,” according to the Public Safety Committee memo.

If approved, the plan will also cut $779,660 from the budget of the Department of Liquor Control, by eliminating planned remodeling of DLC retail stores. With the cut, the remodeling of the stores will not take place in FY18.

Many of the other cuts in the Public Safety will be realized by not filling open positions or only filling the highest priority vacancies in FY18, leaving lower-priority positions vacant. The savings from not filling vacancies in the Correction and Rehabilitation and Police Department will save about $2.8 million in FY18.