The Montgomery County Council today tentatively agreed on a $4.8 billion FY14 budget that cuts the county’s energy tax increase by 10 percent and adds $2 million in nonprofit grants.
Those two major changes from County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended budget will be paid for in part by adjustments to the six-year Capital Improvement budget and a transfer of $8.7 million from a county fund into its general fund. The 10 percent cut in the energy tax, which was instituted three years ago, will mean the loss of $11.2 million in revenue.
The Council unanimously agreed on the budget, despite councilmember Phil Andrews’ contention that Leggett’s proposed pay increases for county employees were too large. Andrews said he will vote against the County Government portion of the budget when it is formalized next week. Councilmember Marc Elrich said not enough money was dedicated to restoring social service cuts that came during the recession.
“I think if most of our residents were given a choice between reducing their average energy tax bills by just 65 cents per month or restoring some of these services, they would choose the services,” Elrich said in a statement.
The Council also added $100,000 to Leggett’s 10 percent bump in county library funding to increase the purchase of e-Books. In the six-year Capital Improvements budget, the Council differed on some of Leggett’s recommendations by keeping funding for the Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance on track, accelerating more than $17 million for street resurfacing and sidewalk repairs and adding $4 million for bridge renovations, including on the Elmhirst Parkway bridge in Bethesda.
The parking fee structure for downtown Bethesda will change, as Leggett recommended. The Council also agreed to add 40 police positions and double the amount of School Resource Officers from 6 to 12.