Montgomery Co. passes $5.4 billion budget that won’t increase taxes

WASHINGTON — It’s unanimous: The Montgomery County Council has passed a $5.4 billion budget for the 2018 fiscal year that does not raise taxes.

The budget is responsible and responsive, prioritizing education while “taking care of the fundamentals” such as fixing roads and county facilities, said County Council President Roger Berliner.

The plan includes $2.5 billion for education spending, fully funding the Board of Education’s spending request. The plan will allow the school system to hire up to 100 new teachers and to cut class size — at a time when the school system continues to grow each year. The current school enrollment has topped 160,000.

The spending plan also expands Head Start programming from half-days to full days at 10 schools across the county.

Even though there is not a tax increase, homeowners might see their property tax bills go up by about $20. That’s the result of the real estate market: Home values are up.

During budget discussions last week, council member Marc Elrich called the budget submitted to the council by County Executive Ike Leggett a “goldilocks budget” — with the budget numbers not too high and not too low, but “just right.”

Still, Elrich said, with the regional economic recovery remaining fairly anemic, “All of this has convinced me that we have to continue to look within the budget and within the departments for savings and other ways of doing things.”

The budget for the next fiscal year goes into effect July 1.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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