Montgomery County’s proposed budget supports schools, holds tax rates

WASHINGTON — Montgomery County, Maryland is proposing to fully fund its schools, spend slightly more and hold steady on property taxes in its newly proposed budget.

In proposing his 12th and final budget, County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett said Montgomery County will spend 2 percent more than last year, though the county continues to have 10 percent in reserves heading into 2020, a hard lesson learned during the recession when homeowners saw property taxes soar.

Multiple times during his proposal in front of county leaders and the public Thursday, March 15, Leggett mentioned that the county’s spending must remain conservative, while not unfairly burdening the taxpayer.

He said the property rate for fiscal 2019 will drop by 2 cents; however, rising assessment rates will increase the average homeowner’s tax bill slightly.

“The property tax bill for homeowners at the county median price of $400,000 will see just a monthly property tax bill increase of $2.25 or just $27 per year,” Leggett said.

He did not cite a source for the median price of a home in the county.

Funding in Leggett’s budget is also going toward fighting gang activity at the state’s attorney’s office, public safety, supporting government employee health care and diversifying and drawing new business.

But the clear winner was the school system, which saw a total fulfillment of its more than three percent increased funding request in the proposal.

“In recognition of the critical needs of our growing world-class school system, I am recommending Montgomery County Public Schools funding at $2.592 billion … This is $19 million above the maintenance of effort level. This represents 100 percent of Board of Education’s request,” Leggett said.

 

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