Budget Year / Version:  

This year, in the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget and Amendments to the Fiscal Years 2019-24 Capital Improvements Program, the Council balanced the County's fiscal realities with our shared values while building on the services that our residents rely on. Our budget holds the line on property taxes and continues the tradition of fiscal responsibility that has allowed us to maintain the County's AAA bond rating that is the hallmark of well-run governments and meeting the target for the County's reserves.

One of our County's highest priorities is education. This year we funded 100 percent of our school system's $2.68 billion operating budget request to continue making progress in reducing class size and closing the achievement gap. These actions demonstrate our commitment to addressing the critical needs of our growing school system.

The Council continued its commitment to funding early childhood education and pre-K. The combined total for Head Start and pre-K programs in the Department of Health and Human Services and Montgomery County Public Schools is

$84.1 million, including $7 million to fund the Early Care and Education Initiative, which was one of my top priorities. The Council also added funds to expand after school programs aimed at serving vulnerable populations and narrowing the achievement gap.

The Council's budget also reflects the importance of Montgomery College, which currently supports more than 58,000 students, with funding of $314.7 million.

The Council added $122,514 to fund two new school resource officer positions to protect students. The budget also includes two recruit classes totaling 44 officers and restores funding for six police officer positions that were lapsed last year. The budget also includes 20 new firefighter positions.

We also took steps to strengthen our economy. The operating budget funds more than $5 million to support the work of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. The Council allocated $1.7 million in funding for WorkSource Montgomery, which implements the County's workforce development policies to promote job growth and attract talent. The Council funded approximately $3 million for the County's incubator programs. This includes funding for a FY20 incubator study, additional funding to support biohealth programs and the Wheaton Small Business Technical Assistance Program.

The Council funded nearly $65.2 million for the Housing Initiative Fund for affordable housing. This includes both funding appropriated to the operating and capital portions of the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF). The Council also added more than $1 million to expand the Kids Ride Free program to cover all bus service hours.

I want to thank my Council colleagues and the Council staff for their hard work. Thank you also to the County Executive and his staff, and to the governing boards and staff of M-NCPPC, WSSC, MCPS and Montgomery College. Together we have produced a budget that is fiscally responsible, reflects the County's values and strengthens core government services that make our County an extraordinary place to live, work and raise a family.

Nancy Navarro

President, Montgomery County Council