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Budget Year / Version:

imageThis year, in the Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget and amendments to the Fiscal Years 2017-22 Capital Improvements Program, the Council harmonized our fiscal realities with our shared values while building on the basic services that our residents and taxpayers see and rely on every day. The budget builds upon the basics and makes progress on pressing needs. At the same time, the budget holds the line on property tax rates and continues the tradition of fiscal responsibility that has allowed us to weather economic storms and maintain our AAA bond rating that is the hallmark of well-run governments.

One of our County's highest priorities and most basic responsibilities is education. This year we have funded 100 percent of our school system's $2.5 billion operating budget request to continue making progress in reducing class size and closing the academic achievement gap. We also funded 100 percent of the school system's request in our capital budget. Together these actions demonstrate our commitment to addressing the critical needs of our growing school system.

Education is not simply K-12. We also provided $4.5 million for early education, adding pre-Kindergarten and Head Start programs to serve students from low-income families. The budget also reflects the increasing importance of Montgomery College, which currently supports more than 60,000 students of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life.

One of the major changes we made to the County Executive's recommended budget is to increase funding for non-profit service providers that are on the front lines helping those who need help the most. This year we provided a 2 percent increase to non-profits and increased Council grants to the non-profits working to address our critical needs.

We have also taken steps in this budget to strengthen our economy. We created a Business Solutions Group to help small businesses navigate complex regulations. We also provided critically important seed capital in the form of microloans to aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the County. This year's budget also provides the highest level of funding for the Housing Initiative Fund in more than seven years-a total of $59 million. We also funded improvements to transit service on our busiest corridors, while also adding $6.8 million to the County Executive's recommended budget for roads.

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 produced a budget that is fiscally responsible, reflective of our values, and strengthens core government services that collectively make our County an extraordinary place to live.

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Roger Berliner
President, Montgomery County Council


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