But in order to create this budget, my colleagues and I had to make many difficult decisions and some important changes to the County Executive’s proposed budget. Rather than double the energy tax, we raised it by 85 percent. Make no mistake, this is a very large increase--however, many families will not see much impact due to scheduled rate reductions and this increase is scheduled to sunset in two years. I hope that as our fiscal condition improves, we can eliminate this increase.We also had to eliminate hundreds of positions and all employee pay raises. Although the County Executive also proposed 10 days of furlough for all non-public safety employees in Montgomery County Government, I believed strongly along with my colleagues that imposing an almost 4 percent salary reduction on one-fifth of the combined agency workforce would be inequitable. Ultimately, after much discussion, we instituted 5 days of progressive furloughs for all Montgomery County employees.
May 21, 2010
Statement by County Councilmember Nancy Navarro on Council’s FY 2011 Operating Budget and CIP Agreement
ROCKVILLE, Md., May 20, 2010—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro made the following statement in regard to the Council’s tentative agreement today on the Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget and FY11-16 Capital Improvements Program:
Today I cast my vote on the County’s FY11 Operating Budget and the FY11-16 Capital Improvements Program. Although it was the worst budget year in Montgomery County’s history, we kept our pledge to maintain adequate reserves, treat our employees equitably, preserve our safety net as much as possible, and maintain the educational services that are the pride of our County.
While we avoided some of the very worst cuts, our residents and employees will certainly feel the impact of this budget in reduced services, an increased workload and lower pay. Some departments, including parks, libraries and transportation, took particularly large hits approaching 25 percent that will affect their ability to deliver the services our residents have rightfully come to expect. However, recognizing the importance of our public school system, we approved a final budget for Montgomery County Public Schools that amounted to only a 1.3 percent reduction from its FY10 budget, while increasing its capital budget by 10 percent. I am confident that our School Board and Superintendent Jerry Weast will institute any necessary reductions in a manner that minimizes any impact on schoolchildren. My two daughters are MCPS students and I served on the Board for five years, so I know that their education is in good hands.
Although our fiscal crisis is not yet over, I am pleased that the Council closed an almost $1 billion gap while preserving many core services including transit, public safety, health care for the uninsured poor, and education, without raising property taxes. In addition, we maintained a 6 percent reserve and approved a capital budget that funds many important road and school projects. However, rather than continue to rely on furloughs, service reductions, and tax increases, I believe we need to seriously address our structural deficit and reorganize our government so that we can efficiently deliver the services our County is known for. My priority going forward is to work to solve our long-term fiscal and structural challenges, so that Montgomery County can remain vibrant, diverse and prosperous.