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The Prince George’s County Council unanimously adopted a $3.8 billion balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2018 on Thursday, May 25. The FY 2018 County Budget becomes effective with the new Fiscal Year which begins July 1, 2017. Prince George’s County Council Chair Derrick L. Davis (D) – District 6, during budget adoption remarks, thanked Prince George’s County residents for their participation and engagement during the budget adoption process.
“This new and balanced Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and stronger economy uniquely position Prince George’s County to take its rightful place as an economic engine in the region. Credit for this success belongs in great part to the people of Prince George’s County. Residents have remained engaged in the Council’s budget process, sharing important priorities and voicing critical community concerns. We listened, and worked hard with this budget to prioritize and balance your mandates with available County resources.” Over 65% of the FY 18 budget, $1.97 billion, has been appropriated for education, which exceeds the Maintenance of Effort state mandate by $30 million. The Board of Education funding level is nearly 3-percent higher, $51 million more than last year’s school spending. The Council also provided an additional $5-million for school repairs, funding for library restoration, and $2-million for Prince George’s Community College to support career training and workforce development for the soon to be constructed Regional Medical Center in Largo.
The newly-adopted spending plan also provides funding for 200 police recruits; 115 firefighters; 25 deputy sheriffs; new positions to process warrants and manage records; 70 correctional officers; seven new correctional treatment coordinators in the Work Release Center, and funding for all dispatcher and call taker positions. In response to the wage gap for Developmental Disabilities (DD) provider organizations directly serving Prince George’s County residents with disabilities, the Council has provided a one-time measure – $3.5 million in EDI Funds - to support a cluster of employers and prevent lost jobs for County residents and workers. Chair Davis addressed the measure, noting that the Council’s actions to produce a livable wage in the County has produced serious challenges for provider agencies that must be addressed.
“Prince George’s County is one of two Maryland jurisdictions that raised the minimum wage, and the funding for Developmental Disabilities provider organizations is not adjusted to account for wage differences in counties like ours that mandate a higher minimum wage. Providers are struggling to bridge that gap and while a long-term solution is the State’s responsibility, ‘Temporary Gap Funding’ from the County would serve as a bridge to stabilize the Developmental Disabilities system over the next two years and help prevent further deterioration while the State develops a long term solution.” In bi-county budget action earlier this month, lawmakers from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties unanimously adopted the FY 18 Operating and Capital budgets for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC); the bi-county portion of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC); and the Washington Suburban Transit Commission (WSTC). Both Councils approved the WSSC FY 2018 Operating and Capital budgets of $1.4 billion which includes a 3.5-percent rate increase for water and sewer customers, adding approximately $1.46 per month to the average customer’s bill. WSSC’s budget continues to focus on the continued rehabilitation of water and sewer pipeline miles throughout WSSC’s system.