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Council Adopts Balanced $3.7 Billion General Fund Budget; Total FY 21 County Budget $4.48 Billion
The Prince George’s County Council, convening virtually on Friday, May 29, 2020, unanimously adopted a $4.48 Billion total County balanced budget, including a $3.7 billion in County General Funds, for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21). The FY 2021 County Budget becomes effective with the new Fiscal Year, which begins July 1, 2020.
The Council began its budget review process after receiving the Proposed FY 2021 Budget from County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on March 11th. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, and subsequent County State of Emergency, County Executive Alsobrooks submitted an amended FY 2021 budget proposal to the Council for consideration on April 22nd which included an estimated $134 million reduction in revenue and proposals for compensation changes and delays in capital projects.
Following the unanimous vote, Council Chair Todd M. Turner (D) – District 4, began his budget remarks discussing the impact of COVID-19 on County residents and the budget process. Chair Turner also thanked his colleagues and Council staff for their work to adopt a spending plan that addresses the County’s present challenges while acknowledging the critical needs of residents during uncertain economic times.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has thrust us all into uncertain times and unknown territory, and as the substantial impacts of this crisis continue to reach into our communities, Prince George’s County faces health, safety and economic challenges of historic proportion,” adding, “A pandemic like this hasn’t happened in 100 years. It’s new for all of us, but you have been inspiring, hard-working teammates and passionate advocates for the residents we represent - you have risen to this historic challenge and excelled as leaders and colleagues.”
Overall, nearly 66% of the FY 21 Budget was appropriated for education, which includes the Board of Education; Prince George’s Community College; and the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to Prince George’s County’s immigrant community with additional funding for the Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) initiative, which it started in FY 2018 to provide free legal services to eligible County residents who have been detained and are facing deportation.
The newly-adopted FY 21 spending plan does not include a tax rate increase; applies County reserve funds to fill revenue gaps this year and in the new fiscal year; offsets severe revenue erosion; addresses the immediate COVID-related needs of residents; maintains core government services; manages the impacts of the pandemic; fosters recovery; implements significant spending controls; and retains County workforce. The adopted budget also includes Federal Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support the growing concerns around food insecurities; business and employment support; rental and mortgage housing assistance; and COVID-related health services.
In bi-county budget action earlier this month, lawmakers from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties unanimously adopted the FY 21 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 2021 Operating Budget of $849.7 million and a Capital Budget of $606.7 million for the utility, which includes funding to replace water mains and invest in new technologies; continue upgrades to more energy efficient equipment and systems; and increase the affordability of services for ratepayers and residents.