Elrich Presents Proposed Operating Budget

County Executive Marc Elrich proposed a $7.1 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 operating budget on Thursday. 

This year, he did not propose a tax increase. Last year Elrich proposed a 10-cent property tax increase to fund schools. The county council, which approves the budget, cut the increase by more than half and passed a 4.7-cent increase last May. 

County Chief Administrative Officer Richard Madaleno said the budget includes the largest-ever increase for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) that is not tied to a tax increase, but he noted when compared to inflation-adjusted dollars, the per-pupil funding is still not up to the level it was before the great recession. The budget proposes $3.3 billion for MCPS. Following the presentation, the Montgomery County Education Association issued a statement expressing disappointment.

“We are disappointed that County Executive Elrich, a former teacher who as an elected leader has previously been a champion of public education, has proposed a budget for MCPS that does not honor the Board of Education’s already insufficient request,” the teachers union stated.

In the statement, Union President Jennifer Martin said, “We look now to the County Council to remedy this situation by ensuring MCPS has the vital funding it needs to function and flourish.” The county council reviews the budget and makes potential changes before adopting it, which goes into effect July 1.

For police department funding, the county will continue giving signing bonuses to new recruits, and will hire a police recruitment firm to aid staffing efforts. The county also plans to launch a new fire camp for girls to help girls consider firefighting careers.

The budget proposal includes a $4.4 million increase to the county’s Board of Elections to support the presidential election, according to the county.

Elrich said there is a record $169 million to go toward affordable housing, and a record $365 million for climate change and environmental initiatives.

The budget funds the launch of the Great Seneca Transit Network.

Free fitness passes for county recreation centers will continue to be offered.

In a statement following the budget presentation, County Council President Andrew Friedson said, “The Council appreciates the work of the County Executive and his team to develop the Fiscal Year 2025 Recommended Operating Budget. Now we begin our work to create the final budget over the next two months. Budgets aren’t simply spending plans; they are moral documents that demonstrate our collective priorities. As we work toward our shared fiscal and policy goals, transparency and accountability will be our governing doctrine.” The council’s public hearings on the budget are scheduled for April 8 and April 9.

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