In the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner today presented a Fiscal Year 2021 operating budget that focuses on the basics – providing essential services to the citizens of Frederick County. The essential budget funds mandates, ensures the ongoing delivery of critical services, and supports county employees who deliver these services to citizens every day, including during this pandemic. The budget is based on existing property and income tax rates with no proposed increases.
“Frederick County citizens expect and deserve to live in a safe community, to have outstanding schools, and to count on essential services like water and sewer and trash disposal. While the county budget revenue is projected to decline because of the economic impact of the health pandemic on our economy, the demand for essential services and the need to protect public health has increased,” Executive Gardner said. “Frederick County’s fundamental underlying economy is strong, and I am confident we will weather the storm and once again have a thriving economy.”
The conservative budget focuses on providing the basics and anticipates that income tax revenue will be lower because of the pandemic. The budget is based on income tax revenue levels from two years ago. The budget funds approximately $14 million in mandates such as costs to hold the presidential election, Maintenance of Effort for education, increases in insurance costs, school health staff and crossing guards for new schools that are opening, and increases to maintain software licenses for technology. It also ensures the delivery of essential services, including public safety, public works and public health.
The proposed essential budget funds no new positions, no expansion of services or new initiatives with the exception of the addition of 13 firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians to open the new Northgate Fire Station fully staffed to meet critical calls for service on the northwest side of the City of Frederick.
Many legitimate needs and budget requests were considered in preparing the budget, but were not funded due to the uncertainties as a result of the pandemic. The budget does not tap into county rainy day funds. Executive Gardner may present a supplemental budget to the County Council after more is known about the longterm economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The County Council will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed budget on April 21 at 6 p.m. The hearing will be broadcast on FCG TV, cable channels 19 and 1085, and web streamed at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov.FCGTV. Visit www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/CountyCouncil for more details.