Hollywood, MD – In case you missed it, this past Sunday was not only the beginning of a new week and new month but also a new year. A new fiscal year, that is. In government-speak, the fiscal year (FY) runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. The budget cycle—which includes analysis by county government staff, work sessions, public hearings and finally a vote by the panel charged with adopting the next FY budget usually wraps up in June.

All three Southern Maryland counties have balanced budgets that are now in effect.
In Calvert County, the FY 2019 operating budget totals $297.5 million, an increase of $14.7 million from FY 2018. The biggest component of the budget increase was the receipt of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) from Dominion Energy Cove Point. The county commissioners voted unanimously to lower the property tax rate to $0.937 per $100 of assessed value. County officials declared the lower rate will save Calvert’s real property owners $1.7 million. The county government’s allocation to the Calvert County Board of Education (BOE) has increased by $5.1 million. The additional money means the BOE is able to restore lost salary step increases to employees.

County government employees are also benefitting, as employees meeting certain criteria will receive a two-step salary increase and employees will also be given a cost of living adjustment (COLA).

St. Mary’s County Government’s FY 2019 operating budget is $230.15 million, an increase of 4 percent over FY 2018. The St. Mary’s County BOE has been allocated an additional $1.6 million. There are no changes in the property or income tax rates.

St. Mary’s County Government officials have noted a use of $1.085 million in fund balance for capital “pay-go” projects and a $2.4 million increase for recurring funding for the local sheriff’s office.

Charles County’s FY 2019 operating budget totals $404.6 million, a 3.4 percent increase from FY 2018. Over $196.12 million is being allocated to the Charles County BOE. No rate increases in real property tax ($1.205 of $100 of assessed value) or income tax (3.03 percent) are proposed. “Our fiscally responsible choices have resulted in a balanced budget that will be sustainable in the future,” said Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy [D]. According to Charles County Administrator Michael D. Mallinoff, the FY 2019 budget “protects core services, invests in education and public safety, and incorporates efficiencies.”

Here’s wishing all Southern Marylanders a Happy Fiscal New Year!

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com