Council President Evan Glass’ Statement on the Council’s Approval of the FY24 Operating Budget and Amended FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program

Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass made the following statement about the Council’s vote to approve the Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget and the Amended Fiscal Year 2023-2028 Capital Improvements Program:
“This budget makes historic investments in education and in meeting the needs of our residents and our workforce. We achieved these goals by reducing the proposed property tax, finding efficiencies in government operations and making strategic investments to keep Montgomery County moving forward. Today, the Council approved the County’s $6.7 billion Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget and $5.7 billion amended FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) to fund essential needs in our community.

The 11 members of the Council had very different views and opinions on this budget. Some wanted higher taxes, some wanted lower. This is what democracy looks like. The end result was one of consensus, recognizing that we all supported the labor contracts of our county and school employees, maintaining a strong social safety net, and preserving our reserve fund.

While there may be disagreements about the details of the budget, there should be no disagreement that this budget process has been more transparent than any other in recent memory. Each committee chair reported their recommendations to the full Council in open, televised meetings and I abolished the omnibus budget consent calendar.

I directed Council staff to identify and publicly report proposed increases from the County Executive and the committees, and each staff report was readily available to the public.

Our apolitical, professional Council staff worked with each of our offices to discern the will of this body. Some Councilmembers wanted to spend less and have a lower tax rate, while others wanted to spend more, which would have placed a higher tax burden on our residents.

The end result is one of consensus, with an overwhelming majority supporting every aspect of the $6.7 billion budget that makes significant investments in education, our workforce and essential services for residents. This didn’t leave us with much room for discretionary spending.

Moreover, I extended the time for the public to testify in person and virtually and increased the number of speakers for our budget public hearings, with 166 residents testifying and thousands more calling, emailing and tweeting their thoughts.

The Council’s budget deliberations carefully balanced our strong and steadfast commitment to our students and teachers with our residents’ many other priorities, while also upholding our responsibility to be fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars. The Council ensured resources were maintained to honor the County’s long-term commitment to its retired employees and to fully fund the County’s reserves. At the same time, we reduced the County Executive’s proposed 10-cent property tax rate by more than half to a 4.7-cent increase per $100 of assessed value. This reduces the tax burden on property owners by approximately $118 million while also funding MCPS at the largest year-to-year increase since the Great Recession.

At the end of the day, this Council, as a body, has chosen to take a path of consensus – balancing our fiduciary responsibilities with the needs of our residents.

This budget upholds our commitment to investing in key priority areas.

A heavy emphasis on this budget went toward ensuring our most vulnerable populations were safe, healthy and housed. As the Council’s former lead on Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities, I’m proud of the more than $480 million dedicated to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which invests in our safety net programs, including increased funding for food security and shelters.

We’re making significant investments in advancing our housing goals, with $77 million dedicated to our Department of Housing and Community Affairs, including investments that will bring more housing and more affordable housing in the County. The Council supported the production and preservation of affordable housing by allocating $57 million to the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF) and $8 million to the Housing Opportunities Commission, which works to provide affordable housing and supportive services to low- and moderate-income families.

The Council’s newly formed Economic Development Committee has been sharply focused on ensuring that Montgomery County is open for business by putting real investments into action.

Tens of millions in this year’s budget will directly help bolster our local economy and will help accelerate business development across the County, including $3.2 million for the County’s incubators and economic partnerships, $3.5 million for the County’s Economic Development Fund, and $6 million to Montgomery County’s Economic Development Corporation, which helps connect businesses locating to or expanding in the County to critical resources and services. Plus, over $1.2 million is designated to support Black and Latino-owned businesses in Montgomery County.

This budget dedicates $270 million toward improving our transportation networks, including funding toward Vision Zero and road safety improvements. This will help make our roads safer for everyone, because no one should have to live with the pain of losing a loved one on our roadways.

Plus, the Council made historic investments to build a more resilient economy and environment, including $9 million for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and $18.6 million to the Montgomery County Green Bank, which helps County homeowners, businesses and property owners make affordable energy efficiency and clean energy investments in their properties.

We’re continuing to invest in efforts to strengthen public safety and ensure that everyone feels welcome, seen and safe in Montgomery County. We’re upholding our commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice. The Council increased funding for the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice and are continuing our support for the outstanding work of our Minority Health Initiatives, Black Physicians Network and other programs.  Putting together a budget of this magnitude and complexity is always challenging, but this budget took a higher level of scrutiny and discipline than any previous year that I can recall. It takes an all-hands-on deck approach and is a true collaborative process.

I am proud of the way that the Council worked through this budget and focused on the diverse needs of our residents. The work continues.”

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Oak Chapel is excited that Priority Partners Managed Care Organization (PPMCO) in partnership with Johns Hopkins HealthCare (JHHC) have selected the Oak Chapel Hub as the location for the first mini-food pantry/mini library in Montgomery County. Please join us for the cupboard unveiling on Saturday, May 18th, at 10 AM (rain or shine). This is scheduled to be an outdoor event. If there is inclement weather, the event will be held in the multi-purpose room of the main church building (Hub distribution location). The cupboard will be fully stocked and ready for the community to take what they need and leave what they can. It is a privilege to be able to continue to serve the 20906 community.

Fighting food insecurity, feeding families.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Movie being filmed in McLean, VA, needs your support

A local community movie is filming in our area in June and needs contributions!

Local actors, teens, teachers, housewives, and retired residences are trying to make this film happen but we need your help.

This is an educational short story about teens learning how to navigate when they don't feel accepted by their friends and what to do to find acceptance. Yet this film isn't just for teens. In your life have you ever felt like you weren't accepted??

Come be a part of the audience for this film! Invite your friends. Be a part of this film being produced right here in our area.

This is a social impact film that will show locally and internationally at film festivals in 2025 and also at colleges.

More information can be found here. DONATE TODAY:

https://www.filmindependent.org/sponsored-projects/ultimate-bias/

https://www.silvanomarifilms.com/jis

This is a not-for-profit film and donations are tax-deductible.

Free Community Father-Daughter Dance

Fathers and father figures, create unforgettable memories with your daughter at our free community father-daughter dance on June 1st, from 6-8 pm. Hosted outdoors at Olney Baptist Church. This event offers a delightful outdoor experience complete with a DJ spinning tunes, interactive games, a charming photo booth, delicious treats, and exciting raffle prizes. Fathers/father figures and daughters of all ages are warmly welcomed to share in this special evening together. Join us for an evening of joy, laughter, and cherished moments!

In the spirit of giving back to our community, we are partnering with Quest to Feed Montgomery to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. We kindly ask each attendee to bring along a non-perishable food item to donate during the event. Every contribution, no matter how small, will go a long way in supporting families facing food insecurity in our area.

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