Dr. Alan J. McCarthy, County Executive for Cecil County, released his proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 operating and capital budgets. The budget proposal will be submitted to the Cecil County Council. Council members will conduct hearings and take action no later than June 15, 2018. Once the budgets are adopted, each becomes effective on July 1, 2018.
In his remarks Dr. McCarthy described the local fiscal challenges impacted by the economic downturn in 2008 and the subsequent transfer of state expenditures to local governments included certain costs associated with the State Teacher Pension program, a loss of nearly six million dollars in high way user fees, transferred the costs associated with property assessments office, and local requirements to fund the critically important pre-kindergarten program for four-year old students.
Since taking office in December 2016, Dr. McCarthy said he has set the path to move Cecil County forward by:
– Deploying solid fiscal strategies. No budgeted use of unassigned fund balance, a common practice over the past two decades;
– Prioritizing economic growth;
– Investing in infrastructure projects in the growth corridor;
– Supporting a high quality and lifelong education program; and
– Providing a safe, secure and opportunity rich environment with improving quality of life amenities for all citizens.
This fiscal year, FY 2018, has seen significant progress, McCarthy said. Examples include, but are not limited to:
– Increase of 1,500 jobs
– Significant decline in the unemployment rate
– Increase in major commercial development: Amazon; Lidl; Medline; TruAir and Fortress Steel.
– Installation of natural gas lines in the growth corridor from North East to Principio Industrial Park
– Funding for a new public library building in North East, and
– Acquisition of the former Bittersweet Golf Course to create a new public park.
The Cecil County FY 2019 proposed general fund operating budget totals $195,345,861. This is an increase over this year’s FY 2018 budget of 3% or $5,644,388. This budget maintains the current property tax and personal income tax rates and does not include any revenue from the fund balance usually described as the County savings account.
Priorities in this budget include:
– Increased allocations for the Cecil County Public Schools, Cecil College, and the Cecil County Libraries;
– A cyber-security analyst in the information technology department
Public Safety and Security staffing increases in this budget include:
– Two additional paramedics due to the increased required responses associated with the opioid/heroin epidemic.
– A cyber-security analyst in the information technology department.
The budget proposal also includes:
– Salary increases to recruit and retain sheriff’s office employees and emergency responders and dispatchers associated with the Emergency Services Department;
– The implementation of a new multi-year salary structure for non-union County employees to recruit and retain a highly qualified work force.
The Capital Improvement Budget is supported by the sale of bonds to support the construction of buildings or the completion of projects. Highlights include:
– Continued funding of the new Gilpin Manor Elementary School,
– Support for the North East Library construction,
– Funding for the updating of the P25 communication system used by County emergency personnel and volunteer firefighters, and
– Support for the continued installation of wastewater infrastructure in the growth corridor.
Dr. McCarthy reported that although the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund has successfully generated enough revenue to meet operational needs for the last two years, that is not the case for wastewater. The Wastewater Enterprise Fund has faced many challenges over the years and current user rates do not pay the operating expenses to run current facilities. In order to address these operational deficiencies, the FY 2019 budget does propose a rate increase which would be spread out over the next three years.
“I wish we could accommodate all the requests from agencies and departments that totaled over $17 million. With an increased revenue projection of $5.6 million, it is clear that all needs could not be met. Nevertheless, I am confident that this proposed budget will support the continued progress experienced this fiscal year, FY 2018,” McCarthy said.
To review the Proposed Budget In Brief for fiscal year 2019, visit http://www.ccgov.org/government/finance.