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Posted on: March 15, 2017

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III Presents Proposed FY 2018 Budget

$4 million deficit is smallest of Baker Administration because of investments to grow the County’s Economy

Upper Marlboro, MD – Today, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, in accordance with the Prince George’s County Charter presented his FY 2018 Proposed Operating and Capital Budgets. The proposed FY 2018 budget for all operating funds is $3.84 billion, an increase of $130.7 million or 3.5% over the FY 2017 budget. The General Fund accounts for 84.1% of all spending in FY 2018 and will increase by $113.6 million or 3.6%. This fund supports most County government services and programs including education, public safety, general government, public works, the environment and other critical services. The FY 2018 proposed budget is framed by a growing economy that is experiencing growth in both the real estate and job markets as well as the impact of a full year of MGM National Harbor related revenues.

Overall, the FY 2018 General Fund forecast represents an increase of $113.6 million or 3.6% over the FY 2017 Budget. The proposed FY 2018 General Fund budget includes $1.92 billion in County Sources and $1.31 billion in Outside Aid. County source revenues – taxes, fees, licenses and permits, service charges, use of money and property, etc. – represent resources used to fund most government programs and services, including the County’s contribution to the Board of Education, Memorial Library System and Community College. In FY 2018, County sources are projected to be $1.92 billion, an increase of $113.6 million or 6.3% over the FY 2017 budget. These revenues account for 59.5% of the total General Fund revenues for FY 2018. To view the Proposed FY 2018 “Budget in Brief” document please click here.

“We did not fixate on past history, we dreamed of a better future and created a way to get there,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “Well this year’s budget shows that our focus on key priorities was the right direction for us to take. I firmly believe, the approach we took is why our economy is getting stronger, our opportunities are greater and our stature around the region and in the state have risen. We have made our communities and neighborhoods safer by significantly reducing overall crime by 55% over the last 6 years. We have seen historic levels of economic development activity with over $9 billion in development projects that have taken place or are in the pipeline. Housing values are up 61% since 2010. Unemployment has dropped 50% since 2010. We have created 15,100 new jobs in the County since 2013 and when the MGM’s 3,600 new jobs are added, that will be over 18,000 new jobs. The results we are seeing are what happens when we make key investments and channel resources where they will have the greatest impact. Today, our financial position is stronger and we are clearly back on the right path. And for that, we are optimistic about what lies ahead.”

The FY 2018 proposed budget reflects adherence to our economic strategy over the last six years of building a stronger financial foundation upon which we are now able to “dream for tomorrow”. The proposed budget provides additional resources for critical core services and targets expansion into new programming. The County’s regional stature has risen and our economy is improving. The historic level of economic development has created 15,100 new jobs in the County since 2013, and unemployment is down to 4%. Similarly, housing values have increased 61% over the past six years.

The County’s positive progress is not limited to the traditional financial indicators; we continue to have safe neighborhoods with the overall crime rate down by 55% since 2010. We also have seen a rise in high school graduation rates by 10%, and have witnessed a decrease in the number of uninsured residents. These measurable outcomes are the result of the resource investment strategy of channeling funding where it can have the greatest impact.

The FY 2018 proposed budget maintains our priority focus on growing the economy, improving academic performance in K-12 education and lifelong educational opportunities, providing safe and environmentally sustainable communities, assisting our residents in achieving healthy outcomes and social well-being, and providing high performing government operations.

The FY 2018 proposed budget includes the following specific proposals and allocations:

EDUCATION:

  • As such, the FY 2018 proposed budget includes $1.96 billion in funding to the Board of Education, an increase of $39.1 million or 2.0% over the FY 2017 budget. Funding for the Board constitutes 60.8% of all General Fund spending in the FY 2018 budget. The County’s contribution totals $738.6 million and represents an increase of $40.3 million over FY 2017 and exceeds the Maintenance of Effort requirement by $29.5 million. The proposed budget supports the system by focusing on the strategic focus areas of academic excellence, a high performing workforce, safe and supportive environments, family and community engagement and organizational effectiveness. The budget funds targeted wrap around services to increase graduation rates and decrease dropout rates at four challenged high schools – Bladensburg, Central, High Point and Northwestern. Additional resources at these schools will support their progress and help lift the entire system. Furthermore, the increased funding to the Board of Education supports expansion of the Pathways in Technology high school program, IB/PSAT program exam fees, child protective services background checks and compensation adjustments for the system’s employees.
  • The County will also make significant investments in a number of school construction projects in FY 2018, including $100.6 million in County capital funds to support such projects as completion of the construction of the Fairmont Heights High School replacement project, and planning for the renovation or replacement of William Wirt Middle School, the International School at Langley Park, Suitland High school and 38 systemic replacement projects.
  • In addition, the FY 2018 proposed operating budget includes $112.5 million for the Community College. The proposed budget funds employee compensation adjustments for employees and supports the core operational needs of the College. The FY 2018 budget also includes $1.7 million for the Promise Scholarship Program. This program will provide scholarships to pay tuition and mandatory fees, not covered by federal and State aid, for approximately 500 graduates of Prince George’s County Public Schools who enroll at the College. In addition, the CIP budget totals $82.6 million and includes funding for the renovation and expansion of the Queen Anne Academic Center, the renovation of Lanham Hall, and construction of the Culinary Arts Center.
  • The proposed FY 2018 operating budget for the Memorial Library System is $29.8 million, an increase of $1.8 million or 6.6%. The proposed budget provides for salary adjustments for staff and maintains the current operating hours of all branches. With the added resources, the Library will complete technology and infrastructure upgrades throughout the system and promote lifelong learning by launching the “Books from Birth” program. The new program will increase access to books and encourage early reading by delivering one book per month to children under the age of five with the goal of reaching 7,200 children though the program in FY 2018. Additionally, the FY 2018 CIP funds will support continued construction at the Hyattsville and New Carrollton Branch libraries, planning for Bladensburg and various improvement projects.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:

  • The proposed FY 2018 budget includes $9 million from the EDI fund to continue investing in the economy. The Economic Development Corporation and FSC First will continue to use the EDI fund, along with other available financial incentives, to retain and attract businesses to Prince George’s County. These efforts will be supported by the additional funding provided to the Conference and Visitors Bureau to enhance our branding and marketing efforts.
  • The FY 2018 budget includes new investments to extend the residential market’s recovery and expand the stock of workforce housing opportunities. The proposed budget includes a $5.1 million investment in the County’s Housing Investment Trust Fund. The fund will support two new programs – the Workforce Housing Gap Financing Program and the Pathway to Purchase Program. The budget allocates $2.6 million for the Workforce Housing Gap Financing Program and will enable the County to support the development of viable, mixed income communities by providing gap financing for the development of decent and quality workforce housing. The Pathway to Purchase program will provide assistance to approximately 150 eligible first time homebuyers to purchase owner occupied or vacant residential properties in the County. The budget includes $2.5 million for the program.
  • In addition, the Non-Departmental budget includes a $2.0 million PAYGO transfer to the Redevelopment Authority’s capital budget to support the various community revitalization programs. The Commercial Revitalization program will provide matching grants to revitalize older shopping centers and the Community Impact Grant program will provide matching funds to non-profit organizations seeking support for community led projects. Additionally, the budget includes $22 million of funding to complete infrastructure for the new Suitland Town Center development. Phase one of the Suitland Town Center project, the Town Square at Suitland Federal Center, will begin in FY 2018 with the construction of 219 urban town homes.
  • Progress will continue in terms of growing the economy by improving efficiencies in the permitting and inspection processes. To support these efforts, the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement budget includes funding for continued implementation and hardware for the new permitting and licensing system and funding to support previously unfunded vacant positions.

PUBLIC SAFETY:

  • The respective proposed budgets for Public Safety agencies and Courts provide the resources necessary to meet the response time needs of an ever-growing base of residents and businesses. Taken together, they represent $709.1 million of the FY 2018 proposed budget, an increase of nearly $47.8 million or 7.2% over the FY 2017 budget level.
  • Specifically, the additional funds will allow for the following new personnel - 200 police recruits, 115 firefighters, 25 deputy sheriffs and four new positions in the warrant processing and records management units, 70 correctional officers and seven new correctional treatment coordinators to support the Work Release Center, and funding for all dispatcher and call taker positons.
  • The FY 2018 proposed budget for the Circuit Court and the Orphans Court totals $18.0 million, an increase of $1.7 million or 10.2% above the FY 2017 budget. Included in the proposed funds for the Circuit Court is funding for all vacant positions and enhancements for staff retention to support the delivery of services. The Orphans’ Courts budget includes funding for a new law clerk to support daily operations.
  • The Office of the State’s Attorney proposed FY 2018 budget total $18.0 million, an increase of $1.4 million or 8.6% over the FY 2017 budget. Funding will support retention pay for Assistant State’s Attorneys, new positions including an information technology project coordinator and information technology manager to support the body camera technology programs implemented by the Police Department and County municipalities. Additionally, the budget includes resources for two law clerks and additional contractual funding to support various special prosecution units including the child abuse and cold case units.
  • The CIP budget includes funding for: the completion of the new Police Department Administrative Headquarters and construction for the new Forensics Lab; completion of the Hyattsville and Oxon Hill Fire/EMS stations, land acquisition for the Beechtree and Laurel stations, and planning of the Training and Leadership Academy and Kentland #833 station; renovations at the correctional center medical unit, detention housing units and planning for the Central Control/Administrative Expansion project. Additionally, funding is allocated to complete renovations at the combined Public Safety Training facility and limited renovation of various Court facility areas.

ENVIRONMENT:

  • In FY 2018, the County continues its investment in various environmental programs to improve quality of life and support federal and State mandates. The proposed FY 2018 funding for the Local Watershed Protection and Restoration Enterprise Fund is $14.8 million and remains flat with the FY 2017 budget. This fund continues to support planned activity for impervious area restoration through retrofit stormwater controls. The County’s investment in the Stormwater Management Fund increases in FY 2018 by $3.5 million or 5.2% for a total of $71.1 million to support various water quality programs. The FY 2018 CIP budget includes $49.8 million for the Clean Water partnership.
  • The proposed Solid Waste Management fund budget totals $98.5 million, an increase of $0.9 million or 0.9% over the FY 2017 budget. This fund will continue to support the promotion of recycling which will improve the trash to recycling diversion rate. The FY 2018 CIP program continues to encompass operational and facility improvements and repairs, closure and post-closure requirements for Brown Station Road and Sandy Hill landfills and continued construction of the Organic Composting Facility.

 HEALTHCARE AND HUMAN SERVICES:

  • The proposed budget to the respective human service agencies remains a priority in FY 2018. General Fund support to these agencies total $35.1 million, an increase of $6.5 million or 22.9% above the FY 2017 budget. The increase provides the necessary resources to improve core service delivery, build upon the improvements in our health standards and allow for new programming.
  • Funding in the Department of Family Services supports new initiatives and expanded services and programs in the area of disability and aging services. In FY 2018, resources are provided to support the implementation of a Disabilities Apprenticeship Training program. The program will provide 10 County residents with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities a meaningful paid job training experience with a County agency. Additionally, the budget provides funding for expanded options counseling services to help County residents make informed choices about community based options and services that best meet their long-term support needs.
  • The Health Department continues to direct their efforts towards chronic disease prevention, treatment and providing expanded access to healthcare to County residents. In FY 2018, funding is provided for the new Health Alliance Program to assist healthcare stakeholders throughout the County. The program will provide a care management solution that will help community health workers and other health care professionals provide wrap around and clinical care coordination. Also, additional general fund support has been provided to maintain behavioral health services as it transitions to a fee for service program due to the elimination of the Ambulatory Funding Grant. In FY 2018, the County will support 17 new positions and continue to provide outpatient substance abuse treatment and prevention services to County residents.
  • Protecting our children continues to be a priority for the Department of Social Services. Resources are provided to support five positions for the Child Protection Education Unit. The unit is dedicated to training the entire community about protecting children against abuse, including sexual abuse. Additionally, the department will continue to support afterschool and family economic stability programs as well as the TNI @ School program.
  • Notwithstanding the new programming throughout these agencies, the County will continue focused intervention efforts for vulnerable populations to include reducing the occurrences of violence among children and adults, domestic partners, sexual assault, and/or human trafficking. Resources are deployed to continue collaborative partnerships with County entities such as the Courts, State’s Attorney, and public safety agencies, community partners, and advocates.
  • The CIP budget includes funding for the new Regional Medical Center in Largo which will break ground in the Fall 2017, and continued support for the Regional Health and Human Services Administration Building. This will improve residents’ access to health and human services.

Adhering to the Prince George’s County Charter, the FY 2018 Proposed Budget must be submitted by March 15, 2017 to the Prince George’s County Council. The Council must adopt the FY 2018 Proposed Budget on or before June 1, 2017.

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