Budget Woes Continue for the Next Year
The Office of Management and Budget present economic indicators and the county's fiscal plan.
Montgomery County will see a $140 million gap between expected revenue and expenditures, the county's Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday.
Several factors could influence the final budget but the gap assumes no changes in contracts with vendors or employee unions, or new programs.
About 80 percent of the current operating budget now pays for benefits for county employees. Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) said this number is, "clearly one that needs to be addressed."
In addition, the Office of Management and Budget said the county could see an additional debt of $30 million, by 2012, from the fund necessary to maintain the county's capital budget.
County revenues are projected to grow by 1.4 percent in 2011 and 2.9 percent in 2012, according to County Executive Isiah (Ike) Leggett's office.
The percentage of revenue increase for 2012 assumes a 6.6 percent income tax increase. Also, Leggett's office predicts a 10 percent to 15 percent budget reduction for county government departments.
However, if voters repeal a recently enacted fee on ambulance transports, the county will be forced to impose mid-year spending cuts, hurting public safety services.
Here's a summary of other county economic indicators presented:
Jobs: The OMB reports an approximate 1.6 percent decline in jobs as of July. The unemployment rate has risen from 3.4 percent in August 2008 to 5.7 percent in July 2010.
Homes: The OMB expects home sales to decrease 2.6 percent in 2010 because of the expiration of the first-time homebuyer credit. The average sales price of homes is expected to increase less than 1 percent. Residential construction has increased 68 percent.
Construction: There has been a 21.9 percent increase in non-residential construction projects, whose property values have nearly doubled.