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The Prince George’s County Council adopted a $3.6 billion balanced County General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 on Wednesday, May 29. The FY 2020 County Budget becomes effective with the new Fiscal Year which begins July 1, 2019.
Prince George’s County Council Chair Todd M. Turner (D) – District 4, during budget adoption remarks, noted the collaboration between the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch to produce a balanced spending plan that reflects the Council’s commitment to sound and responsible fiscal management while addressing the needs of County residents.
“We appreciate the great vision, focus, and diligence of County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and her Executive Budget Team, led by Chief Administrative Officer Major Riddick, in formulating the proposed FY 2020 spending plan submitted to this Council in March - the first of her Administration. As team leader for our County, she gave the Council a great running start, and has continued to work with us throughout this Budget Process to achieve our shared priorities, especially regarding funding for education, youth initiatives, beautification, and improving public roads and safety.”
Over 60% of the County’s General Fund spending has been appropriated for education. The approved Board of Education Operating Budget of $2.1 billion fully funds the proposed spending plan submitted to the Council. Additional education funding also includes $7.8 million to renovate the Largo Student Center at Prince George’s Community College and added funding to expand Sunday and Friday hours at some County libraries, and support bilingual outreach programs.
Council Chair Turner thanked state lawmakers for their strong support during this year’s General Assembly session which paved the way for additional education funding.
“We appreciate the strong support of state lawmakers during this year’s Maryland General Assembly session, particularly with the enactment of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future for education funding, and the Prince George’s County Alternative Construction Financing (ACF) program, supporting a unique approach to school construction in Prince George’s County. The Board of Education budget will now see more than 90-million-dollars in Kirwan Commission and other state funding. State support for school construction may still be a few years away, however considering the urgent need, the ACF project is already underway with the support of school and County dollars. The project presents an opportunity to address aging facilities and ease overcrowding more quickly and hopefully more affordably with the help of a private partner to help finance, build, renovate, and maintain new schools.”
Council enhancements to the budget include a continuing investment in infrastructure improvements with an additional $3-million to the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) for road resurfacing. Additional funding also supports the Housing Department in its service to residents, and implementation of the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Housing Opportunities for All initiative. The Council added $150-thousand to the budget for Employ Prince George’s and $150-thousand to support the work of the Youth Services Bureau.
The newly-adopted spending plan also provides additional funding for Homeland Security to conduct more community outreach and emergency preparedness education; add more fire recruits; and provide additional uniforms for Volunteer Firefighters.
In Bi-County budget action earlier this month, lawmakers from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties unanimously adopted the FY 20 Operating and Capital Budgets for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC); the Bi-County portion of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC); and the Washington Suburban Transit Commission (WSTC). During the joint session, both councils agreed to a WSSC Operating Budget of $817.4 million and a Capital Budget of $569.7 million for the utility. The new budget includes a 5-percent rate increase for water and sewer customers. The Fiscal Year 2020 bi-county budgets are effective July 1, 2020.