Fiscal Year 2025 Operating & Capital Budget Public Hearing

Garrett County Government presented the public hearing for the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 Operating & Capital Budget. Public comments are accepted until June 3, 2024 at [email protected] and the final adoption of the budget is scheduled for the public meeting on that date.

This comprehensive budget outlines the financial plans and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. A PDF copy of the presentation is linked at:

The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2025 reflects a total revenue of $110,056,529.

There are twelve major sources of revenue that make up approximately 94% of Garrett County’s total revenues:

  • Real Property Tax: $63,396,560
  • Income Tax: $16,500,000
  • Accommodation Tax: $4,000,000
  • Public Utilities Tax: $3,734,914
  • Personal Property Tax: $2,667,247
  • Disparity Grant: $2,537,671
  • Recordation Tax: $1,800,000
  • Transfer Tax: $1,800,000
  • Forestry & Parks: $1,738,914
  • Investment Income: $1,600,000
  • Highway User Revenue: $1,498,568
  • Admission & Amusement Tax: $1,000,000

The operating expenses for the Fiscal Year 2025 budget are also projected to be $95,743,849. The allocation of expenses encompasses various departments and sectors, including general government, public safety, public works, community health, education, parks, recreation, culture, public service, economic development, and economic opportunity expenses.

Overall, the total FY2025 operating budget was an increase of 4.30%; however, with the education category increasing by 6.22% and excluding this category’s increases, the total operating expenses would have only increased by 1.85% in an environment where inflation is about 3.4%.

The largest increase of the expense budget was for one-time capital expenditures which increased 69.61% for a total of $14,312,680.  The Education category made up 30% of the $14.3 million with the largest line item of $4.05 million going toward the Commissioners’ $14.4 million total commitment for the Southern Grade Band Project. Other significant line items included $1.57 million for a 100% grant funded 911 phone refresh, approximately $1.1 million for routine Road’s Department equipment, $2 million for bridge maintenance and bridge replacements, and $2.5 million for a mandated construction gas infrastructure at the Garrett County Solid Waste and Recycling landfill.

“Blueprint Local Share funding (for education) increased by $1.8 million,” said Scott Weeks, Director of Finance. “This is the gist of our presentation and is what’s driving our expense budget and why we’re proposing to keep the tax rate at $1.056. We have forecasted that our share of education funding will increase $15.8, or rounded to $16, million over the next nine years.”

Key highlights of the proposed budget include:

  • Cut approximately $1 million from the requests. 
  • Proposing a $95.7 million Operating and a $14.3 million Capital Budget for a total Operating & Capital Budget of $110.1 million. 
  • Funded the operations of outside agencies an additional $2.5 million. 
  • Combined operating and capital funding for these outside agencies totaled over $48.4 million or 44% of the total Operating and Capital Budget.
  • Education “Blueprint” funding increased Garrett County’s Local Share mandate by $1.8 million. The Budgetary impact was $1.57 million additional funding for FY25.
  • Funding $4.05 million for year two of our four-year $14.4 million commitment for the Southern Grade Band Project.
  • Biggest Future Challenge is Education funding: Projecting a $15.8million increase in Blueprint funding for Public Schools over the next 9 years.
    • Over next 3 years alone we are projecting a $7.9 million increase in operation funding.
  • Over $1.2 million will be invested in broadband and local business development.
  • No new positions.
  • No Real Property Tax rate increase. Rate will remain at $1.056.
  • No increases to the Water & Sewer Ad Valorem Tax Rates and a reduction in 4 of the 12 Sanitary Districts.
  • No Income Tax rate increase. Rate will remain at 2.65% (making Garrett County the 3rd lowest in the State).
  • No Reserves were used to balance this budget.
  • No new General Fund debt.
  • Maintaining a 10% rainy day fund.

“The general government budget increase is only 1.85%, which is about half of the current inflationary environment,” said Commissioner Chairman Paul Edwards. “I’d like to commend the finance staff on an excellent job. What looked like would be a conversation about raising taxes in the near future looks like a conversation much further down the line. At the same time, we’re not reducing services to our citizens.”

The entire budget presentation can be viewed online at starting at 7:14. 

Created 5/24/2024 12:20pm
Last Updated 5/24/2024 12:22pm