The Calvert County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved a $297.5 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 General Fund operating budget. It is a balanced budget and includes a reduction of the real property tax rate from $0.952 to $0.937 per $100 of assessed value, returning $1.7 million to all county property owners.
The $297.5 million General Fund budget for FY 2019 reflects an increase of $14.7 million compared to the FY 2018 General Fund budget of $282.8 million. The increased revenues of the General Fund are primarily due to the county’s Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement (PILOT) with Dominion Cove Point which recently entered into operations.
“In the FY 2019 budget we have made sound financial decisions for the benefit of our citizens,” said Commissioner President Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. “We are steadfast in supporting public schools, public safety and ensuring that each tax dollar spent is toward the betterment of our community.”
The budget reflects a commitment to funding Calvert County Public Schools. School funding makes up more than 47 percent of the General Fund operating budget and nearly 27 percent of the six-year capital projects budget. Calvert County Public Schools funding is set at $126.4 million, $5.1 million over the prior year. The level is set per a funding formula agreed to by the BOCC and the Calvert County Board of Education. The four-year public schools funding agreement provides $1 million in additional funds to offset operating costs for new schools and specifies that any unassigned public schools fund balance in excess of $5 million be contributed to the school system’s Other Post Employment Benefits Trust Fund.
Other increases in the FY 2019 operating budget include:
• A $1.5 million increase to Calvert County’s Highway Maintenance Division to fund the road paving program, bringing the total amount provided for paving to $5.5 million.
• The first year’s funding of about $1.6 million for the operations of the new Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter.
• A salary increase for county employees equaling $2 million, plus a 1.22 percent cost of living adjustment equaling $550,000.
In 2016, the BOCC identified a growing concern about the ability to maintain 100-percent all-volunteer fire/rescue/Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In response to a request for help from a committee of chiefs from each volunteer fire/rescue/EMS station, it was recommended the county begin the process of supplementing our EMS system with paid paramedics. This FY 2019 budget provides for one paid paramedic within the Calvert County Department of Public Safety who will begin the process of building supplemental support to enhance the county’s current volunteer paramedics.
The $393.6 million, six-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) lays out the county’s capital program for FY 2019-2024. School construction and renovations account for the largest category totaling $105.3 million, with significant resources going toward the completion of the new Northern High School and renovations to Northern Middle School and Beach Elementary School. Public facilities are the next largest group in the CIP budget, totaling approximately $61.7 million.
Residents are encouraged to review the approved budget online. For more information about the FY 2019 budget, contact the Calvert County Department of Finance and Budget at 410-535-1600, ext. 2435. Information on Calvert County Government services can be found online at www.co.cal.md.us. Like Calvert County Government on Facebook.