I was honored to join with my colleagues to pass a $4.6 Billion Fiscal Year 2022 Budget for Prince George's County yesterday. The County Council has spent the past two+ months reviewing every County agency through robust Committee of the Whole sessions.
Thank you to the more than 100 individuals who testified at our two public budget hearings and even more who reached out via email. Also, a special thanks to Chair Hawkins and Vice-Chair Taveras and the entire team who worked on our budget this year. Doing this work in the midst of a pandemic is not easy.
In addition, I need to give a special shout out to our County Executive for her work to send the County Council a budget that included additional funds for pedestrian safety and positions recommended by the County Police Reform Workgroup, as well as a solid budget for the Board of Education, which includes educational investments in the classroom and in school construction and repairs.
This year, I primarily advocated for increased investments in quality of life issues, health and human services, police reform, and economic development and revitalization. Addressing inequities, delivering strong government services, and growing our local economy are critical for the future of Prince George’s County. Several of the key additional items I ensured are part of this budget include:
- Funding to strengthen fair housing enforcement within the Office of Human Rights
- Funding to the Department of the Environment to support the implementation of the updated animal management code passed in 2019
- Increased funding to the County's five Youth Service Bureaus to provide additional mental health supports to our youth
- Funding to support three new DPIE code enforcement inspector positions
- Funding to purchase noise monitoring equipment and the associated training
- Funding to the Prince George's County Memorial Library System to ensure Sunday hours
- An increase of $1.9 M to support County nonprofits and retain the level of funding from last year
- Funding to support small and Latino-owned businesses along the Purple Line
- Additional funding to implement the recommendations of the Police Reform Task Force
- Funding to build new bus shelters in District 3
- Additional funding to improve 911-health-police mental health crisis services
- Increased funding for road and sidewalk repair to continue County street improvements
- Funding to provide for an update to the County’s 10-year homeless plan
Earlier this month, I was proud to join with my colleagues under the leadership of Chair Hawkins and At-large Council Member Franklin to support CB-19-2021, to establish the Prince George's County Re-entry Employment Incentive Program to encourage employers to hire Prince George’s County residents who are returning from incarceration and related requirements. Through this budget we put the initial funding in place for this important program.
In the County's Capital Improvement Budget, I worked to ensure we have funding for the infrastructure necessary to assist in transforming the New Carrollton Metro Station. Planning for the new 150-acre park surrounding the historic Glenn Dale Hospital site will begin in the next fiscal year. This new park will complement the redevelopment of the 60-acres already in discussion with the community, which will preserve historic buildings and create a new multigenerational community. A study to evaluate the improvements needed at Good Luck Community Center is moving forward and work continues on plans for multigenerational recreation centers which would touch every resident in D3.
In addition to the investments we are making in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which will take effect on July 1, the County will receive more than $170 million in federal American Recovery Plan (ARP) dollars. I am incredibly pleased that we have gotten a commitment from the County Executive to use some of this funding to support greater investments in health and human services for our residents, including additional funding of $5 annually for the Health Assures Program for our Federally Qualified Health Centers and support for low-income single-family homeowners along the Purple Line and throughout the County to rehab and weatherize their homes. Also, funds have also been committed to support a Countywide stormwater study to provide for greater resilience in the face of climate change. More discussion on additional ARP funds will happen in June and July. If you live in a municipality, please know that our 26 municipalities combined will receive nearly $160 million in federal ARP funds as well.