May 25, 2018
Yesterday I was proud to join with my colleagues to pass the $4.09 Billion Fiscal Year 2019 County Operating Budget; the Bi-County portion of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission budget; and the FY 19 Operating and Capital budgets for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission budgets.
President Obama said, "A budget is more than a series of numbers on a page. It is an embodiment of our values." With this budget, we celebrate the County's growth, and our commitment to sound and responsible fiscal management. We can be proud of the collaborative and progressive work we have achieved together; we can look forward to a sustainable financial future. We are committing to a strong, better Prince George's County where people choose to build, live, raise families, work, worship, start businesses, and play.
As Chair of the Council this year, I am especially grateful to the active involvement of residents during the budget process.
From the testimony provided by our young people, to the comments of our County's non-profit representatives and civic leaders, our residents have been incredibly engaged in the Council's budget process, telling us what your community needs, sharing your priorities, helping to guide this process from budget proposal to today's budget adoption.
I am also grateful to County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, and his team for assembling and transmitting to the Council a thoughtful, innovative, purpose-driven spending plan. Together over the last many years, we rolled up our sleeves and did the work to create jobs, and spur economic development, transit-oriented development and investment in our communities.
Below are just a few highlights included in this budget. Read the full budget ordinance here. Watch the budget remarks made by my colleagues and me here.
Overall, 64% of the FY 2019 Budget, over $2 billion, has been appropriated for education, which fully funds the budget requested by the Prince George's County Board of Education and exceeds the state-mandated Maintenance of Effort. Overall, the Council has increased investments in PGCPS by over $133 million since FY 2015. Additional education funding enhances library security measures and expands the Prince George's Community College COAST program, which provides special academic counselors in high schools for students who need remedial help following graduation. The Council also appropriated funding for the second phase of the on-going
PGCPS Comprehensive Audit
. Last year, the County and PGCPS completed the first comprehensive audit of PGCPS in 18 years and the Council is committed to continuing this review. Funding is included for additional maintenance and lead remediation at school buildings.
In the Capital Improvement Program budget, funding continues for the full replacement of William Wirt Middle School and for building the new Glenridge-area Middle School (near Glenridge Elementary) to relieve overcrowding.
The County continues to invest in additional classes of public safety officers, including five new recruit classes for the Police Department, three new recruit classes for the Fire/EMS Department, two new recruit classes for the Office of the Sheriff, and two new recruit classes for the Department of Corrections.
We are also funding the purchase of an additional set of gear for volunteer firefighters, and implementing crucial safety measures which will benefit all residents.
Public Works & Transportation
Residents across the County are experiencing the effects of the backlog of cases on quality of life issues due to dramatic funding cuts made during the recession. The Council this year continued our commitment to invest funds as we work to restore those recession-related cuts. The Council added funds to repair and maintain roads and sidewalks; improve County maintenance of medians and County-owned vacant lots; and trim street trees. In District 3, I included funding to proceed with large stormwater management projects (design and construction) in Berwyn Heights, Riverdale Park, and College Park.
Housing, Redevelopment & Revitalization
For the second year in a row, the Council added funds to the Housing Investment Trust Fund with a $2.5M investment in gap financing for new workforce housing and senior housing projects. We added dollars for the Redevelopment Authority to support place-making around Transit Oriented Development projects, and $200,000 to support businesses affected by Purple Line construction, to ensure they remain open and are able to reposition for future growth when the light rail opens.
Health and Human Services
The Council made a strategic investment in the Health Assure program, which will assist our community-based Federally Qualified Health Centers to close funding gaps as they provide services to undeserved areas of the County. We renewed our commitment to ending domestic violence and abuse in the County by appropriating $500,000 for a third round of grant funding, and authorized funding for a feasibility study for increased Domestic Violence housing capacity. We authorized funding for a Health Needs and Human Services Blueprint for the County to develop key strategies to address the health and human needs of County residents, and the strategic financial investment needed to address behavioral health and social determinants of health challenges in the County.
Parks & Recreation
Funding is included in the M-NCPPC Capital Improvement Program to produce a feasibility study on fully enclosing the Wells-Linson Ice Rink in College Park. Many thanks to all those who advocated for "Walls for Wells" in budget hearings this year. I've also included funding to explore the expansion of two of our most heavily used community centers, College Park and Good Luck Road, to better serve residents.
Investment in expanding the County's Organic Composting Facility will double the size of the Gore composting system, making it the largest composting facility on the east coast. Investment in the Resource Recovery Park will assist to capture divertable waste currently going into the Brown Station Road landfill.
We have continued our leadership within Maryland through a second round of investment in programs to provide legal defense and language access for local immigrants at risk for detention and deportation. We again matched a grant from Venture Philanthropy Partners, Inc. to select a second cohort of four PGC nonprofits for the
Ready to Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative. I am pleased that numerous nonprofits which directly support District 3 residents will receive County grant support. This year reflects a significant increase in funds for nonprofit organizations.
Today I would also like to take a moment to remember Mayor Andrew Hanko. Mayor Hanko served the City of New Carrollton for 34 years as Mayor and for 14 years prior to that as a Council Member. He passed away on Saturday and will be truly missed by many, including me.
I wish you and your family a safe Memorial Day weekend as we remember all those who gave their lives for our county.
As always, don't hesitate to reach out to a member of my staff or me if we can assist you in any way.
Together Strengthening our Community,
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