Statement by County Councilmember Nancy Navarro on the County Executive’s FY 2021 Revised Spending Plan
On Tuesday, July 7, 2020 the County Council introduced the County Executive's Recommended FY21 Savings Plan - Amendments to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program. Public Hearing and Action is scheduled for July 28, 2020
On July 6, 2020, County Executive Marc Elrich sent a recommended spending plan to the County Council that detailed spending cuts in the FY 21 Operating and Capital budgets. The budgets were first proposed before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our county. In March, I spearheaded a resolution passed by the full Council calling for us to exercise spending restraint on operating budget items that are not related to public health or economic recovery needs related to the COVID-19 crisis and worked with my colleagues to propose a process that would initially fund a continuity of services budget.

As a Council we initially saved $70.3 million from the County executive’s budget proposal. We also voted against the Executive’s proposed tax increase and held the line on employee raises. We did all this to be prudent in anticipation of a possible revenue shortfall of up to $600 million. The County Executive’s proposed cuts of $66 million are in general an acknowledgment that we need to do more to tighten our belt.

As the Chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee, I will be looking very closely at the recommended cuts. The $8.5 million in cuts to the Police Department, along with cuts in Mass Transit ($4.2 million), Health and Human services ($2.9 million), Fire and Rescue Services ($2.3 million), and Technology Services ($2.1 million) are the five top cuts proposed by the County Executive’s budget.

On June 11, 2020, I wrote a memorandum requesting as a matter of urgent priority that a thorough review be conducted of our current law enforcement response capacity for those who need mental health services. We need to create a base from which we can start to reprogram parts of our operating budget to create a structure which best fits our needs as a County. I look forward to a more comprehensive conversation about reprogramming of existing resources to meet the mental health needs of our residents.

The proposed cuts in Health and Human Services are coming at a time when we have just been provided alarming data about health disparities within the Latino population, with consistent soaring COVID-19 positivity rates even as those of other populations are declining or remaining flat. This is deeply concerning to me.

While there are opportunities for reimagining and reprogramming our resources, I intend to study the impact of all these cuts closely, especially with respect to the delivery of services to the most vulnerable in our county.
Read the packet with the proposed FY21 Savings Plan here .
Councilmember Nancy Navarro
100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20852