Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner introduced a $665.8 million fiscal year 2021 budget, a 4.4 percent increase from last year.

In her budget address Wednesday, Gardner said she might introduce a supplemental budget later this year to the County Council, after it’s clearer what revenue estimates might look like due to the coronavirus pandemic. She said income tax was likely impacted in the last month or so, since parts of the economy were shut down.

In an interview, Gardner said the county brought income tax revenue estimates down by $10 million to $12 million, but a strong underlying economy and good reserve levels mean the county is in a good position.

The county’s two largest sources of revenue are property and income tax, accounting for roughly 53 percent and 35 percent of the budget, respectively. The proposed budget anticipates about $352.7 million in property taxes and $236.2 million in income taxes.

The proposed property tax rate remains at $1.06 per $100 of assessed value, the same rate as fiscal year 2020.

For now, Gardner said she is forgoing all budget appeals from divisions and agencies due to the coronavirus pandemic — except for adding 13 firefighters/emergency medical technicians in order to staff the Northgate fire station in northwestern Frederick. That station is scheduled to open later this year.

The budget currently allocates just under $1.58 million for those positions.

“I don’t want to open a fire station and not have it staffed, and we’ve definitely needed that station for a number of years,” Gardner said.

Discussions about a possible supplemental budget to fund more budget requests could happen either in the middle of this year or toward the fall, based on what it takes for the economy to recover.

The county also currently has roughly $51 million in reserves, Gardner said, but the proposed budget doesn’t spend any of those, and she “has no plan to dip into them at this point.”

Counties across the state are keeping an eye on how their economies might recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and how a possible second wave of the virus might further impact the economy, Gardner said.

“I really think what you’re going to hear from every county is the state is they don’t know,” Gardner said about the upcoming months and overall impact on the budget. “We’re all making our best projections, our best guesses.”

The County Council is scheduled to have a virtual public hearing on the budget on April 21 at 6 p.m. Public comment can be emailed to councilmembers@frederickcountymd.gov or sent by phone to 301-600-1135.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(14) comments

Obadiah Plainsmen

Looking at the budget on page 53 Department Expense budget /General Fund under County Executive there is a 24.2% increase from FY19, 2nd largest % increase behind Transit. On page 108, Organizational Budgets/ County Executive, it shows that the FTE's has increase by two from 10 to 12. The 24.2% increase in dollars equals $345,340.00 for two additional employees + benefit's and retirement.... Interesting.

Comment deleted.
gabrielshorn2013

As long as they don't get arrested for committing any crimes and get themselves sent to jail, they will have no problem Plumbum. It is only then that the 287g program kicks in, but you already know that. Anyone getting arrested gets a full background check. Your one case is an outlier from 2008. Isn't that dead horse pulp by now? Do we need to call PeTA?

bcraig4321

So let's get this straight. Economists are predicting US GDP will drop by at least 9 percentage points in Q3. We're looking at another mortgage crisis as we reach 19% unemployment in April which will push home values down. Meanwhile clueless ignorant Jan is proposing a budget with 4% increase. Get ready to bend over with the special tax increase in Jan/Feb as its realized this budget should be 5% less than last years.

Tony C

nevermind, I found it... https://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=7382

Tony C

can someone post a link for the entire budget?

stevemckay

Here's the main page for the budget: https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/66/Budget-Office

Or you can read it page by page here: https://user-zhchula.cld.bz/Frederick-County-FY2021-Proposed-Budget-Book

elymus43

Jan. likes tax increases. The restaurants, non-profits, and etc. all want your money, too. Now along comes a county tax increase???????????? When wlil the county and the city live within their means??????

FrederickFan

Read the article. There is no tax increase.

FrederickFan

The article states that the tax rate remained $1.06. The same rate it has been for years, since it was raised by Blaine Young.

What article did you read?

maryron

Why than, has my property taxes gone UP 20% in the last 5 years.

recordhigh

Because the value of your house has increased.

bobcat21532

Your property taxes have increased because the assessed value of your property has gone up. Property assessments are handled by the State, not the County. Your property tax bill is calculated by multiplying the assessed value (from the state) by the tax rate (set by the County).

CheetoBenito

Reading is fundamental!

FrederickFan

Kudos to Gardner for introducing a fiscally responsible budget.

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