Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Approved by Commissioners
The Commissioners of St. Mary's County have adopted the General Fund budget for fiscal year 2017 at $222.1 million, a decrease of 2.3% over fiscal 2016. The balanced budget was adopted without raising property tax or income tax rates. Nearly 63% of the approved budget funding is earmarked for education and public safety. The approved budget also invests in furthering economic development in the county and capital improvement projects.
Among the budget highlights:
• No change in the real property tax rate of $.8523 per $100 of assessed value. The rate in St. Mary's is the 4th lowest in the state of Maryland.
• Local income tax rate remains unchanged at 3% of net taxable income.
• Funding to the Board of Education totals $102.6 million, an increase of $4.6 million over FY16. The county's recurring investment of $99.7 million supports the full cost of merit increases provided in FY16 and required increases for health insurance. $2.9 million in reverted Capital Investment Project (CIP) Pay-Go is being used for one-time funding of Technology and Science book replacements. When combined with State dollars, the Board of Education's overall funding increase is $5.9 million.
• College of Southern Maryland funding increases by $9,250 for the Water Safety Program for 5th graders.
• A 9.8% compensation increase for Sheriff's Office Sworn employees and a 7% increase for Corrections employees.
• $10,000 for software training for emergency services dispatchers; $297,383 for NextGen 800MHz/Radio System maintenance.
• Emergency Services Support tax rises from $016 to $.024 due to increased costs for LOSAP's current retirees and trust fund.
County Government Operations
• An overall 7.7 percent increase in county department budgets, including a 2.5% salary increase for regular and regular part time employees.
• Environmental and Solid Waste Fee increase from $60 to $72 per dwelling for solid waste management and recycling services for residential and nonresidential properties.
• Funding for Non-Profits is budgeted in within Aging and Human Services, Economic Development and Recreation and Parks department budgets depending on their content area. Approved budget funding is $1.1 million.
"We have been very successful in crafting this year's budget especially with respect to the challenging economic environment we are facing," said Commissioner President Randy Guy. "We remain cautiously optimistic our property tax revenues will ultimately come in favorably and allow us to continue to provide the services our citizens expect."
The annual budget process determines how much money will be available and where those resources should be allocated. Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget is the result of a public process. The process included a series of budget work sessions held by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County between December, 2015 and May, 2016. A budget public hearing was held on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
The approved budget will go into effect on Friday, July 1, 2016, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017.
Budget details are available online at www.stmarysmd.com/finance/.
Farm Market Receives Grant to Assist Lower Income Residents and Seniors Purchase Fresh Produce
The Home Grown Farm Market in Lexington Park has received a $5,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation through the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission (SMADC) to match weekly SNAP, WIC and senior fruit and vegetable purchases. The grant will cover up to $10 per customer per week. Eligible families can receive double the amount of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables using one of these forms of benefits. Customers will be given tokens to purchase up to $10 per week of additional products. Wine and nonfood items are excluded.
The Home Grown Market, one of three sponsored by the St. Mary's County Department of Economic Development (DED), is located at 21078 Three Notch Road in Lexington Park. The market has an electronic card reader for credit, debit and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.
The other DED sponsored markets are the California Farmers Market, located in the BAE System parking lot on MD 235 in California, and the North St. Mary's County Farmers Market is located at the Charlotte Hall Library, at the corner of MD 5 and MD 6 in Charlotte Hall.
The St. Mary's County Department of Economic Development encourages everyone to visit these and other farmers markets throughout the community. For more information about the markets in St. Mary's County go to www.stmarysmd.com/ded/farmers.asp. Remember … Shop Local. Shop Often!
Commissioners Visit Small Businesses in St. Mary's County
As part of Small Business Month the Commissioners of St. Mary's County visited three thriving small businesses.
Commissioners began their tour at Coherent Technical Services, Inc. (CTSI) ibn Lexington Park. The veteran-owned company employs 90 people (60 of which are located in their Lexington Park location). The company provides engineering solutions to government and industry and has a growing niche in rapid prototyping, fabrication, and small scale manufacturing.
Managing Director Tom Sanders says the company is also providing space to 3NChemicals and mentoring Jeb Henderson, the owner of a start-up company which has licensed a patent from NAWC-AD and is currently competing proof-of-concept for commercial application of his innovation.
The next stop was at BCF Solutions in Hollywood. Division Director Mike Cooper explained that BCF supports the design, fabrication, integration, and fielding and lifecycle management of tactical, portable, mobile and fixed-site systems. He indicated that rapid prototyping is a hallmark of the company.
Mr. Cooper has also led the effort to establish the county's first maker-space call PaxSpace in an adjacent facility. PaxSpace hosts the annual CrabPot Pitch Competition with the Southern Maryland Innovation and Technology (SMIT) initiative.
The final stop on the tour was at AIRTECH in California. Company President Steve Bildman says the company is an aviation and technology integration company specializing in maritime radar surveillance, range safety, and airborne telemetry.
"The tour was an excellent opportunity to get a firsthand look at the remarkable work these small businesses are doing," said Commissioner President Randy Guy. "Businesses such as these will play a pivotal role in our efforts to diversify our economy."
Town Hall on St. Mary's County Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results Announced
The St. Mary's County Health Department (SMCHD) and St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) will jointly host a Town Hall Meeting to present key findings from the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for St. Mary's County, Maryland. This Town Hall Meeting is scheduled to take place on June 22, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the SMCPS, Central Administration Office located at 23160 Moakley Street in Leonardtown.
The YRBS is a national school-based survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with state and local-level education, health and governmental agencies. This survey monitors health-risk behaviors of the nation's high school students which contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social issues among youth and young adults. Monitored behaviors include suicide; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behavior; violence; and diet, nutrition, and exercise.
The 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was administered to students in the public high schools in St. Mary's County. Participating students voluntarily completed an anonymous self-administered questionnaire about their health behaviors. Survey procedures were designed to protect the privacy of students and adhered to local parental permission procedures.
"The aggregate YRBS data will help us identify the most pressing health concerns affecting our adolescent youth," said Dr. Meenakshi Brewster, Health Officer for St. Mary's County. "This information then guides community-wide efforts to provide our youth and families the services they really need."
Community members are encouraged to attend the upcoming Town Hall Meeting for a review of the results from this survey as well as information on local action to address health issues. For more information on the YRBS, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/ or the SMCHD website at www.smchd.org/data.
Public Comment Period Opens for Unified Planning Work Program
The FY17 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for the Calvert- St. Mary's Metropolitan Planning Organization (C-SMMPO) is now available for public review and comment.
The document outlines the planning activities the C-SMMPO seeks to undertake during the next fiscal year. To view the UPWP go to: md-calvertcountympo.civicplus.com/154/Unified-Planning-Work-Program-UPWP
Citizen input on this document is welcome, so that the needs of the people within the MPO boundary and the region can be accurately reflected. The 15-day public comment period will end on May 31, 2016.
Please direct all questions or comments, please contact Ashley Renshaw, Calvert-St. Mary's MPO Administrator at 301-475-4200, ext. *1505 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.