Prince George’s County Passes $2.7 Billion Budget (Demo)

…and those 15 administrative positions the Board of Education just had to have did NOT get funded and I’m so glad about it.  The school system received an increase in funding for FY 2014 of $23 million dollars over last year’s funding, so it’s not like the schools aren’t receiving their just due, but those 15 positions Verjeana Jacobs, BOE chair, and the out to lunch bunch tried to stick the county are squashed.  I’m salty about those positions because I see them as a passive aggressive way of thumbing their nose at Baker for  his school governance legislation, which they used as justification for the positions.  How about the fact that WE, the county residents, would have to pay for the positions?!!!   The Washington Post quoted Jacobs as saying, “I think that action was ill advised, premature, and unfortunate,” she said. “We all keep talking about how important education is. . . . It is the heaviest lift with the least amount of support.”  The Patch reported, “The county council is also requesting that the school board allocate $500,000 to help fund an audit of the county school system’s performance. It has been 15 years since such an audit was undertaken within the county school system.”

money-taxesSome of the positive peaks on the funding front are a 30 member class of recruits for the Fire Department – YES! – Sunday hours for three county libraries, which three libraries is the question.  The Post went into detail about the hard fought fight the libraries won after County Executive Baker proposed cutting their funding, “The county’s library system got a $2.5 million boost to restore Sunday hours at three libraries, most likely New Carrollton, Oxon Hill and South Bowie, and to buy more materials.  Baker had proposed a cut to the system of about $820,000, but an intense lobbying effort by Friends of the Library groups, council members, and the union representing library employees changed the outcome.”  Crosswalks and safe, pedestrian-friendly improvements received $3.6 million in transportation funding. County Employees, still in union negotiations with the county, received $18 million for pay raises,  $400k budgeted to expand youth employment programs, $200k for the government to market this county as a great place to live, work, and play, *sidebar* Y’all need to call/email/contact PGC Blog immediately. *end sidebar* and although cuts in the budget were made, the county avoided having to furlough employees or have a reduction in force.  

County Exec. Baker
County Exec. Baker, courtesy PGC Blog

County Executive Baker’s $50 million economic development incentive fund, which has spent only $2.4 million on loans and grants to lure and retain businesses and jobs, maintained its funding to the tune of $11 million.  Also, Baker’s proposed new Police Department headquarters received $25 million in funding.  Property taxes in PGCo remain at 96 cents per $100 and with the property values being down right now, not much more revenue from property taxes will be generated in FY 2014.
County Executive Baker warns that there are tough times ahead still because not enough revenue is being generated by the county.  With a measly county surplus of $45 million, Baker aide Tom Himler was quoted as saying about future program cuts, “For us, nothing is off the table.”  

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Comments (4)

Seems like the Council made some good changes to the budget, including the library funding increase and not funding the new BOE positions.
Since I know finding places to cut is hard and I try to be constructive, I’ve been lobbying Baker and the Council to cut the completely useless and very wasteful twice-a-week trash collection down to once a week – as is done in many (probably most) lovely and clean communities all across the country. According to my Councilman, the cut was not included in the budget, supposedly due to Council members’ concerns that it could increase litter in the county. However, I’m not buying that argument, for multiple reasons. So my lobbying will continue next year.

I may have an unpopular opinion on the library but it seems to me that there should be a cut in library hours, facilities and services. This day and age where the is a computer and laptop in almost every home and you can Google from home, research information for school work from home and download books to tablets and e-readers why is the county still wanting to put more money into libraries.
Maybe I am just not seeing the bigger picture here with keeping the entire library system going as is. Me personally I think it just more for nostalgia sake to have the option of going to the library to check out a book because if there was a poll done I would guess that probably 75% of adult have not visited their local library within the past year.

I actually wrote a letter to Baker opposing cuts to the library. Part of my argument was that having the ability to educate oneself, young or old, has value beyond definition. I think we should actually be concerned when Google is becoming the number one source for information.
I agree with Andrew Carnegie who said “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”

I agree with Shannon. Libraries have evolved with time and are about much more than just hard copy books. We can’t forget that not everyone has a good computer and high-speed internet at home. Libraries are an important place for people to get on the computer and online; I see lots of people on computers all the time when I go to the library. We get tons of audio books and ebooks from the library, in addition to hard copy books. We read a lot, and buying all the books we read would get very expensive.

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