County Council Approves Scaled Back Budget-Cut Proposals

County Council Approves Scaled Back Budget-Cut Proposals

After reviews, committee keeps funds for three corrections positions

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The Montgomery County Council Tuesday unanimously approved a mid-year savings plan that includes fewer reductions than the one proposed by the county executive.

After taking office Dec. 3, County Executive Marc Elrich asked departments to look for ways to reduce spending to close a $44 million shortfall in the current fiscal year’s operating budget.

Among the cuts he proposed were a $25 million reduction to the Montgomery County Public Schools budget, a $3.9 million cut to the Department of Health and Human Services, a $3.7 million cut to the police department and $2.8 million less for Montgomery College.

Since Elrich released his plan, the council’s six committees have reviewed it and made their own recommendations.

The major aspects of the savings plan haven’t changed in the council’s version. But the council’s public safety committee, chaired by Council Vice President Sidney Katz, objected to the proposed elimination of three positions within the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

“DOCR has lost more than 50 positions since the recession, at times causing unforeseen security issues. While several positions have been restored over the years, any permanent position reductions risk further security concerns,” senior legislative analyst Marlene Michaelson said in a memo to the council.

Other aspects of Elrich’s plan that the council rejected include a $203,211 proposed cut to the county’s emergency tree pruning service, a $35,000 cut that would fund new traffic signs and pavement markings and a $166,000 cut to the county’s Ride On bus service. Those changes were made by the transportation and environment committee, chaired by council member Tom Hucker.

The council committees also rejected a $121,101 cut in intergovernmental funding for new voting equipment and a proposed $84,836 reduction in contract and supplies for the Non-Native Invasive Plant Program from the Park Fund.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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