ROCKVILLE, Md., March 15, 2011—Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin’s statement on the recommended Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget released today by County Executive Isiah Leggett:
Difficult budget times force us to make choices that are necessary to position ourselves for better days ahead. It is how we respond to these times that determine what kind of community we are and what we want to be when we emerge in more prosperous times.
The FY12 operating budget proposed by County Executive Leggett and his team was crafted during historically difficult economic times for our County. I want to thank the County Executive and his staff for their extraordinary efforts in developing his budget proposal.
Now the members of 17th County Council get to work carefully reviewing the operating budget. This year, the Council will get back to basics, focus on disciplined governing and implement long-term structural changes to benefit all of our residents.
State and local governments across the nation, like the American people, have felt the severe impact of the recession and the slow recovery. Although the County’s economy is stronger than many other jurisdictions, we have our own budget challenges. Revenues are down, and demands for service are up. To balance the FY12 budget we must close a $300 million gap between projected expenditures and resources. But for the $32 million in spending cuts the Council has made in the current year’s budget – which itself was the leanest seen in more than 40 years – the gap would have been much larger.
The County Council is committed to fully engaging the community throughout the budget process. The Council welcomes input from all County residents. The Council’s public hearings on the FY12 operating budget are scheduled for April 5-7. Residents may sign up to speak by calling 240-777-7803. Residents can also provide input by sending comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, regular mail at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850, or by calling our budget hotline at 240-777-7802. The Council’s daily work on the budget can be followed on www.montgomerycountymd/council and clicking on ‘budget update.’
We must make the tough decisions that will keep this County on the course of greatness, which is the reason why nearly a million people call Montgomery County home and why so many who are drawn to innovation and opportunity choose to work here. We have our challenges, but we will approach them with the confidence of knowing that if any community has the capacity to adapt, it is Montgomery County. I am confident that by working together we will continue to achieve great things.