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MontCo Releases Proposed 2024 Budget and Capital Improvement Plan
2023-11-21

            The Montgomery County Commissioners released the Proposed 2024 Budget and Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan (2024-2028). This budget maintains the county's commitment to fiscal responsibility while ensuring delivery of effective, high-quality services and programs to county constituents.

            "This budget is a reflection of Montgomery County's core values: investments in great people, effective infrastructure and quality services," said Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr., Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. "This proposal balances financial efficiency with the needs of our constituents. It allows us to provide the necessary services and programs to those who live, work, invest and visit Montgomery County without compromising our fiscal responsibility to taxpayers."

            With more than 850,000 residents to serve, Montgomery County's budget proposal prioritizes people: County employees, residents, workers, and visitors. 

            In Montgomery County, people are our greatest resource. The services and programs we offer would not be possible without the 2,800+ workforce who remain committed to serving the public. This budget proposal allocates $254 million, or 45% of the budget, to our employees. 

            This investment includes the implementation of our comprehensive compensation study that aims to fill ongoing vacancies that strain our existing workforce and continues the contributions to the county's pension plan at 100% of the annual required contribution. Not only do these allocations denote the county's dedication to fairly and appropriately compensating the people who serve this community, they also ensure that the programs and services we're providing are high-quality for our residents.

            While there are fewer County employees than a decade ago, there are more county residents to serve, as Montgomery County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the region. From 2010 to 2020, the county's population grew by 7.1%, which was the same rate as Chester County and higher than Bucks, and Delaware counties. So while our residents' demand outpaces that of our neighbors, we're also operating at a lower employee headcount to fulfill those demands. 

            The budget also accommodates the rising costs of inflation. Households across the country are experiencing increased energy and food costs, and the county is not immune to that. The 2024 budget accounts for the increasing costs of everyday goods and services, such as heating and cooling county-owned buildings, fueling our fleet, and ensuring that the populations we serve have high-quality food. 

            A major impact on our budget allocations came from the safe and strategic reduction of our prison population, which dropped by 56.2% over the five-year period, done in part by reforming the county's bail and probation systems.

            "Montgomery County is focused on supporting all people, ensuring that non-violent criminal offenders get the support they need to reent[er] society as contributing citizens," said Jamila H. Winder, Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

"In safely reducing our prison population, we've been able to reallocate expenditures—so instead of keeping people in jail, we're keeping them out of jail. With the creation of the Supervision Service Offices in 2020, we allocated our budget to maximize court appearances and public safety while minimizing unnecessary pretrial detention for eligible defendants and disparate treatment based on whether or not the accused can afford to pay bail. We're continuing that legacy to ensure every non-violent offender has the support they need to navigate life after prison, without sacrificing public safety."

            Montgomery County is also consistently looking to reduce costs. Through cost containment initiatives including the elimination of 49 vacant full-time positions and debt refinancing, the county has saved and/or avoided an estimated $17 million of costs against the budget since 2022.

            With one of the lowest per capita discretionary spending levels in the region, our prudent spending control has allowed the county to increase its pension contributions, grow its fund balance, and maintain its Aaa credit rating from Moody's, which we earned for the sixth consecutive year.

            Our Aaa rating from Moody's reflects Montgomery County's solid financial position and low debt, our large and dynamic economy and continued growth. Only 127 counties in the United States, out of 3,120 nationwide, received the Aaa credit rating, which is Moody's highest rating. Our rating, which is in the top 4% of its rated counties, is a testament to our history of strong governance to achieve fiscal balance. 

            The proposed 2024 budget presents a balanced approach to allow Montgomery County to manage through the next year and beyond. Overall, revenues are estimated at $568 million, or 11% higher than the 2023 budget. Expenditures are estimated at $567.8 million, or 7% higher than the 2023 budget. 

            Highlights of the 2024 Proposed Budget and Capital Improvement Plan include: $209 million in capital funding to upgrade and improve county-owned roads and bridges, parks, trails, and other facilities. This has a tremendous impact on the 700,000 vehicles that use county-owned bridges, 300,000 vehicles that use the 75 miles of county-owned roadways, and over 3 million people that visit the county's parks, trails, and historic sites each year; $25.7 million of new funding to support and stabilize our county workforce to ensure the timely, efficient delivery of key constituent services and competitive and market-driven pay across county departments, so that Montgomery County can recruit and retain our talented workforce at all levels; and $27.5 million to strengthen the county's pension fund, representing 100 percent of the annual required contribution. 

            In order to support ongoing services for its constituents that benefit their daily lives, and to balance the budget as required by law for county governments, the county is recommending a planned $2 million drawdown of its assigned fund balance for new debt service expense and asking homeowners to pay an average of about $94 dollars more per year. 

            Through a proposed increase in the county's portion of the real estate tax to 4.788 mills, approximately $33.3 million in new net real estate tax revenue will be generated enabling the county to maintain a stable financial position. Residents earning a fixed or low income may be eligible to enroll in a tax abatement program to minimize the impact of any tax increases on their household finances.

            The County's Proposed 2024 Budget and Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan (2024-2028) is available online at www.montgomerycountypa.gov/finance and in-person at One Montgomery Plaza, 425 Swede Street, Commissioners Office, Suite 800, Norristown, PA 19401.

            The Commissioners will hold two public hearings on the 2024 Proposed Budget and Capital Improvement Plan on: Thursday, November 30 at 10:30 a.m. and Thursday, November 30 at 6 p.m. 

            Public comments will be accepted by mail, email, or at the meetings listed above. The Commissioners will consider the budget for adoption at their regularly scheduled board meeting on December 14, at 10 a.m.

            Individuals can submit comments via email to commissioners@montgomerycountypa.gov, or mail comments to: Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, PA 19404.


 

 

 

 

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