On Tuesday, May 18, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a balanced General Fund budget of $450,350,300, an increase of 3.9 percent over last year. The adopted budget protects County Government core services, exceeds maintenance of effort funding for Charles County Public Schools, and preserves necessary operations for the Sheriff’s Office.
“Despite a continued challenging budget outlook due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we prioritized education, public health and safety, and maintaining our core services to residents in the upcoming budget,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “From investments in infrastructure and opportunities for youth to expanding criminal justice reform efforts, this year’s budget will move Charles County towards real achievable and measurable outcomes, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact on our community.”
The General Fund budget funds the ongoing costs of government, and includes:
- $4.97 million increase for Charles County Public Schools, which exceeds maintenance of effort funding and increases per-pupil spending by 4.7 percent. County Commissioners approved a reduction of county budget items in the amount of $1 million, in order to support a one percent cola for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS). The total allocation for education, which includes funding for the Charles County Public Library, College of Southern Maryland (CSM), and other education initiatives is $215.7 million, or 47.9 percent, of the General Fund budget. County Commissioners approved one-time funding of $90,000 to be added towards development services for CCPS social and mental health employees, as well as funding towards the “Commissioners Care” scholarship program for CSM.
- $4.5 million increase for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, to fund two new school resources officers, a systems administrator, and a new mental health liaison position. The total allocation is $100.9 million, or 22.4 percent of the General Fund budget.
- $4.07 million increase for County Government operations. The total allocation is $71.72 million, or 15.9 percent, of the General Fund budget. The additional funding will support the VanGO pilot program, eight new positions, the full-year impact of a new emergency medical services crew in Waldorf that was approved for fiscal 2021, and a new resident communications software for the County Commissioners.
- $2.67 million increase for other local government functions, including six new positions in the State’s Attorney’s Office and four community outreach staff for the Charles County Department of Health. It also includes investments in pre-trial services, support for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, and portable radios for fire and emergency medical services volunteer companies.
- Transferred money from the fund balance for other new Commissioner initiatives that will cover the cost of the University of Maryland Incentives Awards Program, creating a non-profit fund, matching funds for Towns of La Plata and Indian Head to establish an art and entertainment district, the Waldorf Urban Redevelopment Corridor Stormwater Outfall, and a feasibility study for a Waldorf Municipal Center.
The $706.3 million, five-year capital improvement program (fiscal 2022-2026) funds one-time expenditures that pay for community assets (schools, roads, parks, water and sewer, etc.).
The real property tax rate is $1.141 for the County Government and $0.064 for Fire and Rescue per $100 of assessed value. The adopted fiscal 2022 budget details are available online at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/government/departments/fiscal-and-administrative-services/budget-division.