LEONARDTOWN, MD– The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County will meet Tuesday to adopt the FY2022 budget, with plans for unprecedented funding increases to the Board of Education and Sheriff’s Office and reduced county income taxes.
For the FY2022 budget, the Commissioners have allocated $114,403,117 to public schools representing the most significant funding effort in St. Mary’s County history. The funding represents a 4.4% increase over the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) State requirement. The MOE mandates that St. Mary’s County Government annually provide a specified minimum funding amount to public schools. Over the last ten years, the Commissioners have allocated an average of $4.6 million above the MOE requirement to the Board of Education.
The Sheriff’s FY2022 Budget includes 36 new full-time positions, principally for the St. Mary’s County Detention & Rehabilitation Center’s expansion, and exceeds the FY2021(non-grant) budget by $6 million or 12.8% for a total of $52,971,702. Historically, the average increase to the Sheriff’s budget has been $2.3 million.
The FY2022 budget contains compensation increases for the Board of Education staff, Sheriff’s employees, and county staff, with a merit equivalent of 2.5% and a 1.3% Cost of Living Adjustment.
County residents will see a reduction in income tax rates in FY2022. The Commissioners approved a rate reduction to 3.1% effective January 1, 2022; the decrease is due to strong growth in tax return receipts in TY18 & TY19; this budget uses a growth percentage of 4%. The expected growth of tax receipts allows for the across-the-board funding increases to county employees, the Board of Education, and the Sheriff’s Office.
St. Mary’s County Government’s total FY2022 General Fund Budget is $288,664,540. When the Fund Balance and Grants are removed from the total funding, the amount is $255,679,110, representing a 7.49% increase over the prior year. St. Mary’s County Government’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeannett Cudmore, said, “This growth is principally related to increased assessments for Property Tax and increased Income Tax return growth.”
The Commissioners will meet Tuesday, May 25 at 9 a.m. for their regular business meeting and to approve the FY2022 Operating and Capital Budgets. The meeting will take place in the Commissioners Meeting Room at 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown and can be viewed live on SMCG Ch. 95 or the St. Mary’s County Government YouTube Channel.