On Tuesday, May 17, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a balanced General Fund budget of $494,446,200, an increase of 9.8 percent over last year. The adopted budget provides historic funding for Charles County Public Schools, makes critical investments in core programs and services, record-level investments in public safety, and does not increase the current property tax rate or income tax rate.
“The county continues to prioritize education, public health and safety, and maintaining our core services for residents in the fiscal 2023 budget,” said Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “This year, for the first time, we incorporated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into our budget discussions so our funding decisions will create equitable opportunities, embrace diversity, and address disparities. The fiscal 2023 budget also funds a variety of necessary personnel, infrastructure, and program requests to benefit our community and the agencies supporting them.”
The General Fund budget funds the ongoing costs of government and includes:
- $12 million increase for Charles County Public Schools, which exceeds maintenance of effort funding and increases per-pupil spending by 6 percent. The fiscal 2023 budget provides record funding of $212,686,400 to help support their Blueprint Implementation costs. The total allocation for education, including funding for the Charles County Public Library, College of Southern Maryland, and other education initiatives, is $228.67 million, or 46.2 percent of the General Fund budget.
- $7.13 million increase for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office to fund ten new positions for station clerks, forensic science technicians, court security officers, a fleet specialist, an automated enforcement supervisor, and a teen court specialist. The total allocation is $ 107.99 million, or 21.9 percent of the General Fund budget.
- $7 million increase for County Government operations. The total allocation is $78.73 million, or 15.9 percent, of the General Fund budget. The additional funding will support ten new emergency medical technicians, two of which will be dedicated for hazmat related support, and eight will support ambulance service in the Waldorf area, as well as new positions to support county road maintenance; recreation services; information technology; and planning and community resources coordination. To further Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the community and in the workplace, the fiscal 2023 budget includes a new DEI Coordinator, a DEI consultant, and a therapeutic recreation specialist.
- $4.06 million increase for other local government functions, including funding for the State’s Attorney’s Office, Department of Health, Circuit Court, Election Board, and other government agencies support. The total allocation is $20.27 million or 4.1 percent of the General Fund budget.
- Use of fund balance to support one-time Commissioner initiatives that will cover the cost of the continuation of the Commissioners Cares Scholarship program for the College of Southern Maryland for one-year; additional funding for the Health Department to assist with staff training and support of contractual positions; a 24/7 library kiosk with Wi-Fi at the Nanjemoy Community Center for the Charles County Public Library; increased funding for the Charitable Trust to distribute to local non-profits; feasibility study to support Phase II of a Climate Action Plan; feasibility needs assessments for Circuit Court Courthouse; as well as other one-time items.
- Funding to implement the Body-Worn Camera Program is included in the budget and provides funds for operating and equipment/capital-related items. This will allow the program to be implemented earlier than the state-required implementation date of 2025.
The $842.8 million, five-year capital improvement program (fiscal 2023-2027) provides funding for county infrastructure to support schools, county buildings, roads, parks, water and sewer facilities, and stormwater management. Highlights include:
- Construction of a new elementary school, planning for a new middle school, and additions for full-day kindergarten classrooms
- Open space enclosure funding for Piccowaxen Middle School, Indian Head Elementary School, and Dr. James Craik Elementary School
- Planning for a new recreation center
- Phase III of the Western Parkway
- New parks in Waldorf and Popes Creek
- New VanGO maintenance facility
- Funding for structures to address homelessness within the county
- Water and sewer infrastructure improvement
- Stormwater infrastructure
The real property tax rate is maintained at $1.141 for the County Government and $0.064 for Fire and Rescue per $100 of assessed value. The income tax rate of 3.03 percent remains unchanged. The adopted fiscal 2023 budget details are available online.