County council approves final FY 2024 budget


Graphic by Evelyn Shue

Almost half of the new budget will be allocated for MCPS.

Samantha Cutler, News Writer

The final vote to approve the fiscal year (FY) 2024 Montgomery County budget took place on May 25, with an informal straw vote occurring May 18. The budget passed, allocating $6.7 billion, with $3.1 billion going to education and the rest supporting infrastructure, facilities and other county-wide programs.

The initially proposed budget included a 10 percent property tax increase, but after community and council efforts, that increase was reduced to 4.7 percent. “We achieved these goals by reducing the proposed property tax, finding efficiencies in government operations and making strategic investments to keep Montgomery County moving forward,” Council President Evan Glass said in a press statement.

“We fully funded teacher contracts and met salary and benefit agreements for our hardworking first responders, police and healthcare workers,” Glass said. “At the same time, we cut the County Executive’s proposed 10 percent property tax hike by more than half.”

Still, these increased tax rates, some from real estate recordation, will be used for school facilities. This would allow for heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacements and large-scale renovations, as well as focus on student resources like wellness centers, more school nurses and psychologists, and modernized technology.

The budget allocates nearly half of its share to MCPS, an increase of 8.4 percent from the previous year. The council additionally supported the use of $345 million to fully fund Montgomery College.

To implement the proposed changes to the FY 2023 MCPS budget, County Executive Marc Elrich supported the 10 percent increase in property taxes, which would give $220 million towards the public school system, eventually settling for the lowered result.

MCPS superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight also expressed support for the tax increase. “Our employees are the backbone of our school community,” she said.

The new county budget consists of several significant changes from previous years, and showcases the council’s current priorities. 

Notably, the new Fire Services budget is $266 million, an increase by 14 million from the previous year. $100,000 was given in grants to organizations at risk of hate crimes and violence, through the Office of Homeland Security. The Working Families Income Supplement was given $27.5 million, to help working families with low incomes.

Several groups, like realtors who would face taxes on their sales and other political organizations across the county, oppose these changes. There were also some complaints from council members about the voting process, which kept voting anonymous. This led to council member Kristin Mink abstaining from the vote.