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Statement of Council President Craig Rice on Unanimous Approval of FY15 Budget

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice made the following statement before the Council unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2015 County operating budget and the FY 2015-20 Capital Improvements Program:

This is a very good day for Montgomery County. We are about to approve a budget and Capital Improvements Program that are fiscally responsible and will make our strong community even stronger.

Many people have made this day possible. I would like to thank my Council colleagues and Council staff for all your hard work. Thank you as well to Ike Leggett, our County Executive, and his staff for providing a sound starting point and productive collaboration. I am very appreciative of MCPS, Montgomery College, the Park and Planning Commission and WSSC for all their contributions.

I also want to thank the hundreds of people in our broad community who have testified at our public hearings and offered excellent ideas via letters, email and phone calls. That’s what our open and inclusive budget process is all about.

The result of this collaboration is a balanced and sustainable budget that achieves many important goals. It fully funds our world-class school system. It provides major new support to Montgomery College, one of the best community colleges in the nation. It adds new resources to our outstanding parks system. It gives a major boost to critical services that suffered badly during the Great Recession, including our wonderful library system, our Police and Fire and Rescue Service, Corrections, our safety net services, our transportation system and other functions that mean so much the quality of life in our County. We were also able to provide additional support to our nonprofit partners whom we rely on to provide many services and programs that enhance the lives of our residents.

All these advances are reinforced by our far-reaching new six-year Capital Improvements Program. And our budget once again provides fair compensation increases to our employees.

At the same time, our budget is fiscally responsible, with reserves at historic highs, in keeping with our AAA bond rating. And for the third year in a row, we have reduced the energy tax increase that was needed in 2010 to help us survive the worst ravages of the recession.

I want to recognize all my colleagues for their contributions to this budget. My thanks go to:

Council Vice President George Leventhal, for his tireless work on behalf of our most vulnerable residents;

Councilmember Phil Andrews, for his great leadership on public safety issues;

Councilmember Roger Berliner, for his ground-breaking initiatives on environmental and transportation issues;

Councilmember Cherri Branson, for her creative insights on fiscal and educational challenges;

Councilmember Marc Elrich, for his effective advocacy on youth programs, transit and other critical County priorities;

Councilmember Nancy Floreen, for her outstanding work on economic development issues;

Councilmember Nancy Navarro, for her great leadership on fiscal and human services issues; and

Councilmember Hans Riemer, for his ground-breaking work on open and digital government and his policy initiatives on other key County issues.

All of us have worked hard to come together on this budget. I am proud of what we have achieved on behalf of our great community.

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Release ID: 14-154
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931