Frederick County Council Holding Budget Workshops This Week

Members are dealing with a proposal to increase the property tax rate.

Frederick County Council President Brad Young (Photo from Frederick County Government website)

Frederick, Md (KM) Several Frederick County Government agencies have been making their respective cases to the County Council during budget workshops this week. . They are making appeals for additional funding than what is allocated in the County Executive’s proposed fiscal year 2025 budget.

On Thursday, Council President Brad Young said one agency was Animal Control. “Animal Control has the position where they’re requesting a surgical coordinator. And that would be a person who would help them with coordinating all the surgeries that the animals have at the control center, and providing more time for that,” he says.

Also, the volunteer fire and rescue service is asking for paid personnel to staff the Wolfsville Fire Company during the daylight hours, Monday through Friday. “That department, unfortunately, has been having not having the ability of meeting daytime calls times because of not having enough volunteers so they requested full time staff. So that was included in there,”: says Young.

One of the biggest issues facing the County Council is whether to increase the property tax rate. County Executive Jessica Fitzwater has proposing hiking the rate from $1.06 per $100 of assessed value to $1.11 per $100 of assessed value.  It’s expected to bring in more than $21 million in additional revenue each year which will be used for school construction and renovation projects.

Council President Young declined to say where he stands on this issue. “I’d like to hear from the public first, and so I’m not going to publicly state where I’m thinking on that,” he said. “I certainly do understand the need for funds for our older school buildings. But I think I would be disingenuous if I put my position out without at least hearing from the public.”

But Young did say education is his number-one priority. “And making sure that all our students have a seat to sit in school. But also that we have equity through our county. that our older schools and our communities in county that are not growing, or have older facilities,  that they get their equitable share of new technology and new space,” he says.

A public hearing on the proposed property tax rate increase is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th at Winchester Hall beginning at 7:00 PM.

Over the next few weeks, Young says Councilmembers will be offering amendments to the proposed budget, and the Council will take a vote on each one. Young says he expects to have a budget approved by the May 31st deadline. “I am very confident that the Council will be able to come up with a budget that we will be able to send back to the County Executive by the time frame which we’re allotted to do that,” he says.

If not, the County Executive’s proposed budget will take affect.

Fiscal year 2025 begins on July 1st, 2024.

By Kevin McManus