Wicomico Council Unanimously Supports $150M Budget

SALISBURY – County leaders have adopted a $150.9 million budget for fiscal year 2019.

In a special legislative session last week, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to adopt the fiscal year 2019 operating budget with several amendments.

Council President John Cannon noted the county had reduced projected revenues by $411,197 – from $151.3 million to $150.9 million – in the coming fiscal year.

To offset the shortfall, the council agreed to several cuts within the expense budget – including a $29,320 reduction to the county executive’s office, a $30,000 reduction to Station 13, a $212,370 reduction to Wor-Wic Community College and a $109,877 reduction in contingency transfer reserves.

The council last week also agreed to eliminate $750,000 in one-time funding to the Wicomico County Board of Education and, instead, transfer $500,000 to the school system’s maintenance of effort funding.

“The county executive proposed $750,000 to the board of education to be used as one-time, non-recurring expenses that would not impact the maintenance of effort amount in the future,” Cannon said. “It was discovered during the budget process, however, that the one-time, non-recurring expenses have to be submitted to the state of Maryland by March 31 of the same year for approval, which was not done prior to council receiving the proposed budget. This means any funding given to the board of education at this time and in this manner would impact the required MOE amount going forward. Based on this information it was decided that $500,000 of the $750,000 would be given to the board of education.”

Despite several budget cuts, the county council agreed to appropriate an additional $61,000 to the Wicomico Public Library for a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for employees, an additional $80,000 to the state’s attorney’s office for another attorney and an additional $79,370 to the roads department to help with stormwater management concerns.

Councilman Marc Kilmer applauded the work of the council, the county executive’s office and staff for putting together a balanced budget.

“There was a lot of changes made, but I think it all proceeded pretty smoothly,” he said. “I think we ended up with a good budget that works well. Everybody may not be thrilled with it but can live with it. I think that’s probably the best we can hope for.”

Cannon agreed.

“We have finally got this budget process out of the way,” he said. “It was a very unusual, very lengthy process with a lot of new challenges that we really hadn’t faced before. I think we handled it very well.”

The council voted 7-0 to adopt the fiscal year 2019 budget as amended. The budget will go into effect on July 1.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.