County Council passes $128.7 million FY15 budget

The Wicomico County Council voted late Tuesday to approve the $128.7 million budget for fiscal year 2015 by a 5-2 vote.

Property taxes will increase. The new real property tax rate as of July 1, 2014 is $.9516 per $100 of assessed value.

The new Personal Property Tax Rate is $2.1715 – nearly $.21 cents less than businesses would have paid without the passage of Property Tax Decoupling legislation spearheaded by County Executive Rick Pollitt during the 2013 legislative session in the General Assembly.

This is also the second year of the 5-year phase out of the Inventory Tax and businesses can also receive an automatic exemption for investing in manufacturing equipment.

The adopted budget will take effect on July 1, 2014.

The Council passed the budget with few changes to the proposed budget recommended by Pollitt.

The adopted budget meets the Maintenance of Effort standard for public school funding and provides new funds for technology needs in the K-12 school system. It also provides for the completion of the Bennett Middle School project and commits funds for the planning of renovations to West Salisbury Elementary School, in addition to increased support for Wor-Wic Community College and the Wicomico Library.

In addition, the FY15 operational budget provides significant funding for business development efforts through a $544,558 boost to create an economic development grant fund to spur entrepreneurship and new residential construction.

The approved spending plan demonstrates fiscal responsibility by matching recurring revenue to recurring expenses and ensures no structural deficit spending occurs. It also maintains the general fund balance to preserve the county’s credit ratings.

The budget takes $3.5 million from reserve accounts for a one-time infusion of funds for critical road maintenance projects.

Budget Highlights:

  • Wor-Wic Community College – total $4 million
  • Board of Education – total $51 million
  • Wicomico Library – total $1.2 million
  • Department of Public Works /Roads – $8 million
  • Law Enforcement – an additional $1 million

Pollitt said noted that while Wicomico County has yet to recover appreciably from the effects of the Great Recession, the economy is stable and indications are that the worst is over.

“This budget represents a responsible and constructive plan to provide necessary county services in public safety, education and infrastructure for the year ahead,” Pollitt said.

“It is strong on economic development opportunities and business incentives which will translate to more jobs for our citizens and an improving quality of life.”

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