Wicomico OKs budget, increases school spending

Wicomico County Council members last week approved a $150 million budget that increases the county’s local support of county schools by a half-million dollars.

For the first time in 12 years, the council upped per-student funding as part of the school board’s Maintenance of Effort formula. The $500,000 was part of $750,000 that County Executive Bob Culver had placed in his budget for school security spending.

The council’s action is especially significant because it will prompt per-student spending to remain at the same level or more in coming years.

The council was forced to make last-minute cuts when its projections for fiscal 2019 showed a change in projected revenues. While the council can only cut the County Executive’s budget, members can move around some spending and increase funding to some areas.

The projected $411,197 shortfall in expected property tax revenues was closed through mostly minor cuts and other adjustments to proposed spending in county departments.

The council moved $61,000 to allow a 2 percent cost-of-living raise to county library employees. In response to rampant complains about flooding, $79,370 was directed to the Roads Department to create a stormwater management team.

The new budget takes effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. Last year’s budget contained a tax cut; this year the property tax rate will remain 93.98 cents per $100 of assessed value.

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