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Floreen Calls For Additional 2 Percent Cut in MoCo

It's crunch time for the Montgomery County Council as it prepares to take final action on a $4.2 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Council members will make tough decisions next week about raising property taxes and tinkering with union contracts.

Yesterday, Council member Nancy Floreen challenged the county's departments and agencies to recommend budgets by Friday that would cut spending by an additional 2 percent. Floreen said County Executive Ike Leggett's recommended property tax increase of 7.5 cents is "untenable, particularly for the average homeowner." Property taxes, under Leggett's plan, would increase 9 percent for the average homeowner.

Floreen urged the council to go further in trimming spending, pointing to neighboring jurisdictions such as the District, Prince George's and Fairfax counties.

"This budget is way out of line. In today's economy, it is unaffordable," she said.

Council President Mike Knapp was cool to Floreen's idea for a 2 percent cut across all agencies.

"It's always problematic to say everything is equal in merit," he said. "I don't like it as a strategy and I never have."

Leggett's spokesman Patrick Lacefield pointed out Floreen's transportation committee reviewed $364 million in budget spending. Of that, the committee cut just $337,000 or .09 percent. A 2 percent reduction would have amounted to $7.2 million in savings.

By Ann Marimow  |  May 6, 2008; 6:34 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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Comments

Don't worry senior citizens, middle class, those facing foreclosure; for, help is on the way.

I know that Ike Leggett and his "yes" man candidate Don Praiser, who won't debate Mark Fennel, want to give us the biggest property tax increase in the last twenty years after the state just gave us the biggest tax increase ever! I know that Leggett and Praisner want to exceed the charter property tax limit not just this year, but each of the two years after this one. i know that Mike Knapp and Nancy Floreen voted three years in a row from FY 03-FY05 to exceed the charter property tax limit and they are likely to do so this year and each of the two years after that. I know that Leggett and Knapp even want to increase the tax on gasoline! And Praisner will go along with Leggett.

But Mark Fennel who is running in the May 13 special election from Council District 4 has pledged to stick to the charter property tax limit. And our November ballot question makes it more difficult to exceed the charter property tax limit.

So far we have offers of money to buy 4 pints of blood for the hospital of his choice and another offer to buy groceries for a needy Montgomery County family for a week if Don Praisner will debate Mark Fennel before the May 13 election. So far Praisner has refused to debate Fennel. Call Praisner at 301-572-4647 and tell him you want these pocketbook issues debated before May 13.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | May 6, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Why do we have to pay 1100 school administrators over $100,000 each for a year if school is just 8 1/2 months of the year? We need only a small staff for summer school. Make these expensive jobs with expensive pensions 10 months-a-year jobs.

Posted by: Isn't school just 8 1/2 months? | May 6, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

great idea. we can start with Ike's $60,000 private bathroom in his office.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | May 6, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

You obviously have no experience or understanding of how a school or school system works. Especially in the large DC/MD/VA school districts in the area. Principals have to work all summer, and often just as long if not longer hours than they work during the school year. During the summer months administrators have to interview new teachers/staff, review all current student information to make sure they are residents of the drawn school boundry area, verify new students moving into the school, arrange special education plans for any new students, create classes for the upcoming school year, oversee any school improvements that cannot take place when students are in school (painting, etc.), NCLB/AYP test appeals and reviews, and dozens of other smaller tasks that need to occur before teachers report back in August. And heaven forbid they get a vacation somewhere in there!

Posted by: No School Isn't Just 8 1/2 Months | May 6, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Here is an excerpt from county executives message on the proposed FY09 budget which explains very well why we are in a budget mess: "Over the past five years, County government added 1,300 jobs - a 15 percent increase - while population was increasing only 4 percent. Over the past 10 years, the number was 2,200 jobs - a 28 percent increase while population increased only 15 percent.
The past several years saw nearly double-digit increases in County spending. The County budget grew over 80 percent in the past 10 years, while inflation increased by less than 30 percent. Population growth was less than 20 percent over the same period."

This same message states that 2 years ago the Montgomery County budget received an increase of 14.1%. The council should go back to the budget from that year and see which extravagant increases would *not* have been approved had county finances been in the same state they are in today and roll those increases back.

Posted by: Problem Solved | May 6, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Wait I heard Ike's bathroom cost $2,000 and the fan $63,000...no seriously, enough already. Post articles about $100K salaries with 20% increases planned for MCPS top staffers, excessive overtime for firemen and other daily excesses are just two problems in the top heavy, bloated bureaucracy known as Montgomery County government.

Bathroom Ike, Tax and Spend O'Malley and their overpaid cronies need to get a wake up call May 13 and during the next election. This is wasteful, entitlement politics at its worst, people have had enough. Media coverage reflects this sentiment, meanwhile the tax base is shrinking people are moving, even in this down housing market. They are signs all over my Gaithersburg neighborhood...

Posted by: Lola Taylor | May 6, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Selling prices for MoCo homes have dropped by about 25% in many areas. Why doesn't the Council reduce the assessed values for taxes accordingly instead of considering raising taxes? What chutzpah!
If the Council would adopt and enforce laws against illegal aliens, instead of making the county a magnet for them, it would likely save of the order of $100 million yearly in costs of schooling, social services, medical care, and crimes--to say nothing of harmful effects on neighborhoods and quality of life.
Let the Council direct its 'humanitarian' efforts to the middle-class, taxpaying citizens who are facing depressed property values, mortgage foreclosures, job losses, and rising food, fuel, and other commodity costs. This Council is way out of touch with its constituants.

Posted by: quobist | May 6, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Quobist: I agree with you 100%. Send an email to the Montgomery County Council on how you feel about the outrageous property taxes in our area. I have, here are some of the links:

councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov

councilmember.knapp@montgomerycountymd.gov

councilmember.floreen@montgomerycountymd.gov

You can call too, main # for the Montgomery County Council is (240) 777-7900.

Posted by: Jack Gilbert | May 6, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Pay the 1097 school administrators who earn over $100,000 for 11 months. Force them to take a vacation for the other month. They will come back refreshed and be more efficient. Work has expanded to fill the time available. The school system lost 3086 students from FY06 to FY08 yet hired over 1,000 additional people.

Posted by: Pay them for 11 months | May 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Property values are dropping everywhere, not just MoCo. Home foreclosures are up nationwide, major lenders are going under, and even the animal shelters are overflowing nationwide with pets displaced when homeowners have been foreclosed upon. The construction industry has mostly imploded. The Federal government is considering using our tax money to bail out national lenders and banks.

MoCo property taxes, and even the George Leventhal social activist Council are not the cause of the housing market downturn.

Posted by: Try some cheese with that whine | May 7, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Property values are dropping everywhere, not just MoCo. Home foreclosures are up nationwide, major lenders are going under, and even the animal shelters are overflowing nationwide with pets displaced when homeowners have been foreclosed upon. The construction industry has mostly imploded. The Federal government is considering using our tax money to bail out national lenders and banks.

MoCo property taxes, and even the George Leventhal social activist Council are not the cause of the housing market downturn.

Posted by: Try some cheese with that whine | May 7, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Try some cheez and whine: What you say is true, but they keep on raising taxes despite the concrete facts you cite about property taxes and home values. I used to live in No. Va now live in MoCo, both are very expensive.

Only 30% of MoCo residents have children in MCPS and yet the school budget gets bigger and bigger, along with the salaries and benefits of overpaid top administrators. Most teachers at my child's school do not live in MoCo, they cannot afford it. These teachers are not the ones with the 100K plus salaries either.

Posted by: Sandra Patel | May 7, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Sandra - I completely agree. With 3 kids of my own in MCPS and 10+ years as an active PTA member, I have seen MCPS get more and more oriented toward research and experimentation at the expense of the basics. This is directly due to the attitude from the top - that's Jerry Weast the Superintendent and Nancy Navarro the Board of Ed President. They ignore the trailer classrooms and larger class sizes in favor of research programs and analysis of the nutritional value of school lunch ketchup.

This is specifically a BOE problem, not a County Exec or Council problem, although they are involved in approving the MCPS budget.

Posted by: Try some cheese with that whine | May 7, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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