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Leggett Seeks $50 Million in Mid-Year Cuts

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has called on government department and agency leaders to make mid-year budget cuts of $50 million to conserve resources to cope with a projected $250 million shortfall for fiscal 2010.

He cited anticipated declines in revenue and "the very serious and continuing national economic turmoil."

About half of the planned trims will come from general government operations in the range of 1-to-2.5 percent of spending. Leggett has requested another $19.4 million in trims from the county's public schools.

The mid-year belt-tightening comes one month after Leggett announced that he would force government workers to stay home for two days of unpaid time off to shave $6 million from the fiscal 2009 budget.

Last month, Montgomery County School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast imposed a freeze on many categories of hiring and spending to account for higher than anticipated fuel costs and rising enrollment.

Weast's chief of staff Brian Edwards said of the mid-year cuts yesterday, "We will continue to save all that we can, but we can't make any promises as to what the ultimate amount will be. We're operating on a pretty lean ship."

Leggett plans to present his recommended budget trims to the County Council next month.

By Anne Bartlett  |  October 9, 2008; 10:34 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Montgomery County  
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God Bless Isiah Leggett!

Posted by: Silver Spring | October 9, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

That's a nice gesture, but it would ring truer if he didn't just take a $40k trip to Asia on the taxpayer's dime.

Posted by: Liz | October 9, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Montgomery County needs to reign in its historic spending spree like a drunken sailor is not news-- it is nothing more than common sense. It is truly unfortunate it took so long.

The fact that the County Executive has finally come to the realization that, after a 13% increase in the average real property tax bill in the last budget cycle, [not to mention untold increases in various hidden "fees" and other not so well-publicized taxes-- cell phones, energy, etc.] it has come to the point that homeowners and businesses in Montgomery County have exceeded their tipping point; now that revelation and admission on the part of the County Executivei s, in fact, newsworthy.

So, the County needs to cut back on expenses. Here's some news of my own for the Executive and Council: I did that in my household and my business a long time ago.

What goes around, I suppose, eventually comes around.

The really sad part is when the County was absolutely flush with cash at the height of the inflated real estate market, spending increased exponentially for various "feel good" programs, and no one, apparently, ever gave serious thought to what might be the consequences if that money train came to grinding halt, as it now has done.

Another sad observation is that institutional knowledge and wisdom carried forward in government from the sting of experience in hard times is short-lived. When the economy turns around, I'm sure the Executive and Council will return to their old habits, regardless of whom is in office.

My thoughts.

Posted by: CITIZEN | October 9, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Cancel the taxpayer purchased $3,200,000,000 ICC toll road boondoggle and we will have NO budget shortfall. That these Lexus Lanes are even still on the table is criminal.

Posted by: Donny | October 9, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Actions speak louder than words. Ike gave us a 14% property tax increase this year and wuill guive us a larger one next year. Vote FOR B! to slow down the property tax increase champion!

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | October 10, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

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