MoCo Plans to Play Defense in Annapolis
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and County Council members will host a reception tonight for Montgomery's legislative delegation. The informal gathering and public hearing that follows are a sort of pregame strategy session to set next year's agenda for Annapolis. But it will probably be a challenge for anyone to put a happy face on the county's prospects for defending its turf in the coming session.
At a council meeting this week, county lobbyist Melanie Wenger suggested that the message to legislators should be to "severely resist" any changes in state aid formulas that provide additional funding for certain school systems, including Montgomery, and pay the retirement costs of teachers employed by counties.
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has resisted pressure to make such changes in the past, but the magnitude of the state's budget problems are even greater for fiscal 2010.
Montgomery's public schools have requested $114.million for construction and renovation, including $19.million for the second year of work at Walter Johnson High and Galway Elementary schools. But Wenger told the council that O'Malley is expected to recommend only $260.million in school construction funds statewide.
On the transportation front, the county is again pushing for funding the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and road projects related to the Pentagon's base realignment and closure plan. But council members said the state's current source of revenue for such projects is unsustainable.
It's an all-around gloomy picture that could get worse. Wenger told the council: "You can expect another round of cuts" in January or with the introduction of the governor's budget.
November 20, 2008; 10:32 AM ET
Categories: Ann Marimow
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