County Executive Ike Leggett. FILE PHOTO

Leggett kept to his word on property taxes, even proposing a slight cut of nearly two cents in the rate, which will end up slightly increasing property taxes for the average homeowner by $27 a year. The change in taxes is below the charter limit, meaning there will not have to be unanimous support on the County Council to approve Leggett’s proposed changes to property taxes.

“The hard work of fiscal responsibility is not complete,” Leggett said. “This budget provides a blueprint for a sustainable and comprehensive fiscal future for the County. It reflects a balanced approach to meeting the growing needs of our diverse communities and robust business sector while keeping faith with County taxpayers.”

As is common practice with a Montgomery County budget, Leggett’s proposed outline allocates the most dollars toward education, for which he pledges to spend $2.59 billion on Montgomery County Public Schools – fully funding the Board of Education’s request. But with MCPS fully funded, other agencies are likely to lose out, particularly Montgomery College, government operations and parks and planning.

County Council President Hans Riemer (D-At Large) backed Leggett’s proposed budget during his weekly news conference, during which he repeated a familiar phrase – “education first” – which underscored his support for Leggett’s choice to prioritize MCPS over other areas.

“It’s an education-first budget, it fully funds the operating needs of the school system,” Riemer said. “It does so by having a slower rate of growth in other County spending priority areas, so it certainly represents some tougher choices, but they are choices that support the mission of education in this community, and that’s always a high priority for our residents.”

@neal_earley

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