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Dear Allegany County Residents:
The Fiscal Year 2020 budget continues to embody the goals of the Board of County Commissioners and priorities of Allegany County Government. This year’s budget includes $91,788,864 in operating expenditures for the fiscal year; this represents an increase of less than 1.6% over FY 2019. While modest growth did occur from the previous fiscal year, Allegany County had the distinction this year of being the only county to the west or east of us that did not propose a tax increase as a part of its FY 2020 budget strategy. This is a testament to the County’s continued commitment to live within its means, while still investing in the future of our community. This all occurred despite multiple challenges.
Specifically, this budget has proven more challenging than previous budgets due to property tax revenues that continue to lag behind the state average, and the escalating cost of paid ambulance and EMS services. Our property tax situation was exacerbated this year by the loss of state DNR PILOT (Department of Natural Resources payment in lieu of taxes) funds of $343,627. However, we are helpful that we will be able to recover these funds in the coming months.
Paid ambulance and EMS expenses increased by $294,964 in the FY 2020 budget; this accounts for roughly one-fifth of our total budget increase from FY 2019. Without the significant cuts made by the Board of County Commissioners, the increase would have been $1,084,330. Despite these challenges, the budget includes a number of capital investments through the FY 2020 – FY 2024 Capital Improvement Program. These specific, appropriate, and targeted one-time investments from roads, to bridges, to buildings, to infrastructure, to equipment, ensure that essential services continue to be provided to the citizens of Allegany County.
Allegany County has once again achieved our self-imposed goal of maintaining a maximum annual debt service payment of $3,000,000 per year or less. This year the total is $2,390,603.
For Taxpayers –This FY 2020 budget does not include a single tax increase. While other counties have decided to raise taxes this budget cycle, Allegany County has instead made tough choices to keep spending low and ensure that new revenues are found within county government – not from increasing taxes.
For Our Future - Education remains the County’s single greatest funding priority. Expenditures to K-12 and post-secondary education represent 41.88% of expenditures made in the FY 2020 budget. This budget increases funding for the Allegany County Public School System by $310,027 compared to FY 2019. The new appropriation from the County will be $30,734,335. We are hopeful that a portion of the increased funding will be used for mental health counseling within the school system. The County continues to examine ways to assist in educational efforts that provide opportunities for all citizens, no matter the age, to pursue an education that leads to good paying jobs.
For Our Infrastructure - Public Works has received additional funding in the form of an O.P. (other public) roads repair program. This program is available to residents who live on public roads that are not maintained by Allegany County Government. These residents pay the same taxes as everyone else, but without the benefit of having their road or street maintained. In this budget, we have allocated $75,000 to be used to match local residents’ contributions to improve these roads outside the county system. We have made the program flexible so that gravel, chip seal, and asphalt surfaces all qualify for matching funds.
We are committed to continuing to be good stewards of the taxpayer money that keeps local government functioning. We will continue to look for opportunities to consolidate services and keep costs in check, while aggressively pursuing opportunities for growth and development – and increasing our tax base.
Allegany County Government’s FY 2020 Operating and the FY 2020 – FY 2024 Capital Improvement Program can be found on the County’s website (www.alleganygov.org).
The Board of County Commissioners
Jacob C. Shade, President
Creade V. Brodie, Jr., Commissioner
David J. Caporale, Commissioner