The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to trim $53.3 million from this year's operating budget, part of an effort to address a budget shortfall of $120 million.
Many of the cuts align with County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposed $60 million savings plan from earlier this month. Some of the more significant differences between the plan submitted by Leggett (D) and that approved by the council involve cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Fire and Rescue Service. The county's annual operating budget is about $5.5 billion.
"We are veterans of savings plans," said council administrator Stephen B. Farber. "We do have some issues that need to be dealt with."
Cuts include $25 million from Montgomery County Public Schools — equal to Leggett's proposal — as well as $4.4 million from Montgomery College, roughly $855,000 less than the $5.25 million Leggett recommended.
Leggett initially proposed about $4.3 million in cuts to HHS. The council approved $3.8 million in savings, restoring a number of health, tutoring and mentoring services.
The council also restored about $2.5 million in fire and rescue services that will help staff fire engines at certain stations and pay for round-the-clock paramedic services at the Takoma Park station.
Montgomery's Finance Department estimates that revenue for this fiscal year is on track to be $95 million lower than expected, driven primarily by a decrease in expected income-tax revenue. The county is also shouldering the burden of a $25 million budget shortfall from last fiscal year.