The Gaithersburg City Council unanimously approved Monday a $72.5 million budget for the next fiscal year, which is $1.9 million increase over this year’s spending.
The spending plan includes money for new staffing positions, a general wage increase for city employees, a project to upgrade the city’s website and trail improvements at Blohm Park. The new fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2023.
“It’s very thoughtful and very responsive to the priorities espoused by the mayor and council,” Mayor Jud Ashman said.
The budget allocates $61.5 million in spending to various departments, which is $3 million more than the current budget. This includes:
- $17 million for the public works department
- $10.4 million for the police department
- $10.7 million for the parks department
- $6.3 million for planning and code administration
- $4.1 million for community and public relations
According to City Manager Tanisha Briley, the budget increase will pay for:
- Six new positions and three positions that have been upgraded/reclassified
- A 4% general wage increase
- Additional education and professional development opportunities
- A city website upgrade project
- A zoning code review
On the revenue side, the city expects to collect $34.9 million in local tax revenue during the next fiscal year, which is about $3 million more than in fiscal year 2022, according to the budget. Additionally, the city also expects to receive $2.2 million more in funding from county, state and federal governments than it did for this fiscal year.
The property tax rate of 26.2 cents for $100 of assessed property will remain the same. Some residents could pay higher taxes due to property reassessments by the state. About one-third of properties in Montgomery County are reassessed each year. In 2022, property assessments are increasing an average of about 11% for one third of the county, according to state assessment figures.
This year’s budget process differed from the last two fiscal years when city staff ended up cutting the operating budget proposals before adoption. Those cuts were largely due to economic challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials have said. Briley said Monday that the adopted fiscal 2023 budget is about $150,000 higher than the proposal introduced in March.
“That encompasses, really lots of refining of budget items as we’ve gone through one final review of the budget, most of which are personnel adjustments, salary changes” and other adjustments, she said.
Council Member Neil Harris said he was particularly pleased that the budget includes an additional $250,000 in capital improvements program spending for improvements to the trails at Blohm Park, which is made possible by a state grant.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com