The Poolesville Town Commission this week approved a fiscal year 2017 municipal operating budget of $3.04 million that includes critical funding for infrastructure improvements and ensures preservation of the Town’s high quality of services, with only a slight increase in the local property tax rate and in the water and sewage fee.
Under the FY 17 budget, the local property tax rate, which is the primary revenue source for the Town’s General Fund, will increase slightly from $0.17 per $100 of assessed property value to $0.1756 per $100 of assessed property value. The property tax increase was needed, in part, to offset a loss in revenue from local income tax collections – due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year which has impacted local governments throughout the state of Maryland.
The per-household fee for water and sewer service will increase by 2 percent, but will still remain lower than those of other area jurisdictions.
“This budget strikes a balance between fiscal prudence, protecting service quality and investing in the repair or replacement our aging infrastructure,” said Poolesville Town Commission President Jim Brown “I want to thank my colleagues and our dedicated Town staff for their good work, not only on the preparation of this budget, but also for their service to residents throughout the year and their sound stewardship of our tax dollars.”
A key area of the budget leading to increased costs in FY 17 are growing expenses for employee benefits, including healthcare, which is rising by 17 percent. Other factors driving an increase in the budget include additional costs for debt service and regulatory requirements.
Through the budget process, Town commissioners adopted a policy to ensure that Poolesville maintains a healthy 17.5% rainy day fund. They also dedicated additional resources to pay for aging infrastructure projects.
Capital projects of note in the FY 17 budget include road repaving, street sign replacement, public works’ equipment, emergency lights, and the replacement of the Whalen pathway, along with an array of system upgrades for the Town’s water and wastewater treatment facility. Some additional funding was also provided to expand the Town’s sustainability efforts, building on Poolesville’s recent attainment of the Sustainable Maryland certification.