Worcester County Retains Current Tax Rate

On June 3, 2014, the Worcester County Commissioners approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014/2015 Operating Budget of $177,981,133 in appropriations for the coming fiscal year.  This reflects an increase of $9,337,479 or 5.5% more than the FY14 budget.

As promised, the Commissioners did not increase the tax rate and will maintain the existing real property tax rate of 77¢ per $100 of assessed value in fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, 2014.  Real Property Tax Revenue will decrease $466,491 less than the current year due to slightly decreasing assessment values.

The Commissioners would like to thank County departments and agencies for maintaining and or reducing operating expenses. This fiscally conservative budget maintains funding for valuable public services residents can count on, such as public safety, education, infrastructure and existing social service programs.

Anticipated General Fund Revenues

  • Based on the real property tax rate of $.77 net property taxes increased by $252,584.
  • The Homestead Credit cap remains unchanged at 3% and is estimated to be $1,590,535 for the County’s qualified principal resident homeowners effective July 1, 2014.
  • Income tax revenues are anticipated to increase by $500,000 from the current year based upon actual receipts and increased estimates. The income tax estimate is based on the current tax rate of 1.25%
  • Other local taxes, an increase of $1,765,083 primarily due to Ocean City room tax (a pass through to the town). Other category items, which include recordation and transfer tax, are expected to remain level.
  • State Shared increased $11,315 mainly due to increased 911 fees passed thru by the Comptroller for prepaid wireless telecommunication services.
  • Distribution from Liquor Control Department decreased $363,371 based on anticipated revenue reductions.
  • Federal grants project an overall increase of $21,561. This account category includes an additional $44,258 for the Emergency Shelter Grant.
  • State Grants decreased $178,432 mainly due to State Aid for Bridges funded in FY2014.
  • Licenses and Permits increased $33,000 due to increased estimates for building permits.
  • Charges for Services increased by $55,530 mainly due to the addition of Motor Coach Tours for $25,000 and Bay Restoration Admin Fees of $20,500.
  • Interest on Investments remained level at $225,000 based on estimates.
  • Transfer in – Other Funds increased by $2,001,236 based on the transfer in of bond premium proceeds.  Funds will be used for 2014 Bond interest expense payments & various bond related expenses.
  • Transfers in of existing Budget Stabilization funds increased by $4,739,759 for planned revenue shortfalls.
  • An increase of $499,213 for the planned use of Casino/Local Impact Grant Funds for the debt payment for the Worcester Career and Technical High School in FY15.

 

Major Approved General Fund Expenditures

 

County Departments and Agencies:

Budget decreases are outlined as follows:

Roads Division Decreased by $869,868

  • Decreased by $500,000 for  blacktop overlay reductions
  • Decreased by $418,248 for 2 bridge replacements completed in FY14

Ambulance Grants Decreased $85,738 due to less credit runs, and includes an increase in the mileage reimbursement rate while other formulas remained constant.

Included in the budget was funding for:

Sheriff’s Department increased $240,795

  • Increased by $103,631and includes a part-time Animal Control Officer and Office Assistant, Full-Time Office Assistant and School Security Deputy Sheriff. Also included is increased hours for School Deputies
  • Increased by $19,630 mainly to purchase ammunition
  • Decreased $17,338 mainly due to vehicle repairs and pre-employment physicals
  • Increased by $10,144 in educational training for various certifications

Fire Company Grants Increased $284,260 due to one-time grants and decreased property assessments applied to existing formulas

Boat Landings increased $98,381 due to State Waterway improvement grant funds for Gum Point Boat Landing

Health Department increased by $584,547

  • Increased by $372,137 for State health benefit costs for contractual employees
  • Increased by $212,410 to cover the State payroll increase for a 2% cost of living adjustment Jan. 1, 2015 and salary increment effective July 1, 2014.

Wor-Wic Community College increase by $84,550 due to the County’s share of the annual appropriation.

Library increased $155,076

  • Increased by $64,050 to replace outdated computers at the 5 Libraries
  • Increased by $60,000 in library books and Audio-Video materials

Natural Resources increase of $251,500 due to the County appropriation to the State for beach maintenance.

Tourism increased $181,262

  • Increased by $61,225 for promotional materials
  • Increased by $48,000 for Tourism State Grant Projects
  • Increased by $65,000 for tourism advertising

Taxes Shared with Towns increased $1,640,083 for pass through monies collected for Room Tax to Ocean City

Grants to Towns increased by $94,000 for grants to Municipalities and Ocean Pines Association.

Debt Service increased $3,207,459 due to new debt for the Snow Hill High School addition and renovation project

Insurance & Benefits increased $729,386

  • Increased by $729,386 for increased rates in hospitalization, retirement costs and was offset by reductions for retirements, vacancies & enterprise fund reimbursements in hospitalization, social security taxes and other benefit accounts.
  • Other Post Employment Benefit is budgeted level with FY2014.

Salary accounts increased 3% and include a .5% cost of living adjustment for County employees; a step increment and longevity pay for those eligible.

Board of Education

The County allocation for the Board of Education’s operating budget is $77,968,056, an increase of $2,188,986 over the current year adopted budget as shown below. School Construction debt is paid by the County on behalf of the Board of Education. It is not reflected in the Board’s budget; however, it is included in the County’s operating budget.  The Board’s approved Operating budget is $77,968,056 plus debt service of $12,001,938 which totals $89,969,994 or 50.5% of the County’s total estimated revenue.

 

 

FY2015 Approved Budget

FY2014

Approved

Budget

Dollar Variance

+/- FY2014

County Appropriation

$75,827,859

$73,565,938

+2,261,921

Non-Recurring Technology & School Construction

0

100,000

-100,000

County Appropriation -Retirement Expense for Non Teachers

492,294

501,393

+-9,099

County Appropriation – County Share of Teacher Pension

1,647,903

1,611,739

+36,164

                         Sub-Total County Appropriation

$77,968,056

$75,779,070

+2,188,986

State and Other Funding Sources

19,487,262

19,448,846

+38,416

                           Sub-Total Unrestricted Budget

$97,815,318

$95,227,916

+2,587,402

Restricted: State and Federal Programs

4,839,597

5,142,248

-302,651

Restricted: State funded Teachers Retirement & Pensions

7,364,000

7,934,000

-570,000

Total

$110,018,915

$108,304,164

+1,714,751

 

Board of Education Requested Salary Increase:

  • Salary accounts increased 3% for the Board of Education employees and includes a .5% cost of living adjustment; a step increment and longevity pay for those eligible
  • The bus contracts account increased over FY14 and reflects a 3.0% increase to bus contractor’s hourly rate, mileage rate and per vehicle allotment effective July 1, 2014.
  • Starting Teacher pay would increase from $42,222 to $42,433.

The FY2015 Worcester County Education funding per student based on the estimated student population of 6,649 equates to $16,214 per student. The following does not include Restricted Program funds of $4,839,597 from the State and Federal agencies.

County Funding          $76,320,153*

State & Other              $19,487,262                $107,809,353 or $16,214 per student

School Debt                $12,001,938

*1,647,903 Teacher Pension Shift is excluded for per student estimate

 

 

 

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