Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rockville's budget, minimum wage get bigger; property tax rate stays the same in FY2016 proposal

Rockville's operating and general fund budgets would increase (by 3.6% and 4.3%, respectively) in size under City Manager Barbara Matthews' proposed FY2016 fiscal plan. The budget book was formally introduced to the Mayor and Council at last night's council meeting.

The city government's minimum wage would increase to $9.55 on July 1, 2015, but the property tax rate paid by residents and businesses would remain the same as this year's. That won't prevent some from paying more property taxes, however, as assessments have been trending upward.

Watch your wallet, though: utility bills and refuse/recycling fees would increase under the proposed budget.

About $64 million would go to capital improvement projects, including the following:

  • Funding for bridge repairs, including a $1.3 million taxpayer-supported debt issue in FY16 to address repairs to the First Street bridge and $1.8 million in FY 2019 for repairs to the Hurley Avenue bridge
  • $1.7 million in FY 2017 to begin improvements to the Swim and Fitness Center locker rooms and for improvements to the Civic Center in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • $3 million in FY 2018 to continue Swim and Fitness Center improvements
  • Pedestrian safety initiatives and sidewalks
  • Water, sewer and stormwater management system improvements, including debt issues to support the water, sewer and stormwater management funds
  • Stabilization and rehabilitation of the King Farm Farmstead dairy barns
  • Road and sidewalk repair and replacement
  • A new utility billing system

You can read the full budget here. The budget will change based on feedback from the Mayor and Council and the public.

To comment on the proposed budget before it is adopted at the May 18 Mayor and Council meeting, you can speak at public hearings scheduled for March 30, April 13, and April 20.

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