Statement from Councilmember Nancy Navarro on the Approval of the FY16 Operating Budget:
“This budget affirms our values. We are making important investments in Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and our social safety net.
This is a budget that truly puts young people first. We included $250,000 for the Children’s Opportunity Fund, which is an important first step toward creating a dedicated Children’s Trust. The Council voted to fund the newly created Child Care and Early Education Policy Officer and Child Care Strategic Plan, which was established as part of the Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative, which I sponsored. The Council added more than a half a million dollars to the County Executive’s recommended budget to provide child care subsidies to the lowest income families in our County. This budget expands the hours of operation for recreation centers in the mid- and east-county and will ensure that the Wheaton High School Wellness Center will open at the same time as the new Wheaton High School.
I’m pleased the Council decided to make a down-payment on fair elections by approving $1 million for the Public Campaign Election Fund. This landmark program will make Montgomery County a national model for public financing of elections. We are also making sure employees of County contractors are treated fairly by fully funding my recently passed legislation to strengthen the Living Wage Law’s reporting requirements.
The approved budget funds our priorities in a fiscally responsible way. We kept the property tax rate at the County’s Charter Limit, while fully funding our future pension, health care, and reserve obligations. We are restoring funding for libraries that was drastically cut during the recession and providing much-deserved compensation for our County employees, who made many sacrifices during the economic downturn. The tough decisions we have made will put Montgomery County in a favorable position to retain our Triple-A Bond Rating.”