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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


For immediate release:
March 16, 2009
For more information:
John E. Erzen
Press Information Officer
Prince George's County
Office of the County Executive
301-952-2657, cell, 240-508-4491


UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson today announced his proposed FY 2010 $2.58 billion operating budget.  The proposed budget was transmitted to the County Council for review and final approval.  It must be approved by June 1.
The deterioration of the housing market and associated weakening of other segments of the economy have significantly impacted the County's revenue outlook.  Total General Fund revenue for FY 2010 is projected at $2.58 billion, which is $93.3 million less than the FY 2009 approved budget.  This represents a decrease of 3.5 percent. 
"While we were able to benefit from a strong economy by investing in our communities for a number of years, it is clear to everyone that those times are over," Johnson said.
Due to the downturn in the economy, resulting in less revenue coming in, and cuts at the state level, the county is facing a $113 million budget deficit and had to make several cuts in order to balance the budget.
The county is using several cost cutting measures to close the budget deficit including maintaining the hiring freeze, reducing agency budgets 10% across the board, instituting furloughs for employees, providing no cost of living or merit increases, instituting a reduction in force plan and asking for a waiver for maintenance of effort requirements to the Board of Education.  The MOE waiver would reduce the county's contribution to the Board of Education by $23.5 million.
The proposed budget includes the layoff of 307 county employees, with 170 layoffs in public safety agencies.  This plan would save the county approximately $20 million.
Despite declining revenues, the budget reflects Johnson's top priorities of education and public safety with $1.6 billion going to education and $385 million going to public safety.   Johnson is confident that this level of funding will still allow the schools to have the resources to help student test scores continue to rise as well as allowing the Police Department to build on their successes of 2008, a year in which overall crime declined to 20 year lows.
Johnson is required to submit a balanced budget proposal to the County Council.  Johnson may submit supplemental budgets to the Council during the approval process, if the county is able to secure additional resources.  Johnson said he is continuing to work diligently with legislators in Annapolis to find those resources.
If the resources can be found, Johnson's first priority would be to not layoff any county employees.  From there, he would work to reduce the amount of the furloughs and, if possible, provide a cost of living and merit increase. 
"Despite the significant fiscal challenges we face from the worst national and local economic conditions during the last 70 years, we will continue to implement our vision for strengthening our communities and serving our citizens," Johnson said.  

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