Montgomery County will be forced to eliminate popular youth and jobs programs as well as reduce employee wages and benefits up to seven percent to meet a $9 million revenue shortfall because of a loss of Medicaid managed care sales tax collections, county officials said Tuesday.
County Administrator Joe Tuss told members of the Five-Year Financial Plan Advisory Committee that a mix of program cuts, wage and benefit reductions and holding off on capital replacement and building depreciation plans could keep the budget balanced for the next five years.
Non-mandated funding to businesses such as ED/GE grants and youth arts and job skills programming such as Youthworks would be eliminated among others.
But deficit spending will return unless federal or state legislators find avenues for more sales taxes to reach county government, Tuss said.
“It’s going to be a long haul,” Tuss said.
The elimination of discretionary spending by the Montgomery County Commission will only address a part of the shortfall and ultimately require across-the-board budget cuts, said Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley.
“In 2018 it’s going to be business as usual, but 2019 is going to be the year we fall off the cliff,” he said.
The courts and law enforcement would see an estimated $5.6 million stricken from 2019 projected budgets totaling $77.2 budget, according to the preferred budget scenario presented to the advisory group.
“This isn’t easy. We are mindful of that,” Foley said. “But we have a responsibility to taxpayers to not live outside of our means.”
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