Friday, March 16, 2012

Recommended FY13 County Operating Budget On-Line Links & Next Step(s)

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Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended $4.56 billion operating budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 that begins July 1. The budget strategically restores some of the most critical and important services that were cut back dramatically over the past five years as the County faced unprecedented budget challenges.

While reviewing the budget may seem like a daunting exercise, it can be relatively easy – if you take it in small ‘chunks’… Here’s one suggested way for getting to know the recommended budget – and how to chime in with your ideas and comments.

Step 1: Overall Overview
You may want to start by reading the press release which is sort of an ‘executive summary’ of the recommended budget’s key points, found at:
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=8329

Step 2: Visual Representation
There are a handful of color charts that provide a real good visual representation, and compare the recommended budget to previous year’s budget, found at:
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/Blog/pioBlog.asp?BlogID=28

Step 3: Budget in Brief
This document includes a bit more information than the press release, but not as much as the actual full ‘book’. It is easy to read and places the recommended budget decisions in the context of the County Executive’s mission statement, found at:
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/omb/fy13/psprec/pdf/budget_in_brief.pdf

Step 4: The Full Document
In many ways, the on-line version of the full recommended budget is much more ‘user friendly’ than the old printed version. (If you are new to this exercise, you may want to read Section 2 of the “Overview” – How to Read the Budget… It will make your browsing more efficient!) The “linkable” full document can be found at:
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ombtmpl.asp?url=/content/omb/fy13/psprec/index.asp

WHAT’S NEXT:
The County Council must approve the budget by June 1st. There’ll be a series of public hearings where anyone can express their opinion on any aspect of the recommended budget. (Stay tuned for specific dates and locations.) In the meantime, you can submit on-line questions, suggestions, and comments by completing a simple form found at:
http://montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgtmpl.asp?url=/content/mcginfo/budgetcomments.asp

Happy browsing!

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director
Silver Spring Regional Area