Leggett proposes $70M in midyear budget cuts
Montgomery County still faces $608 million budget hole in fiscal 2011 after cuts
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) on Thursday proposed $70 million in midyear budget cuts, including 44 layoffs and funding slashes affecting bus transit, education and libraries.
Leggett recommends eliminating 70 positions 44 of which are filled. The majority of the positions, 52, belong to bus drivers.
Leggett's proposal calls for a $2.7 million cut in transit services, including about $2 million from the county's Ride On bus service.
"If you're eliminating routes, then obviously you have need for fewer bus drivers," said spokesman Patrick Lacefield, referring to the layoffs.
The eliminated routes fall below a "sustainable threshold" or would impact fewer riders than cuts or reductions on other routes, county officials said earlier this week.
Thirty-nine weekday, evening and weekend Ride On bus routes would be affected.
The total fiscal 2010 budget is $4.4 billion. Leggett has cut about $1.2 billion from the county's past three budgets.
In November the Montgomery County Council approved $30 million in cuts to the current, fiscal 2010 budget. Even with those cuts and Leggett's most recent proposal, the county is facing a $608 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2011.
In a memo with his proposed cuts, Leggett asked County Council members to quickly approve the budget reductions.
The proposal cuts $1.1 million from the county's public libraries, including a $700,000 reduction in library materials. Since July 2009, the budget for library materials has been cut by about $2 million, or 37 percent, leaving $3.46 million.
All purchased materials will be affected, according to Leggett's proposal. The cuts would mean "very substantial reductions or eliminations" to magazines/newspapers, music, print reference materials and databases. Certain state databases also would be eliminated, and fewer materials would be available via interlibrary loan.
The proposal includes about $2 million in cuts to Health and Human Services and calls for about $6.8 million less in police spending, including a $4.6 million reduction in fees paid to the county's speed camera contractor.
Leggett's cuts also call for reducing spending by keeping some vacant positions open and cutting back on office expenses.
Under the proposal, $22 million would be cut from the Montgomery County Public Schools budget, and Montgomery College stands to lose $1.7 million.