By Adam Pagnucco.
Last night, Council Member Nancy Navarro, who chairs the
council’s Government Operations Committee, wrote on my Facebook page that she
intends to introduce a council resolution on Tuesday calling for major spending
restraint in the county’s budget.
Specifically, the resolution calls for a same services budget for each
department and agency; holding Montgomery College and MCPS to maintenance of
effort (which is the state’s mandated minimum for local appropriations to those
agencies); and providing flexibility to assist residents and businesses as well
as to revisit spending after the coronavirus crisis ends. Navarro claims that Council Members Andrew
Friedson, Gabe Albornoz, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer are co-sponsoring her
It’s worth noting that Navarro is the only current
council member who was on the council during the budget crisis of 2010.
The resolution does not yet appear on the council’s
agenda for Tuesday, but the current text as shared by Navarro appears
SUBJECT: Options for the Approval of and Appropriation for the FY 2021 Operating Budget Background
1. As required by Section 303 of the County Charter, the
County Executive sent to the County Council the FY 2021 Operating Budget on
March 16, 2020.
2. As required by Section 304 of the County Charter, the
Council must hold public hearings on the proposed operating budget.
3. A new coronavirus disease, called Covid-19, has
spread extremely quickly, making its way to over 100 countries, including the
4. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially
declared the Covid-19 viral disease a pandemic.
5. The number of new cases in the United States is
growing quickly and has spread to each of the 50 States, the District of
Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands.
6. To slow the spread of this communicable disease,
Governor Hogan issued several emergency orders closing all non-essential
businesses, restricting public transit, closing schools, prohibiting public gatherings
of 10 persons or more, and postponing the Presidential Primary Election in
7. Although County government operations are continuing
during this pandemic, County employees are using situational teleworking
wherever possible to perform their duties. Due to the need to limit person to
person contact, many County residents have lost paychecks and many County
businesses have lost revenue.
8. The Executive was required by the Charter to develop
his recommended FY2021 Operating Budget before the most recent events clarified
the full extent of the pandemic.
9. Considering this unprecedented global pandemic and
national state of emergency, the Council must move expeditiously to provide
continuity of operations in approving an operating budget for FY2021 that
provides additional flexibility to help County residents and businesses
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland
approves the following resolution:
1. The Council directs staff to develop viable options
to streamline our budget process, so that for FY 2021, the Council may adopt an
aggregate operating budget for our departments and agencies that reflects a
continuation of the services provided at the same level as FY2020.
2. These viable options must include funding the
Operating Budgets of the County Board of Education and Montgomery College at
the required Maintenance of Effort level and should avoid funding any new programs
unrelated to relief for County residents and businesses from the Covid-19 viral
3. These viable options should include flexibility for possible
a. to assist County residents and businesses to recover
from the Covid-19 viral disease pandemic; and
b. to provide additional resources for other County
programs and employee wage and benefit enhancements, if available, after the
crisis is over.
This is a correct copy of Council action.
Clerk of the Council