NORRISTOWN, PA – The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners
have released the proposed 2021 Budget and Five-year Capital Improvement Plan. This budget continues the County’s commitment to invest in its workforce, infrastructure, and the delivery of services to constituents.
“This budget is being proposed during a time of significant financial uncertainty facing Montgomery County and many of our residents. As proposed, this budget gives us much needed flexibility to meet this pandemic head on in a time of uncertain assistance from either the state or federal government,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Despite this year’s challenges, Montgomery County is on sound financial footing. We continue to adhere to our fiscal priorities, invest in long term capital planning, improve our aging infrastructure, and work to maintain an appropriate fund balance.”
“This proposed budget continues our investment in our pension fund and continues our plans to fix Montgomery County’s aging infrastructure,” said Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr., Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Since 2012, the County has completed 29 bridge projects. In 2021, we will have 20 active bridge projects in design and three underway in construction, in addition to 10 anticipated to begin construction in 2021. We have also proposed $14.5 million dollars over five years to invest in our parks, trails, and historic sites.”
The proposed 2021 Budget presents a balanced approach to allow Montgomery County to manage through the next year and beyond. Overall, revenues are estimated at $455 million, or 8.4 percent higher than the 2020 budget. Expenditures are estimated at $461.6 million, or 7.7 percent higher than the 2020 budget.
The 2021 proposed Capital Improvement Program includes $127 million in County funding to continue moving forward with the County Campus Redevelopment Plan
, including completing One Montgomery Plaza façade replacement project and the design and construction of a new County Justice Center creating jobs and procurement opportunities for local firms.
County Real Estate taxes were last raised in 2017 and have remained flat for three consecutive years. To balance the County budget, which is required by law for county governments, the County is recommending a planned $6.7 million drawdown of its fund balance paired with a 5 percent real estate tax increase on the County portion of the property tax.
The 5 percent increase, which equates to $29 dollars per year for the average homeowner, would provide $10.5 million in new real estate tax revenue. This would bring the fund balance to $88.9 million, or 19.6 percent of the 2021 projected revenue, keeping the County in a stable financial position during these uncertain times.
Highlights of the 2021 Proposed Budget and Capital Improvement Plan include:
- A dedicated funding source to the Montgomery County Community College.
- New staff for the Court’s new pre-trial division and supervision service division supporting the County’s criminal justice reform efforts.
- New permanent staff in the Voter Services Office to support increased service levels.
- Funding to allow all full time and part-time employees at the County to earn a living wage of at least $15 per hour.
- $16.5 million to strengthen the County’s pension fund, representing 89 percent of the annual required contribution.
- Level funding to core partners including Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, Penn State Extension, Pottstown Area Regional Transit, SEPTA, and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
- Funding to support 20 active bridge and road repaving projects in design and three under construction, in addition to 10 anticipated to begin construction in 2021. This includes Moyer Road Bridge, Davis Grove Road Bridge, and Swamp Pike Bridge over Swamp Creek.
- $14.5 million dollars over five years to maintain and improve parks, trails, and historic sites.
The County’s proposed 2021 operating and capital budget are posted online on the County’s finance page at www.montcopa.org/finance
and is available for public review in-person at One Montgomery Plaza in Norristown.
For the second year in a row, Montgomery County has leveraged OpenGov’s cloud-based software during its budgeting process. Residents and other interested parties can access key County financial and non-financial data online through its data visualization platform
. From within the platform, viewers can access “stories,” a communications and reporting tool to help the County more effectively share information with residents through project web pages that combine data, images, maps, and text. Current stories feature information about the County Campus Redevelopment Plan
, road and bridge projects
, and other County investments.
The Commissioners will hold two virtual public hearings on the 2021 Proposed Budget and Capital Improvement Plan on:
Public comment will be accepted by mail, email, virtually at the meeting through Zoom, and in-person in accordance with CDC social distancing guidelines. The Commissioners will consider the budget for adoption at their regularly scheduled board meeting on December 17, 2020 at 10 a.m.
Individuals who wish to submit comments via email can contact email@example.com
, or mail comments to: Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, PA 19404.
A copy of the Commissioners’ budget remarks from the November 19, 2020 board meeting is available upon request.