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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Worcester County adopts budget

FY23 will operate at $227 million after commissioners debate, vote and pass, 5-2

By Greg Wehner, Staff Writer

The Worcester County Commissioners adopted the FY23 operating budget on Tuesday in two votes, though neither was unanimous. The first vote was for the nearly $101 million for the public school system, which Commissioner Ted Elder opposed, and the second was for the remaining $126 million, which Commissioners Chip Bertino and Jim Bunting opposed.

(June 16, 2022) The Worcester County Commissioners adopted the county government’s FY23 operating budget of $226.9 million last week, though the vote was not unanimous.

The vote began with Commissioner Chip Bertino asking if the Board of Education’s portion of the budget was going to be a separate vote, which Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young said it would be.

The school district’s portion of the budget represents nearly $101 million, or a 4 percent increase over the approximately $97 million in FY22.

When commissioners voted on the school district’s portion of the budget, the vote was 6-1, with Commissioner Ted Elder voting in opposition.

The remaining $126 million representing the general budget was voted on by the commissioners as well, which resulted in a 5-2 vote, with Bertino and Commissioner Jim Bunting voting in opposition.

During the meeting, there was little discussion on the budget.

In April, the commissioners were alerted that the revenues coming in would not cover the entire budget — the county was $11.3 million shy of the originally proposed budget of $229.6 million.

They met on May 4 to figure out how to balance the shortage. As a result, department heads made nearly $3 million in reductions and early income tax projections were roughly $3.5 million short.

Since that meeting, Young told the commissioners on June 7, the Atlantic General Hospital grant was increased $100,000 for a total of $200,000, emergency medical funding was increased by $48,874, and cost-of-living and step increases for employees were distributed across all the departments.

The final budget of $226,916,778 fell short of revenue projections by about $4 million —or $283,296 less than FY22 — and was balanced by drawing $4 million from county government’s fund balance.