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Worcester County faces $10M shortfall in FY25 budget

Worcester County will have a shortfall of more than $10 million to address in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget as officials begin balancing the numbers.

Worcester County Government Center

File photo

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

Worcester County has a shortfall of more than $10 million to address as officials begin the annual budget process.

The Worcester County Commissioners were presented on March 19 with a requested $270 million general fund budget. Revenues for the coming year are projected at a little more than $260 million.

“This leaves a shortfall of $10,116,174 which must be reconciled either with reductions in expenditures, additional revenues or a combination of both,” Budget Officer Kim Reynolds said. 

The budget Reynolds presented Tuesday includes projected general fund revenues of $260,076,878, an increase of $24 million, or about 10%, compared to the current year. Net property tax revenues increased by about $13.9 million, primarily as a result of increased assessments and homeowner tax credits. Income tax revenue is projected to increase and is estimated at $47 million. 

As far as projected expenditures, Reynolds said the requested expenditures totaled $270,193,052, which is a $34 million, or 14.5%, increase compared to the current year. The board of education’s requested budget is $109,632,071, which does not include an additional $7.7 million in debt related to school construction. 

Budget work sessions are set to start April 9. A second budget session is scheduled for April 16, followed by a public hearing at 6 p.m., May 7. Additional budget work sessions are scheduled for May 14 and May 22.

“The FY 2025 general fund operating budget must be adopted on June 4,” Reynolds said. 

Commissioner Chip Bertino pointed out that the proposed budget did not include the health insurance changes also approved during the March 19 meeting. Because the commissioners agreed to cover half of the health insurance increase projected for county and board of education employees, the county’s fiscal 2025 expenditures will increase beyond the current $10 million shortfall.

This story appears in the March 28, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.