Remarks by Commissioner Josh ShapiroProposed 2013 Montgomery County General Fund Budget November 15, 2012
Today, the Commissioners unveil the proposed 2013 Montgomery County General Fund Budget—our first budget.
It took the Commissioners and our senior staff, led by CFO, Uri Monson, eleven months to put thistogether. This has been a collaborative process and I want to thank the department heads, the row officersand the courts for their willingness to be a part of the solution. I can’t say enough about our staff whohave thought outside the box and played an honest game of chess, instead of cheating at checkers.
This is a “zero based budget” that was built up from zero by focusing on the core functions of governmentas opposed to simply modifying the budget from the year before, as has been past practice.
It is an honest budget. It is a transparent budget.
The 2013 budget primarily reflects the need to repair errors of commission and omission by prior administrations as well as absorbing state cuts to human services and continuing to grapple with theeffects of the national recession.
It is well-documented at this point, but it is worth repeating that when we took office on January 3, weinherited a mess:
A $10 million budget shortfall that necessitated immediate cuts.
County government buildings that were crumbling and will take at least $50 million to fix.
An emergency radio system that will require at least $45 million to upgrade.
The need to borrow money our first month in office just to make the initial payrolls and payoperating expenses.
And the list goes on and on.
I recite these facts because they affect the budget that we release today and limit our choices goingforward.
Solving the problems that were left to us required both an ability to manage short-term problems and awillingness to make the tough choices to set us on the path for a better future.
No leader wants to make tough, unpopular choices, but we refuse to punt and leave it to someone else, ashas been the past practice. If we fail to make these choices today we will not be able to meet the County’sobligation to our constituents.
We have redefined how our county government works and made it more effective and efficient.
For example, we tore up the old procurement policy that was panned by the Grand Jury, led to higher costs for taxpayers, minimal competition for county work and an atmosphere where only certainconnected firms could play. In its place we have an open procurement process that has leveled the playing field and lowered prices for the taxpayers.