The crux of fulfilling our mission is balancing environmental stewardship with recreation. The right balance is what will keep our world-class park system in top shape for current and future generations. Right now, we need your help!
Recently, the County Executive released his recommended FY19 Operating Budget and several amendments to the FY 19-24 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The Montgomery County Council is working to reconcile the County Executive’s budget against the department’s work program.
The recommended operating budget is $5 million less than what the Planning Board deemed necessary to support our aging park system. Unless the Council can restore a significant portion of this funding, the Parks Department will not have staff or funding to operate new parks coming on line, will implement a hiring freeze, suffer deep cuts in supplies, materials and contractual services needed to maintain the parks, and forego any requested resources to enhance existing park programs and fix aging and failing park infrastructure.
The recommended six-year CIP is $28 million less than needed. The department was asked to make CIP cuts as follows:
— local parks: $11 million
— non-local parks: $15 million
— current revenue or cash :$2 million
If approved, these cuts will result in delays to many park capital projects and service delivery reductions across most park programs.
Unless the Council restores funding, the department will not be able to operate the newest parks, including Batchellors Forest, Blair, Clarkmont, Dewey, Gene Lynch, Kensington Cabin, Kings, Pinecrest, South Germantown, and the newly re-opened Wheaton-Claridge Local Park.
The Parks Department agreed to $17 million of this reduction, as a result, the Parks Department will downsize and delay several planned projects and reduce funding for parkland acquisition. If the Council does not restore the remaining $11 million, long-planned projects such as the Brookside Gardens Master Plan Implementation, Little Bennett Regional Park Day Use Area, and the Wheaton Regional Park Improvements will suffer.
Montgomery County residents are very much a part of the County Council’s decision-making process. Whether the decision is a new law, a master plan, or the budget, the Council considers all views expressed by community members.