By Mana Rabiee
Facing a $600 million budget shortfall, Montgomery County, Maryland executives are reassuring residents they're trying to spare key areas of the budget. But they also seem to be preparing them for bad news.
County Executive Ike Legget says when it comes to the budget, he has three priorities: education, public safety and social services to vulnerable residents. But outside a public forum in Germantown Monday night, his county budget coordinator Alex Espinosa says he's not sure that can be done.
"To close a gap of this size everything needs to be on the table for consideration," says Espinosa. "There just isn't enough room in the rest of the budget to make up the difference."
Neither Espinosa nor Leggett would be specific about what might be cut. But as they stressed their three priorities, they also warned the budget deficit is not just next year's $600 million, but more than $1 billion over the last few years, and fixing it will not be easy.