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Montgomery County Set To Pass $4.8 Billion Budget

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The county's budget will be passed today.
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The county's budget will be passed today.

Later this morning the Montgomery County Council is expected to formally approve a $4.8 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

County Executive Isiah Leggett put together the plan the council has been debating over the last two months, and says the council's final proposal contains "99 percent" of what he wanted. But the other one percent is an energy tax cut.

In 2010, the council and Leggett raised the tax, with a 2012 sunset provision. But that sunset never happened, and the council and Leggett now disagree over what "sunset" means.  The council takes it as the rate should return to its pre-2010 rate.  Leggett, though, sees it differently.

"There was no pledge that you would automatically end it. It was that it comes to an end, and before you could renew it, you have to go through the (budget) process again.  And that's what happened," he says.

Leggett also proposed pay raises for some unionized workers, as high as six percent this coming year and 19 percent for the next two.  Leggett says workers have foregone many pay increases and bonuses in the last five years. "They've given up better than $30,000 per employee. We are under what I consider some legal obligation under the collective bargaining process."

Expect the pay raises to be brought up on the campaign trail next year, with the loudest critic councilman Phil Andrews, so far, the lone Democrat to file to run for county executive in 2014.  Leggett is still deciding whether to run for a third term.

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