FY 2025 Budget Highlights


Category: Finance County Council

On April 16, 2024, County Manager, Clay Stamp, and Finance Director, Martha Darling Sparks, joined the Talbot County Council to present the Fiscal Year 2025 proposed General Fund Budget. The proposed $163.9 million general fund budget upholds essential investment in employees, streamlines processes, fosters efficiencies, and allocates funding for pivotal projects in public safety, education, and environmental stability.

The FY 25 Budget includes an increase from FY 24 funding levels, while continuing to utilize the county’s historically successful principles of conservative budgeting and allows the county to maintain a healthy fund balance to address future economic uncertainty.

Additionally, the increased budget reduces fund balance reserves to support vital infrastructure projects. Fund balance reserves spending includes $2.98 million for Capital Outlay (equipment) purchases and $27.5 million for capital projects.

“The fiscal year 2025 budget reflects priorities in public safety and education while investing in key infrastructure projects, and human capital all while continuing our conservative budgeting process,” said Clay Stamp, County Manager.

Budget Highlights

Investment in Public Safety and Emergency Services

The County continues to invest in public safety, emergency services, and public health. Most notably, the County is looking forward to wrapping up two large capital projects, including the new Health Department building and the Public Safety Complex at Marys Court both of which are located in Easton.

Support includes:

  • $7.8 million for upgraded 911 technology including complete of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system
  • 5 new positions in emergency services and public safety, which include Communication Specialists (911 Operators), and School Resource Officers (SROs)
  • Correctional Officers inclusion into the Maryland Correctional Officers’ Retirement System (CORS)
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) inclusion into the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System (LEOPS)
  • Additional capital funding to complete the Health Department’s new facility.
  • Additional capital funding to complete the Public Safety Complex for Talbot County Sheriff and Department of Emergency Services at Marys Court.
  • $550,000 for upgrades and infrastructure improvements to the Talbot County Detention Center. 

The County continues to support capital initiatives and investment in education. Talbot County Public Schools will receive $54.6 million in operational funding, which is an increase of $3.65 million from last year. This exceeds the required local share contribution by $2.6 million.

The budget also includes an additional $16.9 million in capital funding to support the Chapel District Elementary School renovation project and $1.5 million in capital funding for other capital projects with specific project allocation to be determined by the school district.

The budget also includes $3.7 million in capital funding to support expansion of the Talbot County Free Library branch in St. Michaels.

Chesapeake College received $1.9 million to support operation costs, and some capital outlay projects.

Improving Infrastructure

The budget includes $4.5 million in capital funding to support engineering and construction costs to extend water and sewer lines to support the new regional medical center site and the Talbot County Community Center.

Additional funds were allocated to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the County, with the assistance of grant funding.

Capital projects also include $9.5 million for repair, construction, and resurfacing of county roadways, of which $4 million is expected grant funding.

Maintaining a Dynamic Workforce

This year’s budget continues the County’s commitment to supporting a dynamic workforce.

This support includes:

  • 3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and 1 Step (1-3%) for County employees
  • Increases operational funds to volunteer fire departments and funds to address personnel retention and recruitment efforts
    Big Picture

The budget forecasts an overall 22% increase in revenue compared to the previous fiscal year budget. This includes the proposed increase in property tax to support Talbot County Public School’s budget initiatives and the previously authorized increase in tax to support public safety.

“This year, the County has the second lowest property tax rate and the second lowest income tax rate across all Maryland County governments,” mentioned Finance Director, Martha Darling Sparks.

Ms. Sparks noted that both Moody’s Investors Services and Fitch Ratings have affirmed the County’s budgeting strategy by affirming strong bond ratings (AAA by Fitch and an upgrade to Aa1 by Moody’s) with Fitch noting, “Fitch’s assessment of the county’s financial resilience as being in the highest category is based on the combined strength of its fund balance position, its ample expenditure flexibility and its strong ability to adjust revenues through policy action to counterbalance its historically volatile revenues.  The county typically increases its property tax levy by the full amount allowed annually under the county charter.”

“This budget will allow us to continue the important work of serving our community by addressing priorities of public safety and education as well as addressing needs that will empower our future through the great work of so many agencies and organizations,” said Chuck Callahan, Talbot County Council President.

In addition, on April 23, 2024, Council approved 4th Quarter Transfers that focus on the purchase of capital outlay items. There were some capital items requested as part of the FY25 budget that were determined could be purchased with FY24 appropriations within the guidance of Section 615 of the Talbot County Charter and Council’s approval. The transfers totaled $871,572. The memo can be found on the County website.

Public hearings on the proposed budget will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. (Bradley Meeting Room) and 7:00 p.m. (Easton Elementary School Cafeteria). The public is invited to submit written public comments by Monday, May 6, 2024 to publiccomments@talbotcountymd.gov

The FY 25 Proposed Budget (Bill #1553) is available on the County’s website at https://talbotcountymd.gov/fy2025budget

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Page last modified Friday, May 3, 2024 11:38:20 AM