Last week, the County Council adopted $2.7 billion Fiscal Year 2013 operating and capital budgets.
The budget placed a strong emphasis on improving public safety and continuing our commitment to our pre-K-12 education system, which accounts for 62 percent of spending.
The Council dedicated $5 million to pedestrian safety improvements: sidewalks, cross walks, lighting and improving Rhode Island Ave. in College Park.
After years of stagnant staffing levels in the police and fire departments, the county is working to increase the number of sworn officers after adjusting for retirements.
The county executive proposed and the council supported training of 150 police recruits for a total of 1,786 sworn officers. In the Fire Department, the administration proposed two classes of 25 recruits each for a total of 50 new firefighters, but the council pushed for and secured funds for an additional 20 recruits for a total of 70 new firefighters, bringing the number of sworn firefighters to 841.
The budget also includes bonuses for nearly all county employees. They will receive a $1,000 bonus in fiscal year 2012,
and another $1,250 in fiscal year 2013.
The county also approved a $2 billion capital budget on Thursday that includes $80 million for school renovation and construction.