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Proposed Prince George's budget includes more funds for police and schools

Thursday - 3/13/2014, 7:42pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- More money for police and public schools is included in a new budget introduced Thursday in Prince George's County.

County Executive Rushern Baker's proposed $3.41 billion budget for fiscal year 2015 includes a 6 percent increase in education funding over the current year.

"This funding will support student achievements by addressing class sizes, as well as expanding, and-or enhancing effective programs," Baker says.

He's also calling for funding increases of 8 percent for the Sheriff's office, 6 percent for county fire and EMS, and 5 percent for county police.

The extra police funding would help pay for three new police recruit classes.

"That will add 150 new officers to our police department," says Baker.

Also included in the budget:

  • $208 million for a new, cutting-edge Regional Medical Center. The plan for the new hospital still needs state approval before it can move ahead.

  • $6 million from the Maryland Attorney General's National Mortgage Settlement fund to, among other things, acquire and rehab foreclosed homes, as well as provide assistance to home buyers.

  • Expanding the number of libraries with Sunday hours in the county from three to seven.

The county took a new approach to the budget process this time. Typically, each department individually asks for money. This time, departments with similar missions were asked to cluster together into groups, such as public safety and health and human services, to come up with lists of funding priorities and creative ways to save money.

"It helped us overcome a $111 million revenue gap," says Baker.

Under the budget plan, some full time jobs would be eliminated, while others would be created.

The budget goes next to council, which has until June 1 to approve it.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

You can watch video of the budget presentation here.

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