Spending Affordability Committee

November 1, 2016 Final Report

The County Commissioners established the Spending Affordability Committee with Ordinance 15-11 which became effective on December 26, 2015.  The Spending Affordability Committee is comprised of 3 to 5 members of the community as recommended by the County Administrator and Director of Budget, Finance and Information Technology.  The inaugural membership is comprised of:

* Joe Zimmerman, Treasurer, National Capital Park and Planning Commission

* John Wilson, Local Business Owner

* Anne Mackinnon, Former State Delegate and Prince George's County Councilwoman

* Gregg Todd, County Administrator, ex officio member

* Jonathan Seeman, Director of Budget, Finance & Information Technology, ex officio member

The full text of the legislation establishing the Spending Affordability Committee is located here.


Important Dates:

September 20, 2016 - Opening Meeting - Materials Reviewed

October 3, 2016 - Meeting #2 - Agenda

October 17, 2016 - Meeting #3 - Agenda -- Materials Reviewed

November 1, 2016 - Final Report Due to County Commissioners - Final Report


The duties and responsibilities of this committee include:

A.  The Spending Affordability Committee shall make advisory recommendations to the County Commissioners concerning:

(1) Spending affordability;

(2) Ways to improve the County's budgetary procedures and policies; and

(3) Other related areas upon request of the County Commissioners.

B.  On or before November 1 of each year, the committee shall submit to the County Commissioners a report on spending affordability guidelines for the proposed budget recommending County spending levels for the next fiscal year consistent with the capacity of the tax base and revenue sources of the County to finance public services and long-term debt. A copy of this report shall be posted on the County web site and be made available for public inspection.

(1) The report shall provide recommendations for the following spending affordability guidelines:

(a) A ceiling on total general fund appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year;

(b) Separate maximum general fund spending allocations for:

(i) Debt service; and

(ii) All other General Fund expenditures, in the aggregate, for the ensuing fiscal year,

(c) Appropriate levels of general fund unrestricted fund balance for the ensuing fiscal year.

(d) A financial forecast of four years, including projected General Fund revenues and expenditures

(e) Guidelines for the capital budget, including recommended amounts of paygo funding, General Obligation bonds, and  use of capital fund balance

(f) Other findings or recommendations that the Committee considers appropriate

(2) In developing the spending affordability guidelines, the Committee shall consider the following factors, among others:

(a) Growth and stability of the local economy;

(b) Growth in the assessable base and property tax revenues;

(c) Estimated revenues from outside sources such as the State government;

(d) Changes in personal income and other measures of tax capacity;

(e) Debt affordability indicators such as a ratio of net debt to total assessed value, the ratio of debt service to general  fund expenditures, and debt per capita

(f) The level of inflation and inflation trends;

(g) Commercial construction, housing and other planning, permitting, and sales activity;

(h) The level of unemployment and labor force trends; and

(i) Projected population and school enrollment changes.

C. In developing the proposed capital and operating budgets, the County Administrator and County Commissioners shall consider the Committee's spending affordability recommendations. An approved budget in excess of the recommended affordability guidelines must be addressed in the annual Budget Resolution.