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No Energy Tax Relief In Sight In Montgomery County

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The energy tax in Montgomery County represents a difference of $112 million on the county budget.
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The energy tax in Montgomery County represents a difference of $112 million on the county budget.

Council members in Montgomery County, who just last month approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, are already looking at next fiscal year. Already, it appears as though cuts will be on the horizon.

Without a sudden change in the economy, the county will be looking at five percent cuts in governmental agencies. Council president Roger Berliner says that is because of a change in a state law that that requires counties to spend more money each successive year on their school systems.

That could also scuttle plans to roll back an energy tax increase first approved two years ago. Earlier this year, council members decided to extend that hike indefinitely instead of letting it expire this summer.  Berliner says the new hope is to slowly reduce the increase over the coming years, but even that might not occur now for a while.

"If you will, worst case scenario is keeping the energy tax at its current level, as opposed to further reductions," says Berliner.

Other council members worry that the gloomy outlook will also interfere with plans to hire additional police officers.

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