BETHESDA, Md. (DC News Now) — Property taxes are going up in Montgomery County. The county council voted to approve a $6.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2024.

The increase is half of what the county executive wanted.

Executive Marc Elrich initially wanted a 10-cent increase for every $100 of assessed value. But the council voted Thursday 7-4 to reduce that tax rate to 4.7 cents which they say saves property owners about $118 million.

“Some council members wanted higher taxes. Some wanted lower taxes and this is what democracy is all about,” said Council President Evan Glass.

Glass said the $6.7 billion budget “makes significant investments in our schools, our workforce, and our essential services for residents.”

While many don’t want to see any property tax increase, some homeowners are understanding.

“Never happy about having a property tax increase but if it fully funds the schools that’s really important that the schools and the kids and the teachers are well paid and that the kids get a good education,” said Steven Aisenberg.

The council allocated $3.165 billion for Montgomery County Public Schools.

That’s an 8.4% increase from this fiscal year, but not enough for Elrich.

“Our per pupil spending when adjusted for inflation has gone down since 2010. Today, we’re only spending 80% of what we used to spend on our schools,” said Elrich.

He says right now councilmembers are relying on $30 million in federal emergency COVID funds that won’t be available in the future.

“The cuts to the schools are going to have serious impacts, not just this year, but next year,” said Elrich.

Glass said the end result was one of consensus which supports labor contracts for county and school employees, strong maintenance of a social safety net, and supports the preservation of reserve funds.