Montgomery County Budget passed, cuts health and retirement benefits

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A new budget in Montgomery County cuts workers' health and retirement benefits by $33 million.

The $4.37 billion budget, aimed at closing a $300 million shortfall, was unanimously approved Thursday by the Montgomery County Council.

It also includes a 4.2-cent tax-rate increase. The county's contribution to the school budget would be cut by $25 million, though the police department will receive nearly $3 million more.

County officials say they had to take steps to rein in the rising cost of benefits.

The budget is scheduled to take effect July 1. A final vote on the spending plan is scheduled for Thursday.