State Cuts $1.3m In County Aid

January 04, 1991|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

As expected, the state Board of Public Works cut $1.3 million in grants to Anne Arundel County government Wednesday, including money for libraries and the community college.

Anne Arundel Community College, which hoped for $8.7 million from the state this fiscal year, lost $570,000; the library system, which expected $1.2 million, lost $118,000.

The board also slashed $238,000 for county police and $415,000 instate property tax money that is returned to the county. Anne Arundel was expecting $3.9 million in police aid and $8.5 million from the property tax

grant. Both the police and property tax grants go into the county's general fund and may be used for a variety of programs.

"It's probably one of the worst times to have cuts like this," said Steve Welkos, acting county budget officer.

On the other hand, the cuts are about half of what Gov. William Donald Schaefer proposed last month, when he outlined a plan to reduce a projected $423 million budget deficit. That plan would have eliminated $33 million in state aid to Baltimore and the 23 counties, including the property tax grant and money for libraries, police and community colleges.

The Board of Public Works on Wednesday cut $15.7 million in local aid for these four programs.

With county revenue dropping, Welkos said the county will not be able to make up the difference and spending must be curtailed.

"It's not devastating. It's not like the system is going to collapse.

It just means there's less money for library books," Welkos said.

Library director Ed Hall has said he is looking for ways to cut his budget. The community college has begun austerity measures urged by County Executive Robert R. Neall, who has imposed hiring freezes and spending limits on all government agencies to preserve the county's $17 million surplus.

Edgar Mallick Jr., dean of admissions at Anne Arundel Community College, said school officials have frozen hiring and halted spending for equipment, non-essential supplies and travel.

Despite the state cuts, there will be "absolutely no layoffs," Mallick said.

However, since salaries account for most of AACC's $30 million budget, officials will be looking for ways to reduce spending there. Furloughs will be discussed, Mallick said, "but they are not something we really want to do or something we see as desirable."

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