Although the $55 million increase requested by county schools is by far the largest in Baltimore County government, other departments are asking for millions more too, making the recent election mandate to cut taxes and spending doubly hard to satisfy this recession year.
The major county departments have preliminary requests in for nearly $90 million more total than their current budgets, which end June 30. More increase requests may follow.
County budget officers, meanwhile, project possibly $35 million more in revenue to be divided among county departments next year and virtually no increase the year after unless new taxes are found.
The school budget request of $518 million, announced last week, represents about half the county's current $1.1 billion budget. Among other department requests:
* County police, without even one more patrolman, say they need $7.3 million more next year, almost all to pay for built-in pay raises and the creation of new pay steps for veteran patrolmen and lieutenants.
* Central Services, citing set increases in the cost of utilities, health insurance and salary raises, has requested $9 million more next year.
* Fire officials say they need $6.5 million more -- $4.2 million for built-in salary increases and $2.3 million for backlogged equipment replacement.
* New Sheriff Norman M. Pepersack said he needs 33 new corrections officers to catch up with where the force should have been two years ago. That, and other needs will cost $3.4 million more next year, he said.
* Public Works said it needs at least $7 million more.
* Library Director Charles Robinson is asking for $1.4 million more, even while cutting several staff jobs and eliminating Sunday openings for six community libraries. Robinson said he also plans to eliminate eight Sunday openings per year for area branch libraries in an attempt to protect money for new books and lending materials.