Board Urged Not To Make Cuts In Special Education

Human Services Budgets Spared Slashing

February 13, 1991|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

Thanks to rising costs of health care, insurance and Social Security, the county's Human Resources and Social Services budgets were spared the double-digit cuts made in several departments last week, escaping with only a 3 percent cut in a combined $8.2 million request.

As the next round of budget slashing continued Monday, the County Commissioners took about $236,000 from the request, leaving the two departments with $7.95 million for the budget year beginning July 1.

At that level, the county's Department of Social Services, Department of Human Resources and Personnel Services will receive about $719,000 more than the $7.23 million budgeted for the current year. Thatrepresents an increase of about 9.9 percent over the present budgets; the requested amount would have resulted in a 13.2 percent increase.

Agency heads were told last fall to submit budgets that called for little or no growth. Budget Director Steven D. Powell also had asked agencies to be prepared for no-growth budgets.

Getting 1992's operating budget in order has become a precarious balancing act, as the commissioners try to make the $116 million in expected revenues stretch to accommodate $140 million in requested expenses.

Monday's reviews were the second round in a budget-cutting process expected to last until the end of May. Reviews scheduled for yesterday -- including Recreation and Parks, the Carroll Farm Museum and the Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center -- were canceled, and are to be rescheduled.

The largest appropriation request looked at Monday was the $6.01 million recommended for the Department of Human Resources and Personnel Services. At that level, the department would be spending almost 12 percent more than the $5.4 million it spent for fiscal 1991.

Causing the increase, county officials say, is the rise in the cost of fringe benefits such as Social Security payments, unemployment insurance, retirement and pension payments and death insurance. The budget office's recommended $2.5 million would push the cost of fringe benefits up 25 percent over the $2 million spent this year.

No newpositions for the department were requested.

For Permits and Regulations, which oversees permits, inspections and development review, the $1.47 million recommended by the budget office would represent a 7.9 percent increase over this year's $1.36 million.

No new department positions were requested for next year.

The commissioners are expected to trim another $23.5 million from the budget requests inthe coming weeks. They are not expected to resort to increasing the county's tax rate of $2.35 per $100 of assessed valuation, as they have said that they want to keep the Baltimore-area's lowest property tax rate intact.

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