Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden told a business group yesterday that he does not foresee layoffs of any county workers and that any increase in next year's budget would be under the 5 percent cap recommended by an advisory group.
But he wouldn't say whether he will increase the tax rate.
In a speech before the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce billed as his "state of the county" address, Mr. Hayden said the budget he submits to the County Council in April should be "well under" the 5 percent ceiling recommended by the Spending Affordability Committee.
The committee was set up in January to come up with guidelines that will minimize future spending increases.
Mr. Hayden has quietly ordered 4 percent pay increases for county department heads and their staffs to keep their salaries in line with raises negotiated for merit employees.
But he said yesterday that even with the pay raises and an economic slump that has meant declining tax revenues, he anticipates no layoffs in the county's work force of 8,363.
"Let me make it clear that we are not even considering layoffs," he said.
He added that he is trying to minimize costs by looking more closely at capital projects, costs of trucks and other heavy equipment, and the cost of having 400 cars driven home by county employees each night.
Mr. Hayden said employees with county cars are being asked to justify them by completing a form. He added that he believed that once the forms have been evaluated, "we will be reducing the number of take-home cars significantly."
Mr. Hayden also took a shot at his predecessor, Dennis F. Rasmussen, saying that 1,000 jobs were added to the county payroll during the last administration.
The chamber endorsed Mr. Rasmussen in the November election.
Mr. Hayden said that he has limited the hiring of new employees to those personally approved by him or County Administrator MerreenKelly.
Mr. Hayden also said he has cut $2.8 million so far from the current$1.1 billion budget and has pledged another $2 million in cuts by the end of next week.