Budget Hearings See Solid No-growth Line

March 20, 1991|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

The County Commissioners resumed their public budget hearings yesterday after more than a month of almost daily fluctuations in Carroll's financial future.

And as they disclosed third revisions to recommended budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the commissioners showed little inclination to deviate from their no-growth budget stance.

The sevenagencies whose 1992 spending plans were reviewed yesterday have recommended budgets totaling $3.92 million, a 1.3 percent decrease from their current $3.97 million packages. Those agencies had requested $4.48 million, an increase of nearly 13 percent over the amount they have this year.

FOR THE RECORD - A March 20 Carroll County Sun article about proposed budget cuts should have identified the county tourism administrator as Joan Meekins.

Most of the reductions announced yesterday were nothing new, except that some of the cuts announced a week ago appear to have been restored.

For the Public Information and Tourism Department, a partial restoration of the money that would cause the one-day closure of the Tourist Information Center was announced.

Sort of.

Joanne Hayes, tourism administrator, thanked the commission

ers for giving her bureau the $2,500 previously cut from its $147,455 budget.

The total public information budget for next year is $506,640, a 0.17 percent increase over the current $505,733.

"The tourism office will not be closed" one day a week, Hayes said to a reporter after her hearing.

But when contacted later in the day, neither Commissioner President Donald I. Dell nor Commissioner Vice President Elmer C. Lippy Jr. thought the money for the center had been restored.

And Micki Smith, public information and tourism director, said shedidn't think the center was given its day back, but rather money forpromotional efforts related to that day was restored.

The confusion is understandable, said Smith, the Budget Office and the commissioners.

Trying to balance $140 million in spending requests with $112million in projected revenues is bad enough, officials say. But thisyear, with the uncertainty of the state budget picture, the economy and Carroll's revenue projections, this fiscal season has been calledone of the county's worst.

The commissioners will have 28 more budget hearings between tomorrow and April 2 as they prepare a proposedbudget. A final budget and a tax rate must be approved by May 30.

Another agency apparently given a slight reprieve was the Departmentof Economic and Community Development.

Some of the $10,415 reduction in marketing efforts was restored, although the overall agency budget of $518,455 is 0.45 percent less than this year's spending level.

"I will not be spending money just to spend money," said James C. Threatte, EDC director. "I don't believe in spending money just because it's there."

However, at the same time programs are being cutand services reduced, costs associated with salaries continue to rise. For instance, salaries in the Department of Recreation and Parks total $1.4 million, a 7.7 percent rise over this year's $1.31 million.For public information, salaries are expected to total $271,895, a 14.45 percent increase over this year. In Economic Development, the $315,555 recommended for next year is 8.7 percent greater than this year.

Much of those increases is related to additional staff hired before this fall's hiring freeze, said Steven D. Powell, the county's management and budget director.

Other budgets reviewed yesterday include:

* Recreation and Parks, down 0.52 percent from this year, to $2.08 million.

* Extension Service, down 1.4 percent, to $229,045.

* Forest Conservancy Board, unchanged at $990.

* Human Services Programs Inc., unchanged at $324,520.

NEW BUDGET HEARING SCHEDULE

Tuesday, March 19

2 p.m.: Department of Recreation and Parks, Carroll County Historical Society

2:30 p.m.: Election Board

3 p.m.: Agriculture Extension Office

3:30 p.m.: Human Services Programs Inc.

4 p.m.: Public Information and Tourism/Production Services

4:30 p.m.: Economic and Community Development/Job Training Partnership Act/Housing

Thursday, March 21

9:30 a.m.: Sheriff's Services/Detention Center

10 a.m.: Battered Spouse/Sexual Abuse Treatment Center

10:30 a.m.: Department of Management and Budget

11 a.m.: Volunteer Fire Association

11:30 a.m.: Department of Permits and Regulations

2:30 p.m.: Emergency Operations/Civil Defense/Community Access Television

3 p.m.: Department of Aging

3:30 p.m. Soil Conservation

Monday, March 25

2:15 p.m.: Department of Public Works No. 1

3 p.m.: County Commissioners

3:30 p.m.: Carroll Community College

4:15 p.m.: Department of Natural Resources Protection

4:45 p.m.: Youth Services Bureau

Tuesday, March 26

2:30p.m.: Department of Planning/Baltimore Regional Council of Governments

3 p.m.: Bureau of Solid Waste

3:30 p.m.: Department of Law/Office of Administrative Hearings

4 p.m.: Finance/Accounting/Purchasing/Central Warehouse/Debt Service

4:30 p.m.: Circuit Court/Juvenile Master/Volunteer Community Service, Orphan's Court

Thursday, March 28

10 a.m.: Health Department

10:30 a.m.: Human Resources/Personnel Services/Fringe Benefits

11 a.m.: Board of Education

2 p.m.: Civil Air Patrol

2:30 p.m.: Carroll County Public Library

Monday, April 1

4:30 p.m.: State's Attorney/Victim Witness/Non-Support

5-8 p.m.: Budget work session

Tuesday, April 2

9:30 a.m.: Department of Public Works No. 2

10:15-11 a.m.: Budget work session

2-3:15 p.m.: Budget work session

Source: Carroll CountyPublic Information Office

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