Expansion, Employee Raises Threatened In Budget

Town Workers' Cost-of-lifting Increases In Doubt

May 05, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

SYKESVILLE — Town employees will not get pay raises in the coming year and may not get a cost-of-living increase if the Town Council rejects the fiscal 1992 second budget draft next month.

At Thursday's budget workshop to discuss 1992 expenditures, the council questioned the town's ability to offer $14,980 in cost-of-living increases to its 12 employees. No salary increases were budgeted for fiscal 1992, which begins July 1.

Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. said he would like to see salary figures for towns the size of Sykesville before any decision is made.

"We must stay competitive and take care of our employees if we don't wantto lose them," he said.

The problem of salary and benefits competition with other towns was underscored when Police Chief Wallace P. Mitchell announced that one of his officers is leaving in middle of this month to join the Westminster City Police.

Sykesville will hirea replacement, Helt said -- preferably experienced, to save the costof training.

The proposed 1992 budget includes a 5-cent property tax increase, from 68 cents to 73 cents per $100 of assessed value. That would increase town taxes for the owner of the average $134,000 house from $364 to $391.

Most departments will maintain 1992 budgets that are close to, if not lower than, last year's levels. The proposed 1992 budget calls for $644,241 in spending, down from this year's$677,065.

The largest spending cut -- $10,000 -- came in tipping fees, which had been budgeted at $35,000 before the County Commissioners decided to hold fees at the 1991 level of $15 per ton.

"With recycling kicking in and the fees the same, we should be able to maintain last year's tipping fees," the mayor said.

Another $2,800 was cut from the town office budget when a worker was hired last year at a lower salary than that of his predecessor, Clerk/Treasurer Vincent J. Diffenbaugh said.

Housecleaning costs were cut in half, from $3,000 to $1,500.

"We've tried to cut costs by pitching in and doingsome of the work ourselves," Town Manager James L. Schumacher said.

Budget increases came in the recreation and parks and sanitation departments, which each requested that a half-time employee be increased to full-time.

A new employee will be needed for one of those departments at a cost of $16,000 to $20,500, Diffenbaugh said.

Town department heads petitioned the council to approve capital expenditures for new equipment.

Sanitation supervisor Randy Hughes asked fora refuse truck, a tractor with boom mower and a utility truck at a cost of $136,000.

Mitchell sought money for two police cars and a police station.

"We're running out of room," he said. "It's hard working there, especially when we have prisoners. It's a dangerous situation."

Councilman Charles H. "Tim" Ferguson said that in a time of tight budgets, a police station should take priority over recycling.

Councilman Charles B. Mullins said the town's old maintenance building could be rented out to help pay for a new police station.

In a move to simplify accounting, Social Security taxes and workman's compensation payments were taken out of departmental budgets and put under employee benefits, Diffenbaugh said.

Schumacher will draft asecond budget to be presented to the council May 13.

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