Some You Win, Some You Don't, But You Keep Trying

Sykesville Trio Blocks Budget Introduction

May 15, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

SYKESVILLE — In what some officials called a last gesture of defiance, Council members Charles B. Mullins, Maxine C. Wooleyhand and Charles H. "Tim" Ferguson voted against accepting the mayor's budget at Monday night's meeting.

"It was the mayor's suggestion and they didn't like it," said Councilman Kenneth W. Clark. "It's that plain and simple."

Councilmen Wiley Purkey, Eugene Johnson and Clark voted to acceptthe budget, leaving a 3-3 deadlock.

But Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr., who the charter assigns the power to introduce the budget, was prepared for the move by the group that he long ago dubbed "The Gang of Three."

Turning to two of the three newly elected council members whoattended the meeting, Helt said, "You'll be sworn in next Monday andwe'll introduce the budget then."

The town's charter says the newcouncil takes office the third Monday of the month.

"I expected this, I had the 20th ready," Helt said after the meeting. "I knew they(Gang of Three) were going to do this."

At 7:30 p.m. Monday, Heltwill swear in Jonathan Herman, William R. Hall Jr. and Walter R. White. Then, the mayor will introduce the budget to the council.

"Whydon't you want to introduce the budget?" a seemingly bewildered Herman asked the three opposing council members after the deadlock vote.

Mullins said he personally opposed it. "We had concerns about the budget at the last meeting and nothing's been changed," he said.

Despite the vote, the budget will be advertised for a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28.

"You don't have to wait to introduce the budget to advertise the public hearing," Helt said. "We'll have the public hearing if we have to have a workshop every night next week."

The second budget draft that was presented Monday still calls for the 5-cent property tax increase, from 68 cents to 73 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The increase means town property taxes on the average $134,000 home would rise to $391, $26 more than this year. That's in addition to $1,260 in county taxes.

"There are problems with the budget," Wooleyhand said. "The constant yield rate is 64 cents, so that should tell you something."

But Helt said using the constant yield -- the tax rate needed to raise the same amount of revenue as the current year -- is not the way to form the budget. Because the fiscal 1991 budget was kept so low, the town ran into serious financial problems in January and had to dip into its capital projects money and put on an expenditure freeze in February to get through thisyear, which ends June 30.

In fact, Helt refused to sign the fiscal 1991 budget, which became law without his signature.

Major changes in the second draft, which calls for a budget of $677,707, include:

* Adding $5,000 to the projected state income tax revenues, from

$145,000 to $150,000.

* Adding $16,746 to other revenues from Cullum Inc. for principal and interest loan repayment on the train station restoration project.

* Cutting the cost-of-living salary expenditure for the town's 12 employees from 5 percent to 4 percent, totaling $12,019 and saving $2,957.

* Increasing the capital outlay from $35,438 to $53,402, to allow for the purchase of needed equipment, such as tractor-mower and a utility truck.

"The 73 cents is a disappointment for everybody, but it's not final -- we still have work to do on it," said Clark.

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