County Adopts Austere Budget, Keeps Tax Rate Level

$1.94 Million In Cuts Needed To Balance 1992 Spending Package

June 02, 1991|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff writer

Without discussion, the County Commissioners swallowed a final $1.94million in cuts and unanimously adopted an austere $115 million operating budget Thursday that maintains a $2.35 tax rate.

The fiscal 1992 budget is a 2.2 percent decrease compared to this year's $117.6 million budget, which has been reduced by slumping revenues.

The commissioners readily accepted the cuts proposed earlier in the week by the budget office to remedy the latest 1992 shortfall. Thebudget takes effect July 1.

"There were some areas I preferred not to see cut," said Commissioner Julia W. Gouge. "But, we knew we needed cuts to balance the budget."

Gouge said she was reluctant to trim $350,000 by leaving positions unfilled and another $350,000 from the land-acquisition fund.

Few new or expanded services and programs have been created.

But Gouge contends the county still can "move forward. It just means everyone will have to do a little more to make it work."

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy Jr. said each agency's budget was scrutinized closely, a practice that should continue.

"We'll come out of it leaner and tougher," he said.

The decline in income tax growth is expected to carry over into the fiscal 1993 budget, said Budget Director Steven D. Powell.

The Board of Education agreed to cut $550,000 from its 1992 proposal and to relinquish $300,000 to the general fund from its current operating budget to help the county balance its 1992 budget.

The school board had trimmed $555,429 from its 1991 budget to help reduce the county's current shortfall, which reached $6.4 million. The county agreed to give the money back to schools for 1992.

After the juggling, a $58.1 million education budget was approved, a 4.7 percent increase over

this year's $55.5 million plan. Over the previous four years, the county's contribution to the schools budget increased by an average of 15 percent.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said schools could save money through restructuring the insurance policy for 1992. He said he intends toprotect teaching positions -- including those for two

new elementary schools -- and will look to other non-salary items for additionalcuts.

Taxes on the typical $134,000 home will continue at $1,260.Property tax revenues are expected to increase by $4.8 million because of rising values.

The commissioners adopted a scaled-back $30.5million capital budget, a $20 million reduction compared to this year. Agencies requested more than $90 million when the process began last fall.

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