This is the year the budget crisis in Annapolis trickles down to local governments in ways that could profoundly change the quality of life in metropolitan Baltimore. Until now, county legislators have managed to reconcile the books by freezing salaries, trimming services and in a few extreme cases, laying off employees. The forthcoming fiscal surgery, though, will hit bone.
Aid from Annapolis is being cut back substantially, slicing deeply into programs, services and jobs. The counties are likely to scale back social services, road maintenance, snow removal and possibly even trash collection. In Baltimore County, for example, police officers will spend less time cruising in patrol cars to cut costs. In Carroll County, planners are proposing a 44 percent cut in the fiscal 1993 construction program.
Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall has put workers on notice that cost of living increases aren't in the cards. Worse, he's hinted that if the county takes the local aid hit now being proposed by Gov. William Donald Schaefer for the current fiscal year -- $14.9 million -- entire programs and staffs could be eliminated.