Crofton Association Oks A 5% Increase In Budget

January 29, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

They debated everything from the amount of money spent on lawyers tohow much time their police officers really need to spend in court.

They questioned whether the community counselor needs to spend a lot of time consulting with other experts -- to the tune of $2,000 a year -- and how much money really is needed to fix what's broken at Town Hall.

But after about two hours Monday evening, the Crofton Civic Association passed its 1993 budget, a plan that increases spending just under 5 percent, reduces the tax rate 1 cent and eliminates the job of a part-time covenant enforcement officer.

The 13-member board thatgoverns the special tax district was forced to cut more than $18,000from the proposed $550,000 budget because it exceeded last year's budget by more than 5 percent. Any budget exceeding the 5 percent cap must be approved by the general membership. But not enough voters turned out for a hearing last week, forcing the board to make the cuts.

When Town Manager Jordan Harding first proposed the budget in November, he proposed a 12 percent increase in spending.

Harding's revised budget made minor adjustments for most municipal departments -- including cutting $100 in the furniture budget at Town Hall to $300 insupplies in the police department to $300 in the contingency fund.

The most heavily debated areas were police overtime, the consultantused by the community counselor and legal fees used for enforcing covenant violations.

After a review of police overtime, Harding saidhe could cut the amount budgeted from nearly $13,000 to $11,500.

Some board members, however, said it should be cut more, since countypolice are responsible for responding to all calls in Crofton and for writing reports.

But Comptroller Barbara Swann said the new police program, in which the Crofton force focuses on neighborhood patrols and other functions, could mean more court time. For instance, moreradar traps mean more speeding tickets, and going after more waywardjuveniles translates into more arrests.

A group of Crofton Orchards residents turned out for the meeting, intent on keeping at least $15,000 in the tax district's legal fund. The residents, plagued by covenant violations, maintain that more money means more clout in goingafter violators.

Harding's cuts would have reduced the amount of money the community counselor spends for consultants from $2,200 to $1,500 and the legal fund from $20,500 to $15,000.

The board, by a vote of 6-to-4, approved the plan but reduced the legal fund to $14,000 and added $500 for the consultants and repairs and maintenance to Town Hall. It also reduced the tax rate from 29 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 28 cents.

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