Budget Review Sessions Short On Both Money And Expectations

March 18, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

Commissioner President Donald Dell seemed to sum up the county's ongoing budget review process best: conservative.

"Everyone who has come in here has been very conservative this year," Dell said Monday during review of the Planning Department's proposed budget.

It's been conservative in more than just budget submissions.

Presentations have been short. Questions have been few. Laughs have been fewer.

Conservatism took a back seat briefly yesterday -- St. Patrick's Day -- when Commissioners Dell and Elmer Lippy included green in their attire.

Even the occasional request for more money has been minimal.

Carroll County States Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, for instance, told the commissioners Monday he may be back for $500 more -- to partially fund a training program in trial work and other areas for employees.

The program, formerly funded by the state, was eliminated by the governor.

The request came during a review of theState's Attorney's Office's proposed $809,710 spending plan for fiscal 1993, which begins July 1. The spending plan is 4.4 percent more than the revised 1992 budget.

Hickman attributed the $34,355 increase to more money earmarked for salaries. The office, he said, has budgeted an assistant state's attorney position at a salary of $32,600.

Submitted with Hickman's budget were two other spending plans. Victim Witness Assistance is seeking $64,875 -- 9.7 percent more than the revised 1992 budget. The recommended non-support program's budget is $174,720 -- 1.5 percent more than the revised 1992 budget.

In submitting a proposed $713,400 spending plan, Circuit Judge Raymond Beck said the $32,000 recommended for per diem and other related costs for jurors would not be enough next year.

So far this year the court has spent about $26,000 for jurors and expects the amount to climb above $40,000 before the fiscal year ends June 30. The court sought $40,000 for the next fiscal year.

"Chances are we'll be coming backfor (more money)," Beck said.

The rising costs associated with jurors, he said, can be attributed to more trials stemming from an 18 percent rise in crime in the county during the past year. Five murdersalso took place in the county.

The court's spending proposal is 19.9 percent more than the revised 1992 budget. The bulk of the $118,570 increase is needed for bailiff hours to man metal detectors and maintain court security.

Included separately with the Circuit Court budgets were a $78,875 spending plan -- 0.6 percent more than the current revised budget -- for the Volunteer Community Service Program; and a $132,645 spending plan for the Juvenile Master, the same as the current revised budget.

Edmund R. Cueman, Department of Planning director, asked the commissioners to restore $5,000 to his agency's proposed $591,375 spending plan to hire college interns. The figure is 3.7 percent less than the current revised budget.

The department'srecommended budget has no money for interns.

Assistant director K. Marlene Conaway said interns have been used for various projects, including the watershed plan for Gillis Falls, land use and mapping and research into soil types.

The interns, undergraduate and graduate students from Carroll, are paid $5 an hour and work a 37.5-hour week.

Also submitted this week were the remainder of program budgets within the Public Works Department's proposed $7.76 million spending plan. They included:

* Building construction, which submitted a proposed $175,005 spending plan -- 1.5 percent more than the revised current budget.

* Building services, which has proposed a $2.43 million spending plan -- 1.6 percent more than the revised 1992 budget.

* Roads operation, which has proposed a $3.2 million spending plan -- 2.7 percent more than the revised current budget.

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