Rehrmann Spending Plan Includes No Pay Increases

March 29, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

If you're a county government or public school employee, don't expect a raise come July.

That's about the most definite comment CountyExecutive Eileen M. Rehrmann and her top administrator would make about the budget proposal scheduled to be presented to the County Council this week.

In short, the proposed operating and capital budgets will be slimagain this year.

Larry Klimovitz, director of administration, said the only big items to be covered by the proposed 1992-1993 capital budget proposal are new schools, the expansion of the Sod Run wastewater treatment plant near Perryman and the cost of building a tap intoBaltimore's "Big Inch" aquaduct.

And the operating budget won't change much from the current one.

While the budget proposes county employees and public school workers go another year without raises, Klimovitz said that shouldn't be looked at askance.

"The good news is we haven't done furloughs, we haven't done layoffs. We've kept everybody working, and that was our first pledge," said Klimovitz.

"We think that's pretty damn good. If it all works out, then we played our cards well."

The executive and her administrators refused to provide specifics about the contents of the proposed budget, to be presented to council members Wednesday.

But Klimovitz said the proposed operating budget for next year likely will be about 1 percent higher than the current year's $141.2 million budget.

He said the capital budget, which pays for major construction projects such as schools, will likely stay close to this year's $13.1 million capital budget.

Education, which makes up 53 percent of the county's operating budget this fiscal year, is expected to be receive a slightly higher percentage of the 1993 operating budget, said Klimovitz. He declined to be more specific.

The Harford Board of Education is seeking $81.2 million from the county -- an amount that includes money to give public school employees wage step increases and an across-the-board 3 percent raise.

The board's total budget proposal, which also includes money from the state, is $155 million.

While education will geta little more money, that doesn't mean the schools' or any other department's wish list can be met.

The county's boom years are over, and the county can expect less in state aid, Klimovitz said.

Putting together the county's operating budget has been an exercise in educated guesswork, Klimovitz said, because the county still has no ideahow much, if any, state money will be forthcoming.

Harford is better prepared on the capital improvement side of the budget, Klimovitzsaid, because the county will use its good credit rating to borrow money to pay for several proposed projects.

The county already has borrowed $3.6 million on the bond market to pay for its share of building three new schools.

That money, borrowed this spring, will be counted toward the total $10.2 million Rehrmann wants the county to borrow in fiscal 1993.

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