Mt. Airy Underwrites Full Cost Of Troopers

Proposed Budget Allocates$240,000 For Program

April 19, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

MOUNT AIRY — The town council has proposed a $1 million budget that would cover the full cost of four resident troopers without a tax increase.

Because the council prepared the budget while the legislature was in session and state money for the resident trooper program was in doubt, "we went with the worst-case scenario," Councilman Marcum N. Nance said.

The council budgeted $240,000 to cover the cost of salaries, vehicles and gas for the troopers, Mayor Gerald R. Johnson said. Last year, the town paid $180,000 for the protection and the state paid the remaining 25 percent, he said.

The proposed budget for fiscal 1992-1993 is $1,015,900, $5,506 less than the current fiscal year's budget. The town's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

The town taxrate is 60 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Even without an increase, the town will collect $39,100 more in property taxes thanlast year because of higher property values.

Last year, the town collected $453,900 in real and personal property taxes. This year, the council estimated it will collect $493,000.

The owner of a $130,000 house -- the average cost of a Carroll home -- -- will pay $312 in town and $1,222 in county property taxes. The town rate has not changed in three years.

"We flat-out didn't even discuss raising taxes," Johnson said. He said he hoped that would "soothe" residents whose property tax assessments increased recently.

Even if assessmentshadn't increased, Johnson said, "I would've been very hardheaded about raising taxes."

Council President R. Delaine Hobbs said, "We'redoing everything we can to maintain the tax rate."

Because of budget shortfalls at the county level, the town will receive about $11,000 less next year from Frederick and Carroll counties.

The proposed budget does not give raises to town employees.

The mayor said the council could change that, but Nance said Gov. William Donald Schaefer has urged, for the second straight year, that municipalities not raise salaries.

The council proposed paying $228,396 in salaries for the coming fiscal year, the same amount paid in the current year.

To have money for the resident trooper program, cuts were made from many departments, council members said.

Money for road equipmentand repairs and park and recreation projects was cut, Johnson said.

A $20,000 grant from the state's open space fund, however, will allow the town to build a tennis court on Prospect Road across from theAmerican Legion Post 191, he said.

And $35,000 left from the current year will be used to repair the intersection of Ridge Road and Ridgeville Boulevard near the Mount Airy Shopping Center, said Nance, who oversees the streets and roads department.

Councilman William E. Wagner Jr. said he hopes residents will recycle to help reduce the town's cost to dump waste at landfills. Carroll has proposed raising its tipping fee from $15 to $40 a ton and Frederick plans to increaseits fee, he said.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for 7:30 p.m. April 30 at the Town Hall.

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