WESTMINSTER — The Carroll County Charter Review Commission last night began the complex task of reviewing the fiscal duties of a new government.
Thenine-member board writing a charter for that government reviewed butdid not take action on proposed "budget and finance" provisions drafted by a subcommittee.
"This is a very detailed and complicated (provision)," said Charles O. Fisher Sr., subcommittee chair.
In drafting the budget provisions, Fisher said the subcommittee met with county fiscal officials,and reviewed the financial provisions of Harford's charter (because the county's population is comparable to Carroll's) and aspects of other county charters.
County Budget and Management Department officials are expected to review the provisions and meet with the charter board next week to make comparisons.
"Whether we have a charter ordon't have a charter, we don't want to mess up a good finance system," Fisher said, explaining why the subcommittee wants to hear from Carroll budget officials.
In addition, Fisher said there were provisions the subcommittee -- which also consisted of Jon Buck and V. Lanny Harchenhorn -- didn't feel comfortable making decisions on without the input of the whole board.
Detailed in the budget and finance provision are procedures for annual budget submissions, the budget approval process, which includes at least two public hearings, levying of property taxes, transfer of appropriations and emergency appropriations.
Members agreed that language in an article outlining the "tax levy and balanced budget," borrowed from Harford's charter, would limit the council's taxing authority. Harford's tax rate is tied to the Consumer Price Index and the county's population.
Board members also raised questions about other taxes the council could levy.
Buck said it was "premature" for the board to go over the provisions indetail without comment from county finance officials.
The board last night also received a report on general provisions for the charter and a subcommittee's proposal to create five council districts.
In previous weeks, the board:
* Voted to create a County Council that would have a minimum of five members and a maximum of seven. It still has not decided how many council members would be elected by district and how many would be elected at-large.
* Decided to have anappointed manager, rather than an elected executive head the government.
The committee is writing the document that could become the constitution for Carroll government and replace the current commissioner form. The panel intends to complete its work in time to place the charter on the November ballot as a referendum.