$634 million budgeted for Anne Arundel But 88 county employees would lose their jobs.

May 01, 1992|By Elise Armacost and Dennis O'Brien | Elise Armacost and Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writers Monica Norton contributed to this story.

Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall unveiled a $634 million spending plan today that he says does what he was elected to do -- slash the size of government.

But Mr. Neall's plan carries a price -- the jobs of 88 county workers.

A variety of employees, from file clerks to the county archaeologist to the county undersheriff, would be out of work July 1, when their positions are abolished.

County employees in departments targeted for layoffs said last night they had yet to be notified of the terminations.

Mr. Neall also proposes eliminating 50 unfilled positions in county government, the school system and libraries.

The proposed fiscal 1993 budget sets aside an unprecedented $10 million rainy day fund for emergencies, along with a $2 million fund balance.

Mr. Neall, who absorbed more than $20 million in state aid this year, said he needs the funds because he anticipates further cuts in state aid next year.

The spending plan represents a 6 percent increase in spending over the current $598 million budget, which was reduced midyear from $616.5 million as a result of the state cuts.

The proposal, which must be approved by the county council by June 1, keeps the state piggyback income tax rate at 50 percent and the property tax rate at $2.46 per $100, but property owners will still be paying more in taxes because of increased assessments.

The average tax bill for the owner of a $137,000 house is expected to go up from $1,200 this year to $1,350, said budget officer Steven E. Welkos.

Property taxes would account for 42 percent of budget revenues, 3 percent more than last year -- a fact sure to incur the wrath of property tax activists, who want the tax burden reduced.

The school system's proposed $348 million budget is $20 million less than the Board of Education's request, but Mr. Neall provided money for 93 new teachers to handle the 2,600 additional students expected for next year. Overall school funding increases 4.4 percent under the new spending plan.

JTC

"This budget is my best attempt to not raise class size," Mr. Neall said, adding that county workers were terminated so schools could be funded.

"Eighty county employees financed the additional 93 positions. We've paid a price, but I feel good, very good because that's the right thing to do."

But school board member Maureen Carr-York said Mr. Neall's decision to eliminate county positions was reached independently of any need to hire teachers.

"The allegation that 80 county employees being sacrificed to fund 93 teaching positions, it's ludicrous," Ms. Carr-York said. "It shouldn't have ever been said that way. To link the two is #F nonsense."

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