Crofton budget proposal exceeds a district cap Spending increase benefits workers WEST COUNTY Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

November 10, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Crofton's town manager proposed a budget last night that allows for promotions and other bonuses for the community's employees without increasing the property tax rate of 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

But the budget would raise spending by 7 percent and exceed the special tax district's 5 percent cap on budget increases.

The board of the Crofton Civic Association must either cut the proposal to get it under the cap or call a special town meeting to override that restriction.

Crofton officials tried to pass a budget that exceeded the 5 percent cap in January.

But only 50 voters showed up for the special meeting -- 25 shy of a quorum -- so the board had to cut $18,000 from the budget.

The plan Jordan Harding presented last night would increase spending in the next fiscal year from $532,000 to $570,000.

He said the budget keeps spending at an absolute minimum but gives employees new benefits, including a pension plan.

The tax district currently contributes $1,000 toward an individual retirement account (IRA) for each of its five police officers, the town manager, comptroller, administrative assistant and community counselor.

Under Mr. Harding's plan, the tax district would give each employee $2,000 to be invested in a retirement plan instead of making the IRA contribution. Individual employees then could invest their own money as they see fit.

"It's going to be a whole lot better than what we have now," Mr. Harding said.

As for raises, all 12 employees -- including part-timers -- would receive annual 2.9 percent cost-of-living increases.

But two police officers would get promotions from officer to a new department rank, private first class, and each of them would get a $600 raise.

There are no new major acquisitions planned. The largest line-item increase is the retirement plan, double the $9,000 that the tax district spent in the last fiscal year on IRA contributions.

Mr. Harding also asked for $3,230 for employee performance awards, or merit raises, some of which would be targeted for police officers who receive accolades from citizens.

"I feel that the time has come to give a great deal of consideration to our faithful and hard-working employees," Mr. Harding said.

The town manager said his budget can easily be reduced to get it under the 5 percent cap.

For example, a $4,000 expense for a water pump for Lake Louise and a $4,000 expense to upgrade the Town Hall phone system can be eliminated, he said.

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