Baltimore Co. revenue falls even shorter

December 05, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

In addition to a $27.4 million shortfall created by state ai cuts, Baltimore County now faces a $4.3 million deficit in its own revenues, County Executive Roger B. Hayden said yesterday.

Speaking to the County Council at an unannounced meeting, Mr. Hayden said he is two weeks away from deciding how to patch the $31.7 million hole in the current budget.

"We will be eliminating good programs, useful programs," he said, based on a comprehensive review of government services that has been under way for weeks. The warning echoed similar comments Mr. Hayden made Thursday to labor leaders in another unannounced meeting.

He refused to say whether any county workers would lose their jobs.

"I have no major options now to talk about," he told the council.

But Mr. Hayden did say that he won't offer workers early retirement, as he did last year, to reduce the payroll. He said that tactic, if employed again, would produce another "brain drain" that would damage county government because senior workers needed for their expertise are often the first to retire.

He also repeated that the county's so-called "rainy day fund," which totals $9.2 million, can't be used to offset budget cuts because it would endanger the county's credit rating with New York bond rating houses.

If this winter brings a lot of snow and ice, a $5 million surplus could be depleted by up to $1.5 million as well. On the other hand, he said the county could save $4.5 million by not filling job vacancies the rest of the year and from interest saved by the delay of $74.3 million in capital spending revealed Thursday.

The revenue picture is still cloudy, Budget Director Fred Homan said. Projections now show property tax revenues running $1.9 million below state estimates, while income tax revenues are up by $2.6 million.

But a $2.3 million gap is expected in real estate transfer and title tax revenues, and the county stands to come in $2.5 million low on miscellaneous fees, including municipal golf and cable TV income.

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