Ecker's question in budget hearing to be: What to exclude?

December 14, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

County Executive Charles I. Ecker will try again tonight to get started on the county's next budget.

Ordinarily, the county budget cycle begins each December with the executive asking residents and civic leaders what they would like to see included in the budget.

But tonight, the executive will be more interested in what can be excluded. Mr. Ecker will be looking for ideas that can save money yet still provide services.

The 7:30 p.m. public hearing in the county office building was to have been held last week, but was snowed out.

Mr. Ecker is expected to tell people attending tonight's hearing that next year's budget crisis will be worse than ever.

For the past three years, the county has received millions of dollars less than budgeted because of continuing cuts in state aid.

More are expected next year and there may be other state cuts beyond the $8 million slashed this year. The county will have to pay $7 million more in Social Security payments for library and school system employees in fiscal 1994.

In addition, the detention center is being expanded and two new schools, two new libraries, and a new police and fire department substation are almost completed. Together, they will add about $13 million to the county budget.

The news that the county will begin fiscal 1994 with a $20 million deficit and a shortage of revenue is not expected to change much of tonight's testimony, as a variety of interests plead for continued county funding.

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