Budget for council seeks little for new programs Fiscal '94 plan totals $1.6 million

January 15, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

In line with tight budgets of recent years, the Howard County Council's budget request for fiscal 1994 includes virtually no money for new programs.

The budget proposal for the council and its staff does call for 3.3 percent more money than the council sought in fiscal 1993. The $1.6 million request does not include money for salary increases.

Department heads are also expected to propose higher budgets with little or no new programs when they submit their proposals to the county executive Jan. 29.

As with the council, salary increases will not be included in the initial requests.

The council wants $10,000 in new money to microfilm its records and $5,000 to lease a copier in the last quarter of fiscal 1994.

To accomplish the microfilming, the part-time Zoning Board clerk would have to be hired full-time, which would cost an additional $18,000. If the full-time work is approved, the clerk would spend two days a week determining which items need to be microfilmed and in what order.

"Our records, both in storage and in our office, are getting out of hand," auditor Ronald S. Weinstein told the council.

Boxes of records crammed with 1,800 pieces of paper per box are starting to pile up in the council office, and there is no place where they can be safely stored, he said.

Eighty percent of the council request -- $1.3 million -- is for salaries and fringe benefits. The council is also seeking $180,050 for contractual services, $31,250 for supplies, $55,420 for business and educational expenses, $7,600 for capital outlays, and $46,330 for other operating expenses.

The council proposal allotted $63,320 for when it functions as the Liquor Board and $66,530 when it functions as the Zoning Board.

Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, wants the council to amend its request so that members' aides will receive the same salaries. Mr. Feaga's aide has worked at the council longer than any other, but has the second-lowest salary. Mr. Feaga objects that some aides are paid the maximum and believes that they should be paid less. He is not likely to win council support.

The county executive almost always accepts what the council proposes, but usually pares requests from other department heads.

Capital budget requests are forwarded to the Planning Board Feb. 1. The board holds public hearings on the requests and makes recommendations to the executive March 1.

The executive submits his capital budget proposal to the council April 1. He submits his operating budget proposal April 21.

The council approves the budget and sets the property tax rate in late May. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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