Carroll budget director expects modest tax-revenue growth Increase of 5.5% to 6% called possible for fiscal year 1994

January 21, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll County should enjoy modest growth in revenues in the next fiscal year, the county budget director says.

"We are seeing stronger growth in income taxes than we have in the past two years," said Steven D. Powell, who discussed the budget process with the commissioners Tuesday.

He estimated that Carroll will experience a 4.5 percent to 5 percent increase in income tax revenues in fiscal 1994, which begins July 1, compared with fiscal 1993, he said.

The next distribution of income tax revenues from the state will come in February.

With growth in other areas, such as property taxes and various fees, the county could see overall revenue growth of 5.5 percent to 6 percent, Mr. Powell said.

Carroll officials are in the midst of preparing a budget for the coming fiscal year. Mr. Powell's staff is reviewing budget requests submitted by departments and agencies.

The commissioners asked county officials not to submit requests that exceed those of last year.

Around Feb. 1, Mr. Powell will meet with the commissioners and give them an overview of the requests.

In February and March, the commissioners will sponsor a series of public meetings with department and agency officials to discuss their requests. The budget office will discuss its recommendations, and agencies will respond, Mr. Powell said.

The officials will talk about any disagreements they have with the budget office's recommendations and will explain any changes in their offices and needs for more equipment and personnel, he said.

In late March and early April, the commissioners will meet with Mr. Powell and his staff to draft a proposed budget.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 13.

The budget will be adopted at the end of May and take effect July 1.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he wants all budget meetings to be open to the public.

In the past, some of the work sessions in late March and early April, in which the commissioners "whittled down" the budget, were closed. Department heads, who did not attend the work sessions, often learned about proposed cuts from the press instead of from the commissioners when the meetings were open to the public, Mr. Powell said.

Employees did not like hearing the news from reporters. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said, "It hurt them."

Mr. Lippy said he would ask for a vote on the subject at a future meeting because Commissioner Donald I. Dell attended a Planning Commission meeting Tuesday and was absent from the meeting with Mr. Powell.

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