Commissioners start review of budget $3.4 million in cuts needed to balance

February 05, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The Carroll commissioners' first three budget reviews yesterday were easy: One agency requested less money than last year, one asked for the same amount and the third only

$32,345 more.

The overall budget process won't be as simple. The commissioners must cut about $3.4 million in requests from the county's operating budget for fiscal year 1994, which begins July 1.

County agencies have asked for $128,158,080, but revenues are projected to be only $124,779,695.

The requests for the budget, scheduled to be adopted in late May, come to $8.4 million more than the current year's budget of $119.7 million.

Yesterday, the commissioners began a series of public meetings with agency directors.

They heard requests from the Humane Society, the Department of Social Services and Human Services Programs Inc., all of which also receive money from sources outside the county.

Here are details about the requests:

* Humane Society:

The agency requested $382,610 from the county, $32,345 more than the current year. That includes $28,000 for a new animal control van needed to replace a van with high mileage.

"It's a bare-bones types budget," Director Carolyn "Nicky" Ratliff said.

The county pays for the Humane Society's basic operation, and private donations pay for any extras, she said.

Animal control officers have cut back patrols because Commissioner Donald I. Dell does not favor them and to save on gasoline costs, Ms. Ratliff said.

Patrols have been reduced by about one-third, which means the agency collected about $7,000 less in fines last year than it did three years ago, she said.

Money the Humane Society collects for fines and license and shelter fees is returned to the county, she said. The agency is expected to generate $66,500 in the coming fiscal year.

* Department of Social Services:

The agency requested $125,910 from the county, the same as the current year. It administers state and federal programs with a total budget of about $5 million.

Director M. Alexander Jones said the county's contribution is "pivotal" and allowed the department to hire staff in the foster care unit that resulted in more adoptions.

* Human Services Programs Inc.:

The nonprofit corporation that operates the county's homeless shelters requested $566,760 from the county, which is $19,280 less than the current year.

County money is about 23 percent of the agency's budget.

Director Sylvia Canon praised the commissioners for their help in the past year, which included free office space in the Barrel House.

"We appreciate all you do for us," she said.

"All we've done is what's good to do," Mr. Dell said.

HSP has unmet needs, but Ms. Canon said she didn't ask the county for more money because she knows the money isn't there.

Private donations to HSP were up 81 percent from 1991 to 1992 because of a plea for money for the shelters, she said.

HSP still is waiting to hear whether it will receive a state grant to operate the family shelter, Ms. Canon said. A $32,000 anonymous donation kept the shelter open last year after Gov. William Donald Schaefer said no to the grant, she said.

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