Keno loss would hurt County would forgo $3.5 million in aid

February 25, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The county's chief administrative officer told the County Council last night that if the state legislature kills keno, Anne Arundel would lose $3.5 million in state aid next fiscal year.

The loss of keno would cause a $100 million gap in next year's state budget, Dennis Parkinson, the chief administrative officer, said. As a result, local governments would lose $40 million to $50 million in state aid, he said.

"Under that scenario, we are looking again at about a $3.5 million cut in local aid" to the county, he said.

A state Senate committee voted Monday to kill the keno game, although the House of Delegates is not expected to follow suit.

Mr. Parkinson's comments came at a public hearing on County Executive Robert R. Neall's reorganization plan.

Council members allowed speakers to talk about the proposed layoffs of more than 100 county employees as a result of the reorganization and moving the maintenance functions of the Parks and Recreation Department into Public Works.

Council members also got a warning from Mr. Parkinson that the reorganization is the first step in cuts in next fiscal year's budget. He said the cuts are necessary as the result of the property tax cap and the county's assumption of $15.3 million in Social Security payments for teachers, librarians and community college employees.

The property tax cap will cost the county $10 million in lost revenue.

He told the council last week that if the consolidation plan is approved, 75 to 100 positions would be cut, saving about $3 million. Two hundred to 250 positions would be cut when the restructuring is complete, saving $8 million to $10 million.

Many of those who addressed the council last night denounced layoffs.

"If one person loses their job, it is one person too many," said Irene Huster, a county employee speaking for Local 2563 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "We have money," she said. "We gave over $150,000 to activities associated with the arts. Where are our priorities?"

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