Budget cuts may hurt services, commissioners told County agencies' funding requests must be reduced by $3.4 million

February 26, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll government's bare-bones budget may cause problems for some departments in the coming fiscal year if certain jobs aren't filled, employees said at a budget meeting yesterday.

"This year, we'll be able to make it, but just barely," Catherine Rappe, chief of the Bureau of Water Resource Management, told the county commissioners.

Her office will need more staff to handle the increased workload expected when the county implements new standards to protect water supplies, she said.

Other supervisors asked the commissioners to fill secretarial positions that have been vacant for months.

"Our efficiency could definitely be enhanced if we had a secretary," said William E. Jenne, business development manager of the Office of Economic Development.

But the office could get along without the employee, he conceded.

"I feel we can accomplish our mission even with the cuts," Mr. Jenne said.

The commissioners heard requests from four agencies yesterday part of their budget review process. The budget for fiscal year 1994, which begins July 1, is scheduled to be adopted in late May.

The commissioners must cut about $3.4 million in requests made by agencies for the coming fiscal year.

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

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge asked supervisors yesterday if the government can maintain the services it provides on a bare-bones budget.

"We can do a basic mission of government," said Robert A. "Max" Bair, executive assistant and director of administrative services.

Mrs. Gouge said she is concerned that employees are being asked to do too much work.

The commissioners heard requests from the following agencies yesterday:

* Department of Administrative Services

This includes the Board of Zoning Appeals, the liquor board, land acquisition, cable TV office, tourism, communications, economic development, environmental services, water resource management and storm-water management.

County budget staff recommended a $1.3 million budget for the department, which is 3.6 percent less than the current year's budget.

"That's commendable," Commissioner Donald I. Dell said about the decrease.

One of the larger savings -- $32,770 -- comes because the director's position in the Office of Economic Development has been vacant since August.

* Department of General Services

This includes production and distribution services, the county's central warehouse, emergency services operations, permits and inspections, development review and fleet management.

Budget staff recommended a $4.6 million budget, which is 6.5 percent higher than the current fiscal year.

The largest increase -- $112,290 -- is in the emergency services operation budget for the 911 system, but all expenses for these services and equipment are reimbursed through the 911 fee residents pay.

The budget also includes $1,275 to send Permits and Inspections Bureau Chief Ralph E. Green to the national Building Officials and Code Administrators conference in New Jersey next year.

The item drew laughter from the commissioners and others at the meeting yesterday.

Last year, the commissioners accepted $500 from the county chapter of the Home Builders Association to help pay for Mr. Green's trip to the convention.

Earlier this month, the county Ethics Commission ruled that was a conflict of interest and said the commissioners should return the money.

* Junction Inc., a private, nonprofit corporation that provides drug abuse prevention and treatment services to residents.

The corporation asked the county for $52,835, the same amount it received last year.

Junction's total budget is $563,789; its other money comes from the state.

* Western Maryland Health Planning Agency, a state-chartered agency for five Western Maryland counties that allows elected officials, consumers and health providers to help plan health care in the county and state.

The agency asked the county for $23,740, the same amount it received last year.

The agency's total budget is $179,650. Other counties also contribute.

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