Birth of a budget starts Tuesday Sessions on personnel issues to be closed

April 02, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll commissioners on Tuesday will begin drafting a proposed county budget for fiscal year 1994, which starts July 1.

The meetings will be open to the public except when they deal with personnel issues, Commissioner Donald I. Dell said.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy advocated in February that all budget meetings be open, but the other two commissioners and Budget Director Steven D. Powell disagreed.

Mr. Dell said yesterday that he did not want to discuss personnel issues in public.

The commissioners finished reviewing agency and department budgets yesterday. During the past two months, the commissioners had public meetings with each department and agency director to discuss budget requests.

The commissioners are expected to have to cut $3.4 million from budget requests that agencies have submitted for fiscal 1994.

County agencies have requested $128,158,080, but revenue is expected to be only $124,779,695.

The budget will be adopted by the end of May.

Yesterday, the commissioners reviewed the recommended Department of Public Works budget, which is 3.1 percent higher than the department's current budget.

The county has recommended a department budget of $7,981,560, which is $239,645 higher than the current budget.

County budget analyst Gary Horst said the county can't continue to cut the public works budget and still adequately take care of roads and buildings.

With the recommended budget, Carroll actually would be spending about $200,000 less in fiscal 1994 than six years ago, he said.

If 1994 dollars were deflated, the department's budget would be $6.3 million, Mr. Horst said. In 1988, the department budget was $6.5 million.

The department also is maintaining 30 more miles of roads and eight more buildings than it was six years ago, he said.

"We're spending less money," Mr. Horst said.

The recommended roads budget is $3.2 million for fiscal 1994, or $64,670 more than the current budget. The budget includes a request for $84,000 with which to buy an air compressor and two tractors with mowers.

The county has six mowers now, but it needs more to keep county land in shape, said Benton Watson, chief of the Bureau of Road Operations.

"We're lucky to get around twice a year" in the South Carroll area, he said. "We're having tremendous problems keeping caught up."

The department also has asked for $68,000 to hire about eight seasonal workers to help with spring and summer mowing. The budget office did not recommend that the commissioners allocate money to hire the workers.

The recommended budget for snow removal for fiscal 1994 is $539,860. Mr. Horst said that the county will spend about $650,000 to pay for cleanup for this year's storm.

The average annual cost for snow removal during the past six years has been $500,000, he said.

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