HCC wants County Council to leave its 1994 budget intact

April 25, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

Harford Community College, reeling after several cuts in its operating budget over the past few years, has asked the County Council to spare the school's 1994 budget any reductions.

"We think the state could cut us again in fiscal 1994. I'm not optimistic," Richard J. Pappas, president of the college, told the seven-member council Thursday. "Leave our budget intact and I think we can start catching up to where the college should be."

The council has until May 31 to approve the county's budget. County departments and agencies, like HCC, are lobbying council members vigorously to leave their budgets intact.

That's because some council members, including President Jeffrey D. Wilson, have pledged to increase funding for the board of education by cutting other departments or agencies. The council can cut money from any budget but only increase the school system's budget.

"My gut feeling is that HCC's budget will stay pretty much where it is," said Councilwoman Susan Heselton, a District A Republican. But she said the council has to look at every department or agency's budget before making decisions.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann agreed to give the college $5.9

million, about $230,000 less than HCC had requested, in fiscal 1994, which begins July 1.

That's about $784,000 more than the county gave the college this year. The increase includes $350,000 to cover Social Security for its employees -- a cost the state always paid until this year.

The increase also includes about $385,000 for a wage package that includes 3 percent cost-of-living raises for its 225 full-time employees.

The college gave employees a 3 percent raise this year but was forced to rescind half after heavy criticism from the council and Mrs. Rehrmann. No other county employees got cost-of-living increases this year.

Mr. Pappas said the state has pledged about $4.6 million, about $100,000 less than requested. The college expects another $6 million from student tuition and fees. The college's operating budget for next year would be about $16.9 million, compared to this year's budget of $16.2 million.

Mr. Pappas told the council the college would not raise tuition this year but might raise some fees to help pay for replacing equipment. HCC, citing state budget cuts, raised tuition for students this year to about $56 per credit hour from $43. He said the college had not yet decided by how much to raise the fees.

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