$200,000 shift to education vetoed as illegal by Rehrmann

June 02, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

Claiming the Harford County Council illegally shifted money from another agency to education, Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann invoked a line-item veto yesterday.

Mrs. Rehrmann vetoed the council's 4-3 decision to move to education $200,000 that had been earmarked to cover a projected shortfall in a solid-waste fund. The council's move, she said, violated the county charter.

Under the charter, the council can boost education spending by cutting elsewhere but cannot tamper with the executive's revenue estimates, and the administration said that estimated shortfalls are included.

"It's the county executive's job to uphold the charter provisions," Mrs. Rehrmann said. "Otherwise, we would have chaos in the budget process."

Jeffrey D. Wilson, council president, said Mrs. Rehrmann had exaggerated the shortfall in the solid-waste fund. The county easily could afford more money for education, he said. "This action shows the contempt that Mrs. Rehrmann has for the council," Mr. Wilson said. "She treats us like a group of rowdy schoolchildren that somehow she was elected to whip into shape."

The executive also vetoed the council's shifting of $50,000 to education from $4.6 million earmarked for the Harford Detention Center expansion. She said she worried that matching funds from the state might be withheld if the county money were delayed.

The council had voted Thursday night to shift $250,000 to education so the school system could upgrade part-time assistant principals to full-time assistant principals at 11 elementary schools.

Mr. Wilson said he's unsure how the school system could afford the upgrades unless the council overturns the veto, an action that would require five votes.

The $163 million budget, which the council unanimously adopted Thursday, increases spending nearly 10 percent and gives 5,000 county employees raises while maintaining the current property tax rate.

The council last night delayed until Monday evening an attempt to overturn the veto.

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