Ruppersberger says deficits probably mean no raises

January 13, 1995|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

With projected deficits through next year totaling $19 million, there probably won't be general pay raises for Baltimore County's 19,000 employees in fiscal 1996, County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III said yesterday.

"Based on the deficits, at this point, we won't have money for a pay raise," he said after a meeting with department heads yesterday.

County workers have had one general pay increase in the last four years -- a 4 percent election-year raise granted last year by then-County Executive Roger B. Hayden.

Budget Director Fred Homan has projected a $3.9 million deficit to be made up by the end of the fiscal year, and another $15 million shortfall is looming for next fiscal year.

County union leaders, all of whom backed Mr. Ruppersberger for election last year, have heard his prediction, but some still hope for a revenue upturn before the executive's first budget comes out in mid-April. Fiscal 1996 begins July 1.

But none are pushing him to raise the property tax rate to finance pay raises, and all say they don't mind the bad news as much coming from Mr. Ruppersberger as they did when it came from Mr. Hayden.

"I can take this bad news from Dutch a lot better than I could from Roger Hayden," said Edward M. Pedrick Jr., president of Local 921 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Mr. Pedrick said he and other union leaders feel they can trust Mr. Ruppersberger and praised him for showing them county financial figures, instead of just telling them there is no money.

He noted that Mr. Ruppersberger also has said there will be no layoffs.

"We're optimistic" that newer state revenue estimates will show that more money is available, said L. Timothy Caslin, president of Lodge No. 4 of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Derek Propalis, president of Local 4883 of the Federation of Public Employees, and Ray Suarez, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said they remain hopeful that money can be found for raises.

"I believe revenue figures will increase," Mr. Propalis said.

"I was very impressed that he [Mr. Ruppersberger] laid all the figures out in front of us." Mr. Suarez said.

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