Officials oppose cuts in planning Budget proposals would cost agency seven jobs, they say

'We need the people'

Commissioners told losses would curtail building inspections

March 22, 1996|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

Proposed budget cuts to Carroll County's Planning and Development Department would mean the loss of seven jobs and would severely curtail zoning and building inspections and other services, county officials said last night.

"I have a wish list," Joe Mettle, a planning commission member, told the County Commissioners at a budget hearing at the

Agricultural Center in Westminster.

"Being on the planning commission, we depend on the staff a great deal," he said. "Try not to cut them. We need the people."

Mr. Mettle and other officials said eliminating the positions, which include a planner, development review coordinator, ground water technician, zoning inspector, permits inspector and clerical posts, would hinder each office's efforts to serve the public, the planning commission and staff, and burden inspectors and technicians with clerical duties.

"You can't rush an inspection," said Greg Dorsey, president of the county chapter of the Home Builders Association, urging the commissioners not to eliminate money for a building inspector. "We've never had a question of honesty or integrity in Carroll County."

Under the county's so-called "working papers," or budget-cutting proposals, offices within the Planning and Development Department would face cuts ranging from $1,675 to $29,095 in fiscal 1997, which begins July 1.

The Office of Environmental Services and the Bureau of Water Resources Management would lose $49,870 and $25,785, respectively.

The proposed cuts are part of a broad package of budget-trimming measures being considered by the commissioners. Sluggish property and income tax revenues have forced them to trim $5 million from the county's budget in fiscal 1997 or find additional revenue.

Budget officials estimated that up to 103 county and county-funded jobs in nonprofit agencies could be eliminated because of the cuts. Officials said most would be reduced through attrition.

The commissioners last week began a series of unprecedented evening hearings to learn the impact of the proposed cuts on departments and agencies.

The county's Public Works Department would see its budget reduced by more than $1 million under the cost-cutting proposals.

Michael Evans, public works director, said last night that the proposed reductions would mean less money for snow removal, fewer vehicles purchased for the county's fleet and fewer contracts for road projects.

He recommended that the commissioners place a proposed reduction in funding for snow removal of $100,000 in a contingency fund and cut the money if next winter is not as severe as this one.

"Snow removal is anybody's guess," Mr. Evans said.

Nursing students from Carroll Community College urged the commissioners to restore a $35,000 tuition supplement program that pays for tuition for them to attend classes in the nursing program at Catonsville Community College.

Hearings on proposed cuts to the Agricultural Extension Office and Soil Conservation District will be held today. The hearings conclude tomorrow with officials from Carroll Transit, the state's attorney's office and the Recreation and Parks Department expected to detail the impact of proposed cuts to their programs.

Pub Date: 3/22/96

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