School board's budget keeps growing, while county workers...


April 21, 1996

School board's budget keeps growing, while county workers keep taking hits

I would like to start off by saying thank you to the Carroll County commissioners for making their budget work sessions open to the public. I was one of the very few who attended most of them.

These sessions gave me the opportunity to see the county's inner self, not just the other shell that is visible to everyone at first sight, but the inner workings that make it the entity that it is.

Carroll County government has been hit just like a lot of the programs that were represented in the budget work sessions, but we don't have the support that the libraries, 4-H, volunteer fire department, etc. do.

Employees of Carroll government have been taking the hits for the past 10 years, not only in benefits, but in numbers. We used to employ 715, now we're down to 630. While the county's population has risen, the number of workers serving that population has dropped. What's more, some people just don't realize the jobs we do, or have been doing all along, with a bare-bones staff.

In the past five years, Carroll government has grown just 2 percent, with the Board of Education growing 60 percent, while the population has grown by 20,000 people.

In the meantime, Carroll County government employees went without any kind of raise for two years (FY 1992-1993, FY 1993-1994), while Board of Education employees received raises, steps, tuition reimbursement and longevity increases. This year, not only are we going without a raise, but we will lose 45 positions.

In the two years we went without a raise, we understood the financial situation and we all dealt with it. But now the county is in the same situation again, and not only do we go without any kind of raise, but we are asked to work even more short-handed at a dangerously low staff level.

When we run out of services and county employees to cut, in order to fund the Board of Education, who is going to fix the roads, inspect the new houses, build the roads or do land searches, balance the budget, control growth, bring business into Carroll County, serve summonses, protect the courts, maintain the jails and the myriad other services county employees provide?

I don't want to sound like I am against the Board of Education. I would not want any child to go without a good and proper education. But something has to be done about the portion of the county budget that it receives. It is imperative that we ensure that all county agencies receive a fair and equitable amount of money to be able to maintain the highest level of service for the citizens.

County government expenditures are open to the public and the government can be held liable, accountable and responsible for every penny spent. Yet the Board of Education doesn't seem to want to submit to a complete audit. We have three commissioners to run the whole county, each of whom receives $32,000 a year. But the Board of Education's top administrators make three to four times that amount.

The job the commissioners have is not an easy one and it will not get any easier. I don't think they can expect any help from their delegation in Annapolis. I get this impression from that delegation's lack of presence at the budget work sessions, where they could have seen and heard the problems that the county faces.

In closing, I would like to thank Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown for his wit at the budget work sessions.

When the Board of Education administrators asked the commissioner to please replace the full amount of money for portable classrooms so that students would not have to be placed in closets and storage rooms, Mr. Brown asked them whether they didn't have room to place just one or two more desks in each classroom to help solve the financial shortfall. The Board of Education's answer was, "Yes, I guess we could."

Thank you, Mr. Brown, for being on top of the situation and standing up to the godfathers of our county.

Edward Bilz


The writer is president of Chapter 550 of the Maryland Classified Employees Association, representing Carroll County employees.

Commissioners: Manage growth, fulfill promise

In November 1994, the voters of Carroll County elected the Board of Commissioners based on a promise to control growth.

Again, in October 1995, at the 21st Century Conference, the citizens and local politicians emphasized their concern that current infrastructure could not support the rampant development taking place. Adequate facilities, particularly crowded schools, brought more than 600 residents out in opposition to a proposed apartment complex in Eldersburg.

Time and again, inadequate facilities have been the focal point of contention between the residential and development communities. Residents have made their desires both implicitly and explicitly clear. We need to manage growth.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.