CAP wants aid to continue Budget proposal calls for $2,500 cut in air patrol funding

March 27, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Officers of Carroll County's Civil Air Patrol asked yesterday for continued financial support from Carroll County -- the only county in the state that still gives a direct contribution to these civilian volunteers.

The amount budgeted for the air patrol would drop from $7,500 to $5,000 in the next fiscal budget, as part of a three-year plan to eliminate financial support.

Steven D. Powell, county director of management and budget, said he was asked to take another look and to consider freezing the group's level of support.

The County Commissioners began meeting last week with department representatives to review the recommended budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Powell has proposed a $224 million spending plan: about $181 million for the operating budget, which is 7 percent more than this year, and about $43.7 million for capital projects, which is 15.4 percent less.

The meetings with the commissioners allow fine-tuning of the amounts that have been proposed for each agency.

Powell and his staff made their recommendations after meeting with the department heads to assess their requests and the county's ability to fund them -- assuming the property-tax rate remains at $2.62 per $100 of assessed value in this election year.

Speaking for the Civil Air Patrol, 1st Lt. Christian Ready and 2nd Lt. Frank Jarosinski asked the commissioners to continue funding at the same level -- then asked for a contribution toward the increased cost of a weeklong training encampment at Aberdeen in July. Their cost has increased from $60 to $110 each.

"If you could possibly subsidize some of that," Jarosinski said. "We will be there representing the Carroll County squadron."

About 25 of their 30 cadets had planned to go. In addition to first aid, Jarosinski said the training will include working with Army and National Guard aircraft.

Ready said the patrol can fly its Cessna 172 for about $40 an hour, compared with several hundred dollars for a search-and-rescue helicopter. He said it is kept in a state of readiness 24 hours a day along with a much-traveled 1988 Jeep.

"Last year was a very quiet year for aeronautic accidents in Carroll County," he said, with one accident at the Clearview airfield. The patrol also assisted a search for a lost person. It also helped last year when the Eastern Shore was flooded and helped with security at a fighter-jet crash at a Baltimore County air show.

"We do all we can with what we have left. It means a lot of people digging into their own pockets," Ready said, noting that members buy their own uniforms.

In other departmental budget reviews yesterday morning, the commissioners heard from representatives of the Comptroller's Office, the Department of Human Resources and Carroll Community College.

Dr. Joseph F. Shields, college president, asked for an increase from $200,000 to $300,000 in the college's proposed capital budget to keep up with technology in computer software.

Comptroller Gene Curfman asked for a back-up receptionist to deal with walk-in traffic for payroll, water and sewer issues and about 800 deed requests a year.

"If the secretary's out, I end up answering the telephones," he said. "It's very interruptive."

Curfman said his office also is looking at a new computer system "to eliminate a lot of paperwork.

"With this new system, we can push a button, and it will list vendors available to get prices for that product. I think efficiency-wise, this is something that would really help the county for years to come, once you have all that information in the computer. We'll also be able to get into the Internet and buy off the Internet."

In their review of the Human Resources Department, the commissioners praised Beverly Billingslea for a proposed increase of 1.76 percent.

Her department covers general administration, including benefits for the county's 539 full-time employees, 166 outside-agency employees, and others. More than 800 people are in the health insurance plan, she said, noting the county has emphasized wellness and screening along with first-aid courses.

In the past year, Billingslea said, the county received 1,492 applications for employment and expects to receive about as many in 1998. The county offers 24 training programs.

Pub Date: 3/27/98

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