Residents get chance to discuss budgets

Hearing set on plans totaling $274 million

May 06, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The county commissioners will hold a public hearing this evening on the proposed $274 million operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2000, which begins July 1.

Residents will be invited to comment on the commissioners' budget proposal. The operating budget would increase by 5 percent to $193 million. The capital budget would increase from $47 million to $81 million. The $34 million in capital funding increases would be for public schools and road construction.

The proposal doesn't call for tax increases.

Soon after they took office, the commissioners expressed concern that county road construction had not kept pace with Carroll's needs -- particularly in the Freedom Area, which includes South Carroll's 28,000 residents.

The proposed budget calls for the construction of seven roads in Eldersburg and Sykesville that would divert traffic from congested Routes 26 and 32. Among the top priorities are the extensions of Macbeth Way, Dickenson Road, Obrecht Road and Piney Ridge Parkway. All four would parallel Route 26.

Also included in the proposed budget is a 5.08 percent increase in funding for schools. The additional $92.4 million would be used to reduce class sizes and pay for planning time for elementary school teachers.

The commissioners, who must approve a budget by May 26, have also earmarked money for economic development through national marketing of the county. Businesses provide slightly less than 12 percent of Carroll's tax base -- the lowest business-to-residential ratio in the region.

The budget hearing is to begin at 7: 30 p.m. in the Westminster High School auditorium, 1225 Washington Road.

Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing must register in the school lobby. Registration is to start at 7 p.m.

Copies of the proposed budgets and summaries of the document have been printed and are available from the county Department of Management and Budget, in the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster. Residents may also see the publications at public library branches.

Information: 410-386-2082.

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