Preliminary budget nears $1 million

New procedures make proposal seem larger

September 14, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Crofton's town manager was to present to the civic association and residents last night a preliminary budget of nearly $1 million that calls for a raise for the police chief, better landscaping and more hours for a comptroller.

The $926,473 budget is a first step in a several-month process that ends in January with a community vote. The budget then goes to the county to be included in its fiscal year 2001 budget. Although the budget includes no controversial proposals, it is significantly higher -- by about $300,000 -- than previous ones submitted for public approval because of new budgeting procedures outlined by the county.

Reserve funds, once listed among community assets, and revolving funds, used to fund the government during the span between July, when the fiscal year begins, and October, when the civic association receives its tax revenue, are listed as line items on the budget.

"It will appear because the county has directed us to include that and budget it," said Barbara Swann, the town manager.

Without those reserve funds, the proposed budget of $624,588 would be a 3.95 percent increase over this fiscal year's budget of $600,849.

A second proposal, which includes a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Crofton tax district employees, would bring the total to $632,924 without the reserve funds. That would be a 5.34 percent increase over this fiscal year's budget.

Among the projects included in the proposed budget are:

A $1,000 increase in bonus pay for the police chief.

A new line item of $2,000 to buy and install police equipment.

$11,900 more for a maintenance contract and to add landscaping for Crofton Woods.

$4,459 to increase the comptroller's weekly hours from 25 to 30.

$3,000 for performance awards

$1,500 more for recreational activities.

Budget hearings will be held each week in October.

In addition to settling the tax district's budget, the civic association will tackle its own. The procedures outlined by the county required that the association pay for services such as financial reports, bill-paying, mailing letters and helping write grant proposals, all jobs that Town Hall employees once did as part of their jobs.

The result is that several line items in the preliminary budget, totaling $5,050, are not funded.

"Those things [currently] are combined into the tax district," Swann said. "We either have to reimburse the tax district or find other ways to do it."

Gayle Sears, civic association president, said the deficit probably will be overcome by fund raising or by turning over the responsibilities to volunteers.

"Instead of the paid staff doing a lot of the clerical work, it will have to revert back to the volunteers from the community," she said. "We will have to take a look at whether we can afford to give away the DARE [anti-drug] T-shirts anymore. We've got to make sure we've got balances" in the budget.

Pub Date: 9/14/99

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