Craig proposes to cut Harford tax rate

No layoffs, furloughs or raises planned for county employees

April 01, 2010|By L'Oreal Thompson | The Aegis

Harford County Executive David R. Craig's proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 contains good news for county residents and mixed news for government employees.

For the first time in the 37-year history of Harford's charter government, property tax revenue would be kept at the constant yield rate, Craig said during a Wednesday news conference announcing the budget plan.

As a result, county residents can expect a 2-cent decrease in the real property tax rate, while total property tax revenue would stay at 2010 levels. The rate was cut 1.8 cents at the start of the current fiscal year.

The new tax rate proposed by Craig would be $1.044 per $100 of assessed property value outside the municipalities of Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace, where the new county rate will be $0.888 per $100 of assessed value.

The proposed budget does not include layoffs or furlough days for county employees and sheriff's deputies, but it also does not contain any pay increases.

In fiscal 2010, 34 county employees were laid off and all employees except deputies and emergency personnel were required to take five furlough days without pay.

The proposed operating budget for 2011 is $577.5 million compared with $576.6 million for the current fiscal year; the proposed 2011 capital budget is $112.7 million, down from $187.6 million in fiscal 2010.

Craig is proposing a 1.9 percent, or $8 million, increase in the general fund for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1.

That increase includes $2.7 million in added funding Craig has pledged to give to the school system above the $211 million it requested from the county. He wants the additional money to be used to avoid a pay cut for teachers and school employees.

The council is required to adopt the operating and capital budgets and set property tax rates by May 31.

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