Baltimore County Council approves $2.56 billion budget

FY 2011 plan cuts spending, does not increase taxes

May 27, 2010|By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore County Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve a $2.56 billion budget that members said would maintain services without increasing taxes.

The budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 cuts overall spending by more than 4 percent, but includes slight increases for education, police and fire.

Officials say newly negotiated union contracts will save the county about $16 million in 2011. Unions representing the county's 8,000 workers have agreed to forgo cost-of-living raises for the next two years and contribute more to pensions in exchange for job security; under the deals, workers may not be laid off or furloughed.

While some technology improvements were delayed, the council did include money for computerizing the records and operations of the county's Animal Control Division.

"In times of recession, it is not a choice to be fiscally responsible," council Chairman John Olszewski said. "The revenues to do otherwise are just not there, and local government officials must think long and hard before shifting the burden of diminishing revenues to their financially strapped citizens."

The budget is the last for four of the council's seven members and County Executive James T. Smith Jr., all of whom are leaving office at the end of the year.

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