Annapolis cuts overtime spending by nearly half

Police, fire, public works departments limit extra pay in face of budget crisis

August 14, 2010|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

The city of Annapolis has cut its overtime spending by nearly half in the first month of the new fiscal year, city officials announced.

Overtime spending in July was 48 percent under budget. Of the $149,340 budgeted for overtime in July, city departments spent $77,050.

Mayor Joshua J. Cohen pointed to the spending decrease as evidence of his management skills. Facing an unprecedented budget crisis, Cohen created a task force earlier this year to reduce overtime expenditures.

"We are fostering a new culture of accountability at City Hall, and July's overtime numbers are a promising indicator of this administration's ability to manage within the new budget," said Cohen in a statement. "The budget is incredibly tight, and in order to meet our year-end targets we are closely monitoring all expenses on a monthly basis. We still have 11 months to go before the end of the fiscal year, but I am encouraged that we are starting the fiscal year on track to meet our year-end targets."

Alderwoman Classie Hoyle, head of the city council's finance committee, could not be reached for comment.

In July, the Police Department spent $29,317 in overtime, coming in $36,520 under budget, and the Fire Department spent $15,097, coming in $22,481 under budget.

For the previous fiscal year, which ended in November, the Police Department led in the amount of overtime, spending $711,000, or 73 percent of its overtime budget. The city Fire Department was second, spending $229,000, or 51 percent; transportation spent $135,000, or 88 percent; and the Department of Public Works spent $60,000, or 45 percent.

Tasked with closing a $9 million budge deficit, Annapolis' $75.1 million operating budget for fiscal year 2011 reduced the previous year's budget by 13 percent — a larger decrease than any other municipality in the state.

Despite steep budget cuts, the city has struggled to maintain its cash flow. Last month, Cohen asked the council to double the amount of money the city can borrow, from $10 million to $20 million.

If passed, it would be the second time that the city raised the credit limit since Cohen became mayor in December. Earlier this year, the council approved an increase from $3 million to $10 million.

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