Carroll County budget director previews revenue picture, warns of pension impact from state

January 26, 2012

WESTMINSTER — The Board of County Commissioners this week opened its process for setting a budget for fiscal year 2013 with a review of the ups and downs of the local economy and their impact on the county.

In a Jan. 24 presentation, Ted Zaleski, director of Management and Budget, said there are signs of an economic recovery, but it has been slow and not strong enough to have a significant positive impact on the budget.

He told the commissioners that revenue projected for fiscal year 2012 is $2 million higher than originally budgeted, but property tax revenue, which is the largest contributor to the budget, is down 2 percent this year.

He said revenue projections for 2013 are expected to increase slightly — about $700,000 — but that's $4 million below earlier projections, and will mean that the county will have to adjust its six-year operating plan for FY 2013 and beyond as a result of the new, lower revenue projections.

Zaleski also said that proposals by Gov. Martin O'Malley are seeking to transfer some $239 million in pension obligations to the counties and Baltimore to cover teacher, library and community college employee pensions.

He said that represents about $7 million in additional expenses to Carroll County that may have to be absorbed in the budget — depending on whether that proposal is accepted in Annapolis.

The county budget process formally begins in early March with the staff's recommended budget, then the commissioners offer their proposed budget in April, and public hearings are held in May.

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