By Jim Joyner, email@example.com
9:19 PM EDT, April 25, 2013
A potential satellite Sheriff's Office in Eldersburg, a raise for county employees and $164 million for Carroll County Public Schools are all facets of the proposed operating and capital budgets presented Thursday by the Board of County Commissioners.
As proposed, the budget includes a pair of tax reductions. Business personal property taxes would drop 3 cents per $100 of assessed value — from $2.545 to $2.515 per $100; and income-tax rate would drop from 3.05 to 3.04 percent in 2014, with another reduction to 3.03 percent in 2015.
The budget allocates $163.5 million for public schools, with another $500,000 authorized to be used from a CCPS fund balance the previous year, for a total of $164 million. That amount is about $3 million above "maintenance of effort" — a standard that's based on school enrollment figures. In addition, the commissioners are proposing an additional $2 million of one-time money for CCPS technology.
Also related to schools — but not county public schools — is the establishment of a $400,000 Education Opportunity Fund, designed to help pay for supplies and other assistance for non-public school children.
Other features of the budget plan include:
• A 3 percent raise for county employees who have not had raises for five years.
• $55,000 to add Sunday hours at the Eldersburg Library from October to April.
• $30,000 to create a part-time Veterans Service Officer position.
• $100,000 for additional staffing in the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, and $60,000 to potentially rent space for the Sheriff's Department in Eldersburg.
• $100,000 for maintenance and preservation of some buildings at Union Mills Homestead.
• $5 million in FY 2014 to cover a shift in teacher pension costs from the state to the county.
The commissioners also noted that budget, if implemented as proposed, will mark a reduction of the county's outstanding debt of 16 percent since the board took office.
The plan was presented April 25 after the commissioners gave their approval earlier in the week in a 4-1 vote, with David Roush, Doug Howard, Richard Rothschild and Haven Shoemaker in favor and Robin Frazier opposing.
That vote essentially gives the board's blessing for the package to move to the public review stage. In coming weeks, the county will host a series of community meetings, a public hearing and then a vote in May to formally adopt the plan. Some changes may be made along the way.
The first community meeting will be held Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Eldersburg Library.
Additional sessions, all at 7 p.m., are April 29 at the County Office Building in Westminster; April 30 at the Taneytown Senior and Community Center; May 1 at North Carroll Library; and May 2 at the Mount Airy Library.
The public hearing will be May 6, 7 p.m., at Carroll Community College, Westminster. Then, after a series of work sessions, the commissioners will vote on the budget May 28 at the County Office Building. All meetings are open to the public.
For details, go to ccgovernment.carr.org or call 410-386-2400..