By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
6:13 PM EST, January 31, 2012
Baltimore County will need to build flexibility in to its budget to prepare for teacher pension costs that could be passed on from the state to local governments, the chairman of the county's spending affordability committee said Tuesday.
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to shift some of those costs from the state is the major uncertain factor in the county's fiscal situation, said committee chairman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat and member of the County Council. It is not yet clear how much of the pension costs the county will have to absorb.
The spending affordability committee on Tuesday recommended capping the county budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in July, at $1.64 billion. That would be an increase of about $47.5 million over this year's budget.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is set to unveil his 2013 budget plan in April.
The committee — created to ensure that spending does not exceed the county's economic growth —issues spending guidelines each year. Last year, the committee recommended a maximum spending increase of about $36 million over the previous year, but Kamenetz's budget did not boost spending by that much, Quirk said.
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