Kittleman looks to trim Howard budget in wake of $14M shortfall

Howard County is facing a $14 million shortfall in its fiscal year 2015 budget

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced Monday that he has directed county department heads to propose spending cuts that will trim their budgets by 5 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year because of a $14 million shortfall.

The shortfall in the FY2015 budget, which ends June 30, is because of lower-than-anticipated revenues from income taxes and recordation taxes from home sales, according to the county. It represents about 1.42 percent of the overall budget

In a statement, Kittleman said he instructed department heads to delay filling vacant positions except for criticial ones, including those in public safety.

Cost-of-living increases mandated and funded in the budget will not be affected by the shortfall, according to a county news release.

"When fiscal difficulties occur, we all have to pitch in," Kittleman said. "Balanced-budget laws require us to trim our costs, and we will do that in a thoughtful, responsible way."

Kittleman has asked department heads to submit cost-cutting suggestions by Dec. 22. Numerous cost-cutting strategies are being considered, including possible transfers from Pay-go funding for long-term projects, according to the release.

"This is not a prospect anyone welcomes, but we must face fiscal reality. We are confident prudent action now will avert serious consequences down the road," Kittleman said.

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