Carroll County could end the year with as much as $8.8 million in excess, according to staff projections based on figures from the second quarter of the current fiscal year.
Ted Zaleski, county director of management and budget, provided a second quarter budget update to the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday. He presented the figures with a word of caution, noting there is still a long way to go in fiscal year 2020, which ends June 30.
Of the projected $8.8 million expected to be left over at the end of the fiscal year, $4 million is planned to be carried forward in fiscal year 2022, Zaleski said, which would leave the commissioners with about $4.8 million to use elsewhere, including potentially in fiscal year 2021.
“Anything left over from a budget year can be saved in fund balance to be used sometime in the future or can be appropriated in a budget. The commissioners can use this for any purpose though the focus is on one-time uses,” Zaleski wrote in an email.
Carroll County’s operating budget is more than $418 million.
Zaleski said at the meeting that “$4.8 million sounds like a lot of money, but in context of the budget, it’s not a big change."
The county has received about one-quarter of its income tax revenue for the year and stands about $3.7 million above budget, Zaleski told the commissioners.
“It’s way too early to decide what that means," he said.
Zaleski wrote in an email that the projection of $8.8 million came from the county receiving greater revenues than expected, plus a prediction that some budgeted funds will not be spent. He wrote that the county is projected to end the year with an additional $1.6 million in revenue, and anticipates there will be $7.2 million in unspent funds, which led to the prediction of $8.8 million. About $4.2 million of the $7.2 million is in the county’s reserve for contingencies.
The reserve for contingencies is a fund set aside for unexpected costs, such as a bad snow year, Zaleski said.
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Upon hearing Zaleski’s update, Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said he’d like to revisit the subject of additional security at polling places at a commissioners meeting in the near future. At the Jan. 30 commissioners meeting, the election director requested more security, to no avail. The commissioners did not vote then, but suggested reviewing the request during the next budget planning process.
Zaleski cautioned against the commissioners allowing the budget update to influence their decision-making on the matter.
The board’s president, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, also expressed interest in revisiting the subject because he was not present for the discussion.
Overall, Zaleski said he feels good about the county’s financial position, though there are uncertainties such as income tax revenue or an unexpected expense.
“We are comfortable with our position, but we always need to recognize that things can change,” he wrote in an email.