The Board of County Commissioners allocated a handful of extra staff positions for Carroll County government on Thursday after having approved about $500,000 for the jobs earlier in the budget process.
Four positions were already decided heading into the discussions — they were positions that came about as other decisions were made. They were a custodian, two maintenance technicians and a project manager, and all fall under the Carroll County Department of Public Works.
"We made decisions," Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, said, referring to budget choices the commissioners made necessitating new positions.
Frazier said he's not in favor of creating extra work without having the staff to do the work.
They officially voted to approve the four Thursday, before deciding to vote on five others from a list gathered during agency hearings. They voted to approve an emergency communications assistant coordinator; an emergency communications specialist; a construction inspector; a part-time, contractual plans examiner; and a road equipment operator.
Both the emergency communications assistant coordinator and emergency communications communications specialist fall under the county's public safety department.
Department of Public Safety Director Scott Campbell said the assistant coordinator was the most important position he was asking for during his agency hearing April 6, but added that the importance of an assistant coordinator and a communications specialist is on par.
The assistant coordinator would handle Freedom of Information Act requests and quality assurance. A communications specialist works as a dispatcher, Campbell told the commissioners earlier this month at the hearing.
The construction inspector, contractual plans examiner and road equipment operator all fall under the public works department.
Public works has four inspectors and one manager in the engineering department, Jeff Castonguay, director of public works, said in his April 10 agency hearing. Another construction inspector would alleviate some of the workload per person in that department, he said.
This position would oversee projects on roadways, culverts and bridge improvements. As it stands now, he said earlier this month, one inspector is busy on a federal project — which all bridge projects fall under.
"[The lack of inspectors leaves] little time to oversee the critical aspects of the construction process," Castonguay previously said.
The county has nearly 1,000 miles of roadway and about 1 million feet of storm drains, Castonguay also at the hearing April 10. The Bureau of Roads Operations is down 10 positions since 2006, though the county has taken on more roads in that time.
"The bureau remains challenged to meet expectations of service as the infrastructure continues to age," Castonguay said.
Total cost for these nine position set aside in the fiscal year 2018 budget comes to $611,640, but includes one-time money for vehicles and equipment. The total ongoing cost for the positions will be $518,450 for FY19.
Commissioners also unanimously approved setting aside $70,700 — money that comes from what's left on the bottom line — for an election information systems specialist.
The end of the budget process is nearing.
On Tuesday, the commissioners voted 5-0 to adopt the recommended FY18 budget.
The county's adopted FY18 budget comes to $396 million, an increase of just over $7 million from FY17. A large portion of the budget goes to Carroll County Public Schools. The school system is set to get $186.9 million, a $5 million increase over the previous year.
Staff from the county's budget office will spend next week presenting the budget information to communities around the county.
The first week of May will bring five public meetings throughout the county. The first is 7 p.m. Monday, May 1, at the Carroll County Public Library's Eldersburg branch. The rest of the meetings will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, at the North Carroll branch library; 7 p.m. May 8 at the Westminster branch library; 7 p.m. May 10 at the Taneytown branch library; and 7 p.m. May 11 at the Mount Airy branch library.
On May 15, there will be a 7 p.m. budget public hearing at Carroll Community College. The final budget is scheduled to be officially adopted on May 25.