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

County Executive Allan Kittleman delivers his inaugural speech Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, after being sworn in at Glenelg High School in Glenelg. (Jon Sham/Baltimore Sun video)

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

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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.

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"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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