Like any good bill collector, Howard County wants to make sure it gets its money on time.

It sent the state treasury a firm but friendly reminder: Be prompt in sending the county its share of the franchise tax paid by local savings and loan institutions.

The state usually delivers $200,000 to $250,000 in franchise taxes collected from these institutions by mid-August. But "there seems to be some uncertainty" about when this year's payment will be made, finance director Raymond F. Servary Jr. told state officials.

"I amsure you are aware that Howard County is in a precarious situation" in regard to the 1991 fiscal year budget, Servary wrote Lloyd W. Jones, state director of Assessments and Taxation, in a letter July 25.

"It is very important that any revenues due to us for fiscal year 1991 are remitted in a timely manner," Servary said. "I would appreciate knowing as soon as possible when you plan to remit (them)."

While the county's situation is not "super precarious," said county Budget Director Raymond S. Wacks, the county is dependent on state aid and must receive it on schedule.

"We hear the state has a $350 million shortfall and we want to make sure they keep up to date" with payments to the county, Wacks said. "They certainly make sure we are keptup to date."

If the state ignores the county's request, Wacks said the next reminder could be for a far more substantial amount -- the$10 million to $13 million the county hopes to get from local incometax revenue. Without that money, he said, the county would have to borrow from other sources to avoid ending the year with a deficit, which would be illegal.

The county's main worry, Wacks said, is not that it won't get the money on time but that financial seers have overestimated the county's share.

"In two or three weeks we should know whether we make it or not," Wacks said. "The state's very closed-mouthed. They've given us no indication. It's gonna be very close."

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