County officials want to know how much government spending taxpayerscan afford.

The Spending Affordability Committee, created by charter amendment last year to limit spending, will conduct three public hearings to ask citizens how much they can afford for government services.

"We're looking for citizens' input to help us do our job better,"committee Chairman Bennett Shaver said.

"There are a lot of questions as to what's affordable. Some people can't afford to spend anything. Others can."

The first hearing is 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Glen Burnie High School. The committee will conduct hearings in Edgewater and Annapolis next month.

The group was appointed in January, too late to have much influence on this year's budget, Shaver said. Members recommended a spending limit of $633 million; County Executive Robert R. Neall's fiscal 1992 budget was $616.6 million, $800,000 less than the previous year's budget.

Next year's finances promise to beas tight. County officials are completing plans to cut spending in anticipation of further cuts in state aid.

The committee began preparing for the fiscal 1993 budget in June, a year before the County Council must approve the annual spending plan. The group will make recommendations to Neall and the council in January.

Members spent thesummer meeting with officials and conducting research, reviewing everything from the Board of Education and the Department of Utilities to the way the county finances projects. The group also has been studying revenue sources, such as taxes, fees, state and federal aid and bonds.

Shaver serves on another committee, the Property Tax Study Commission, which Neall appointed to reduce the county's reliance on property taxes. Neall agreed to form that committee in exchange for a pledge from the Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association that members wouldn't oppose his 1992 budget.

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