The four members of Sykesville's budget committee have recommended holding the town tax rate at its current 82 cents for fiscal 1993-1994.
Council members went over the proposed budget last night with that goal in mind. The $839,380 budget calls for a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees -- the first raise in two years for the town's 16 full-time employees.
The council considered delaying that raise until Jan. 1, which would save the town about $4,500. They reached no decision on that proposal.
The budget also contains a 12 percent increase in premiums for liability and health insurance.
"The town is picking up the slack on the insurance and not asking employees to increase their contribution," said Town Manager James Schumacher.
The Police Department has a 13 percent increase in the budget proposal for hiring a new officer Jan. 1. Police Chief Wallace Mitchell asked the council to consider merit pay increases as well as cost-of-living allowances.
"The COLA is in place in the budget," said Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. "We have no room for merit raises this year."
Councilman Kenneth Clark said the committee should consider merit raises next year: "When someone does an excellent job, we have no formal mechanism for rewarding."
Randy Hughes, supervisor of the Bureau of Streets and Sanitation, said his department could not function with the proposed 50 percent cut in its maintenance budget. He listed several items that will need replacing soon.
"We can't make it on that," he said.
All departments received across-the-board cuts, to make up for the few increases, said Mr. Schumacher.
Residents may comment on the budget at a public hearing at 7 p.m. April 12 at the Town House. The council will vote on the budget following the hearing. If adopted, it will take effect within 20 days of the vote.