County Executive David Craig announced his proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget for Harford County last Thursday, March 27. With all the fanfare that went along with the proposed $34,184,425 decrease in budget, I couldn’t help but wonder what about the 9 percent total increase in salaries for eligible county employees.
The 9 percent was broken up very carefully across 3 different raise categories:
– A wage package consisting of a three percent merit increase and three percent COLA for all eligible staff.
– A Classification and Market Adjustment of three percent for all eligible staff. Members of the Cabinet will not receive a merit raise or market adjustment.
In total the proposed FY 09 budget is $895.8 million dollars with the general fund making up over half of this amount at $472 million. County Executive Craig states that this is the smallest increase over the last 10 years at 4.3 percent. This includes the very large raise for county employees. What is the average raise for county employees across the state?
The Board of Education was seeking a $27.8 million increase over the 09 FY and received $11.3 million. Would taking 1 percent of the county employees raise cover the difference for the BOE?
Also of interest in the proposed budget:
– A $2 million increase for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, which includes 10 new Deputy positions and fleet management lease funds to replace 55 vehicles and one utility vehicle
– An increase of $684,081 in funding for the volunteer fire and rescue services, which is about a 10 percent increase in funding for each company
– Capital Budget funding for a scope study for a proposed
Before it becomes official, Craig’s proposed FY 09 budget must be approved by the Harford County Council – but should they?
Craig’s FY 08 budget had such a large increase that a reduced budget this year was inevitable. The really scary part of the FY09 budget is this 9% pay raise for employees. Once salaries are raised they are never reduced. That means that this new salaries with the 9% increases will the the baseline for the FY10 budget. It is always easier to cut everything else down to the barebone, but salaries are sacred.
I wonder why Craig is setting himself up for a very tough decision within the next 2 years. Tax revenue is stagnant and he has spent at a rampant pace during his time in office. The extemely large increase in tax assessments almost certainly warrant a reduction in the property tax rate. Instead of doing that, Craig has decided to spend rapidly. The spending increase of the Craig administration to date have been the largest in Harford’s history. One year of a so-called “reduction” does not make up for increasing an ongoing expense (salaries) at a rate much larger than the private sector. How many of you out there in the private sector received a 9% increase this year? I would imagine very few people had that big of a bump.
By the way, cabinet secretaries may not be eligible for the 3% “market adjustment” but they are eligible for all other increases.
Craig is also doing away with step increase in the future, in favor of “broadbanding”. This basically allows the county to pay employees whatever they want within a large range. How many of Craig’s political appointees will be making less than the maximum. Makes you wonder?
Craig is going to end up in a situation where he has to lay off employees or raise taxes. He certainly is not being fiscally conservative.
Interesting that Baltimore County is providing no cost of living increases for county employees in the next fiscal year, citing tough economic conditions. Glad we don;t have these problems in Harford…
You beat me to that thought Steve. I saw the same thing, thank goodness for the booming economy in Harford County, huh?
What’s wrong with people getting raises? The majority of the county work force deserves raises. Hey, did anybody notice that prices are going up all around. Why can’t people get raises to help them maintain a decent / livable lifestyle? Taxes need to be raised to support raises…..duh!!
People want all the services that they have had and expect the Harford County employees to keep on serving them at low level incomes.
This sounds like Aberdeen residents complaining about taxes being raised to give Aberdeen employees raises.
I guess all of Harford County is the same?
We want our water delivered and sewer taken away—–but don’t give the DPW employees a raise.
We want our streets and sidewalks repaired–but dont raise taxes to do it.
We want our kids to get an education–but don’t give the teachers a raise.
We want our streets patrolled–but don’t give the police a raise.
If you do have to make cut backs, you don’t do it at the expense of your workforce.
Baltimore County is doing it all wrong. All you have to do is drive through it, watch the news or read the paper.
Harford County is a beautiful county.
Jim Smith (not verified) says
Wow 9% in a recession,obviously this County Executive is not informed with what is happening in the private sector,Oh that’s right he has always rode on the taxpayers back.He was a Educator and in that world there’s always plenty of money $$$$$$$ .I guaranty that the true entrepreneurs in Harford County are not getting a BIG pay raise or anyone else in the private sector.
Congratulations Mr. County Executive on making sure NO Harford County Employees leave and go to work at a adjoining County for more pay…HA…
Our Government has served us well here in Harford County.1 overcroweded schools 2 Lacking infrastructure (roads ,water ,sewer)3 Building moratorium(ask your local painter or drywall contractor)4 Lack of athletic fields 5 25 year old zoning code.
This is just a few examples the list goes on and on.
Perhaps he should gaive a 20% raise after all its only taxpayers money.
Oh don’t want to forget a least 7 new jobs in his cabinet.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Just what ever Republican stands for LESS GOVERNMEMET…..
Love ,County Executive Jim Smith Baltimore County.
P.S No raises in my County
David Craig is a Tax and Spend liberal.
Daivid Craig has no real business experience. Craig has been a politician or School Administrator his entire life.
David Craig took absolutely no initiative in reducing the cap on Harford County Property Taxes. David Craig was forced into the cap reduction by the citizens and council.
David Craig increased the County budget by $200 million in 4 years then wants to take credit for a budget reduction. Get real….
The citizens are watching you Craig. Forget about running for Governor in 4 years. You and the rest of your cronies are through.