In a prepared statement read Thursday afternoon, County Executive David Craig assured the residents of Harford County, employees of the county, and the 34 workers who have lost, or will soon lose, their jobs that “we will get through this.”
In announcing that 34 employees have or will be terminated by the end of the week, Craig hinted there could be even more layoffs from outside agencies – including the library system, health department, and State’s Attorney’s Office.
Craig also warned that the budget cuts would affect more than just those who lost their jobs.
“Others will be more subtle – a delay in getting a permit, a slower response to a hazmat call, a library computer that cannot be accessed, a trail that will not be monitored, a longer trip to drop off recycling, a jury trial delayed, a playground that will not be updated,” he said.
For those wondering, Craig also said he wasn’t immune and pointed out his own office cut its budget by 20%.
And in no uncertain terms, Craig fired a missive directly at those he blames for the extended budget cuts.
“We will comply with the budget cuts directed by the county council.”
Below is the full text of Craig’s address:
County Executive David Craig Addresses Additional
Cuts to Harford County FY 2010 Budget
Remarks from Press Conference of June 18, 2009
Why? It is a simple question.
Why? Why do people choose to live in Harford County?
Why? Why do people who were born here choose to stay here?
Why? Why do people choose to move here?
I believe that the answer is as simple as the question. They choose to stay here and choose to move here because they like the quality of life here. They believe as I believe that Harford County is a great place to live and raise a family.
They know that we have great schools. They know that we have a great library system. They know that we have safe communities.
They know that we have excellent parks and fields. They know that they receive excellent public services.
An equally simple question.
Who cares that when someone calls 911 that the call will be answered by a well trained county employee; who will dispatch the needed service ? an ambulance, a fire truck, a deputy sheriff, a hazmat crew. Who cares that a special needs adult, the son or daughter of a family member, or friend will receive adequate services? Who cares that a drug dependent friend will receive adequate counseling?
Who cares that a person trying to get to work without a car will find adequate bus service? Who cares that the restaurant you visit on a Friday after a long week will be adequately inspected? Who cares that they can participate in one of the best recycling programs in the State? Who cares children will have adequate recreation opportunities?
Who cares that in these tight economic times adequate job training will be provided to your neighbors who want to keep their homes and pay their taxes?
The answer is simple ? I care. I care.
I care that all Harford Countians will have access to public libraries.
I care that we provide adequate assistance to farmers who need assistance with soil conservation. I care that women who are abused have adequate protection in court. I care that children without guidance at home have adequate counseling.
When I put the FY10 budget together I showed that I cared about the people who need services, as well as the people who pay taxes, as well as the people who provide the services. I showed that I cared by cutting $36 million from the General Operating Budget
without raising the tax rate and still support a tax cap cut and without cutting a single service or laying off a single employee. I showed that I cared by presenting a lean budget with the
largest reduction in the history of the county, a reduction of over 6%.
But, it was a budget that still maintained our schools, our public safety, our libraries, our public health.
I did this despite the fact that the State of Maryland cut services and revenues to Harford County to the tune of over $14 million.
Over the past three weeks we have faced a dilemma. Specific cuts were directed in the FY 10 budget by the body with the final say.
These were specific dollar reductions in specific departments and agencies.
These specific cuts do two things ? We will be required to reduce services and we will be required to lay off employees.
I must applaud the members of my administration as well as the leadership of our several unions for working diligently over the last three weeks to accommodate the council in meeting their very specific cuts. The average departmental cut is almost 12%, not the 5% that has been talked about. My own office has been cut over 20%.
Some of the services which will be cut have already been mentioned. Others will be more subtle ? a delay in getting a permit, a slower response to a hazmat call, a library computer that cannot be accessed, a trail that will not be monitored, a longer trip to drop off
recycling, a jury trial delayed, a playground that will not be updated.
These cuts will be real, not imagined.
And, I cannot understand why some people think that by slashing funding you can avoid cutting a service.
I can also not understand how people do not make the connections between the service provided and the employee who provides it.
These specific cuts will require the lay off of over 30 county employees.
And, since the cuts were specific to departments there was no flexibility. That number, 34, does not include layoffs in the library system, the health department, the State’s Attorney’s Office, or other outside agencies. That number – 34 ? represents real people doing real jobs providing real services.
The Human Resource Office will be meeting with those 34 people starting this afternoon and through Friday. We will be offering job training to each person. We will also be announcing the five furlough days which everyone, including me, will be taking ? five days on which no services will be provided except for public safety and water and sewer services.
We will comply with the budget cuts directed by the county council.
We will get through this.
On a final note I want to thank those 34 people who will be receiving the bad news today and tomorrow. They have been hard working and dedicated employees, your neighbors, your friends, and your true public servants.
I still care about them as people and about them as fellow workers.
They, and the services they provided, will be missed.
David R. Craig
Harford County Executive
June 18, 2009
Mr. Craig brought up a great point which is a big part of the problem not only in Harford County but across the State. The State of Maryland (and Federal Government) have unfunded mandates for education which is part of the reason for Maintenance of Effort. I think the State Board of Education (unelected body) should be dismantled and let the counties decide what they want to do. Dr. Grasmick also needs to go since we have NCLB and national standards. Much of the school system increases are UNFUNDED mandates that are getting passed down to the counties. So education doesn’t get touched but we are talking about closing a library and the State giving us little to nothing for having to build new elementary schools for all day kindergarten. Special Education costs & the county gets hardly anything but has to pick up the tab…
Who cares that Harford County , especially Bel Air, has turned into a mini-Towson?
Who cares that you can’t drive anywhere at rush hour?
Who cares that the roads haven’t even begun to keep pace with the development?
Who cared before now that public transportation in Harford County was a joke?
Who cares that despite having Astro turf on our rec fields there is no public place to swim in Harford County?
Who cares that our taxes have risen exponentially while quality of life has declined?
Who cares whether these clowns are re-elected? (though I care about them as people -lol)
Great point Kate. All aspects of school control should be local.
It is our county obligation to provide every student with a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Those special ed laws are required by IDEA which protects special ed children from not getting that FAPE. The new ES is not recieving funding because we failed to comply with the terms laid out for funding it.
I was referencing the fact that the Government (both State and Federal) have passed on numerous unfunded mandates. Why should this county pay for all day kindergarten at every school if people don’t want it. We’ve had to build new schools because of it. What exactly are the terms for funding a new elementary school anyway?
The County has forward funded several schools in the past 5 years including Edgewood High and Deerfield. Edgewood High unfortunately is extremely undercapacity so how much money is the state going to reimburse for that? If there is some magic formula for getting reimbursement I wish you would share it because it seems to change all of the time and HCPS and our elected officials don’t really know.
Another thing I forgot to mention CDEV is that Edgewood is going to cost close to 93 million dollars. Twice as much as Bel Air and Patterson Mill (recent construction projects). Apparently the land is a major problem and it is costing the taxpayers of THIS COUNTY a lot of money. Do you think the State is going to reimburse this county for something like that when we built on something that we shouldn’t. I think we all know the answer…
Edgewood like Bel Air both needed a new building due to AGE. They had seen the expected use after 30 years they are eligible for a new building. The terms for Red Pump were simple. A sewer system. No septic but public water and sewer. We failed to deliver that. This is why Campus Hills was better and cheaper if we only planned on building one school; Campus Hills did not require that and the permenent septic system was OK. I hate to say this but a temporary septic system and no state support makes Red Pump more expensive.
It is no magic formula when you propose a project to the arm of MSDE and the legislature they lay out the terms and a window for recieving that money. All of them need to be forward funded. You get repaid after it is done and you show the money. Bel Air is eligible for more funds after other parts are done and we show the paper work. Red Pump came with conditions and a timeline and we did not live up to it.
Some unfunded mandates are attatched as strings to federal money. Examples include NCLB which we could not do but we would get no FARMS money. Utah did this since they figured the cost of testing was more then the FARMS money. A state could have a drinking age of 18 if they wanted but we would not get federal highway money. That is how unfunded mandates work they add conditions to something they give and threaten to yank it if you do not comply.
Craig speaking about the 34 people he fired/will fire tomorrow: “I still care about them as people and about them as fellow workers”. Shouldn’t that be “ex-fellow workers”? Unbelievable.
David Craig – too late!
You increased the operating budget from $420 Million (2005) to $610 in 2009, a 45% increase.
You sat idle while our property taxes have increased 9% a year.
You sat idle while our seniors on fixed incomes were being forced out of their homes from rising property taxes.
You failed to cut a dime out of Jesse Bane’s Sheriff Office.
You have failed to hold Bane responsible for his top heavy Bureaucracy.
NOW you are trying to take credit for being fiscally responsible. Forget it Craig – we are on to your game. Thank goodness the Council and a group of citizens made the effort. We don’t want big government in Harford County. We want affordable Government that meets basic services efficiently and is there to help the truly needy.
Braveheart, he voluntarily decreased the budget BEFORE you got off your couch to say anything. How many Executives voluntarily decrease their budget? You won’t see OMalley try it.
Can anyone tell me why Mrs Craig was there? Was it to make sure her sister and son in-law were not laid-off or to make sure her favorites Tamarchio and Gibson keep there 100Kplus jobs…What a show..then later Terry Hanley at the library hearing blamed the council for the library closing but a month earlier spoke at the bel air tea party and said we need cuts….What are they drinking on main street in Bel Air??????????????
Forget about Hanley, Impallaria was running around with the TEA parties yelling that Craig need to “get it” and cut, cut, cut. Now he’s blaming the council for the library? He needs to “get it” and get a new job.
Gibson is the one having to tell all these people they’re laid off. He’s had to make decisions, and he’s done it unquestionably well. He’s more than earned his job and salary.
It is the Council that cut the budget. Hanley seems to support fair taxes and stands up for the people. Cut him some slack. He will talk to you about it if you give him a call. And Rick Impallaria is the same way. These guys are representing the people that elected them very, very well.
Don’t assume that your government always makes the best decision first. The library in Fallston doesn’t need to be closed. They can cut hours elsewhere to save the 400,000 needed. While the hammer dropped as a result of the cuts, there can be no blame put on any of the protesters of the budget.
The decision to cut was agreed upon by the majority of the Council. Craig, it seems, is trying to make the Council look bad by closing a library that is attended by well heeled citizens in the Northern part of the County.
I would like to think that they are smart enough to see through the politics and help come to a better solution than cutting services to the library. Nobody wants to close libraries. We just want equity in the tax situation.
There is equity we all pay the same rate!
We pay the same rate but we do not pay according to the value of our homes. I am beginning to think that you are simply a contrarian.
focus on collecting the taxes that are owed instead of focusing on “tax incentives”
it’s pretty simple math.
if you cut your revenues… you have to cut your services.
btw last weeks aegis was full of folks who owe property taxes and other taxes.
it’s not enough to print their names in the paper… go collect what is owed.
So you advocate the person who owns a shack should pay the same amount of money as a Mansion? If your house is worth more you should pay more it is a tax. If you make more money you pay more money in income taxes. I agree not all people pay the same income tax rate. That is inequality. But property taxes are the same rate.
But you could argue one person uses the same amount of services as another regardless of the square footage of the house. Why shouldn’t we all pay the same dollar amount of tax.
Well you have a point. But property taxes are a tax based on the value of what you own similar to luxury taxes in other states. The person in the shck has less value to their abode and the mansion has more value. Further more the mansion lickley required more sewer lines and more of other things as well but the shack owner uses less sewer line. There is more road required in front of the mansion and less in front of the shack. SInce the income tax is not the same but the taxed people may use similar services should they not too pay the same amount? Of course not..
A sewer or water hookup to a house should be paid with a sewer or water bill. If you equate a smaller shack with less income, then that might mean the resident uses more government services. Maybe the tax should be on the amount of people living in the house. A small house with two adults and three kids probably uses more public services than a mansion with two people.
All of this is irrelevant to the point that the government has spent too much money and needs to cut back the way many people are today.
There is a very very interesting twist to this story. But Im not going to be the one to break it.
Oh, do tell.
Wait until next year when the layoffs are 10% instead of 2%. When their budgets are cut by another 10%, you will really start to hear the sqeals.
I believe that people in Harford County don’t want to pay for anything. Where I grew up we passed bonds for schools and other needs and they always passed. I don’t think anything would pass here. I don’t mind paying for schools, (my child is done), police services etc. I also can’t believe a county this size still has volunteer fire/EMS. As wonderful as they are, they need to be supported. the community I lived in with 25000 people had paid fire/EMS.
When and where did you grow up?