From Harford County government:
As Harford County Executive David R. Craig and his budget staff begin to craft the budget for Fiscal Year 2015, some preliminary revenue projections are beginning to come into focus.
Property tax revenues are expected to be flat or slightly lower than in the current fiscal year, while income tax revenues are projected to show a marginal increase. In total, the preliminary revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2015 indicate a slight increase of approximately $7.6 million. The total approved revenues from all funds and sources in the current year’s operating budget amounted to $640.3 million.
These preliminary projections are the result of information obtained by the county’s Treasury Department from the State Department of Assessments and Taxation and the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland, taking into account recommendations from the county’s Spending Affordability Committee.
As in previous budget years, county appropriations must match revenues received. In the current year’s budget, the modest revenue increase was offset by increases in healthcare, pensions, and other costs of doing business, as well as expenditures mandated by the state. These expenses can be expected to increase similarly next year as, for example, the county’s share of the costs of teachers’ pensions is mandated to increase in the coming fiscal year by $500,000 to $7.5 million, a cost formerly covered by the state. In addition, county government’s costs for employee healthcare are expected to increase by 10%.
In preparation for the budget process, County Executive Craig held a public input session in November at Fallston High School, which was very well-attended. In January, he will hold meetings regarding the budget with each individual department and county-funded agency. Budget requests by the departments and agencies will be taken into consideration, as will comments received from citizens and organizations.
The County Executive’s proposed budget must be submitted to the Harford County Council by April 15, although he hopes to submit it by April 1. The Council will then hold hearings with each of the departments and agencies in April and/or May, and will hold public hearings to obtain additional citizen input. The budget and tax rates for the Fiscal Year 2015 must be approved by June 15, 2014.
Fox Said says
And so the push for tax increases begins. Do they dare increase taxes in an election year so that teachers and bureaucrats can get raises, while the rest of us struggle to get by?
Concerned Citizen says
If the cost of health insurance is projected to be going up this year, the bureaucrats need to be looking at other carriers to determine whether they can find a better deal. In light of the current health insurance market conditions, a 10% increase may not be so bad. Nevertheless, the county budget should not be treated as a bottomless pit. Either the county finds a way to spend less somewhere else or the employees should pick up the difference. Its that simple and no different than any other organization.
concerned citizen2 says
I generally use the name concerned citizen, however being that that name is now being used by someone else I will go by concerned citizen2.
I think concerned citizen is a person who believes that they should never have to pay for any services if it takes money out of their pockets. This is a very destructive attitude to take. As life goes on the cost of things will always increase as we have seen this happen over time for as long as anyone can remember. Therefore it makes sense that taxes will need to go up with the cost of inflation. This is basic economics. To think that when you get older that things will now stay the same cost over the next 10 to 20 years is not smart. When you retire you should figure in the cost of living and ask yourself if you will be able to afford the cost of living as you age. I am tired of people saying that they do not want to pay their fair share simply because they are looking out for their own self interest. Having this self-serving attitude is the downfall of Harford County. There are too many people who have this attitude and too many politicians with the same attitude. We are becoming weaker as a county because of it. Fund Education, government workers, and sheriffs at a rate that stays with the Cost of living. If you do not the housing market will weaken, the quality of education will weaken and we will need to pay for more sheriff officers because Harford County will continue to go down hill. Think of the big picture which will ultimately serve you better as a citizen in the long term.
Concerned Citizen says
I think that Concerned Citizen 2 is a bit offtrack in thinking that wise cost comparisons for goods and services as well as responsible spending of public money, especially during a time of great economic difficulty, is “looking out for self-interest.” We as a society can continue to spend more and more money, continue to raise taxes to support our expenditures, until finally pricing ourselves out of the community, thus losing more of the tax base, which helps to fund…yes, public services including money for teachers and law enforcement. That is economics 101. I know a number of people who have moved out of state just over the border because they got fed up with all of the taxes and fees. Asking workers to share some of the cost of theirbenefits is not a new concept. People working in the private sector have done it for years. I read an article in this week’s Aegis describing Harford County BOE benefits as “generous.” I found it interesting that while teacher salaries in Harford County are lower than its two bordering jurisdictions, it has one of the highest retention rates in the state. I don’t work for a public agency with generous benefits and hardly qualify for being self-serving.
Ryan Burbey says
“That retention rate places Harford at fourth best in the state, after Frederick (95 percent), Cecil, (93.5 percent) and Baltimore County, (93.1 percent).”
“”Our competitive position and base pay has eroded as neighboring school systems have provided structure and step adjustments when we have not been able to do so,” Jean Mantegna, assistant superintendent for human resources, told members of the Board of Education, as she and Howard Kutcher, senior manager of Human Resources, presented a report on recruitment and retention during the board’s Dec. 16 meeting.”
I can assure you that the benefits package is not that generous.