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.