(Bel Air, MD – October 29, 2008) – – In a dramatic move today, Harford County Executive David R. Craig announced reductions in the FY 09 budget for all county departments and independent agencies of the county. The budget reductions were made necessary due to a projected shortfall in the income tax, recordation taxes and transfer fees the county will receive.
“Today we are taking steps to insure county government lives within its means,” stated County Executive Craig. “Difficult fiscal times call for tough decisions, and we have acted responsibly to reduce spending in government in an effort to maintain a balanced budget,” Craig remarked.
Among the cost-saving measures implemented by the county executive include a reduction in the number of assigned take home cars for county employees; a freeze on hiring within Harford County Government; curtailing most travel and training for county employees and reducing the hours of operation for some government facilities to include the main administration building in Bel Air.
Additionally, the Board of Education, an independent agency, voted Monday evening to reduce their budget by $5.3 million – the largest single budget reduction of all entities. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Harford Community College and the Library also have taken steps to reduce their operating budgets in an effort to assist the county executive in meeting the overall goal of reducing the FY 09 budget.
Additionally, each of the 15 departments of county government has made cuts to their respective FY 09 budgets. These projected budget reductions totaling more than $2 million.
With respect to county offices and facilities operating under reduced hours, the County Administration Building will close at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Thursday and Friday beginning November 3. Additionally, the Edgewood Senior Center will begin closing 6:00 p.m. next week as well.
The Department of Parks and Recreation will also be impacted by the budget reductions. For example, local Rec councils will now have to pay for custodial services for Parks and Rec programs in public schools. Furthermore, the department will not have monies to pay for snacks for after school and summer camp programs at the Edgewood Community Center. Finally, grounds and building maintenance “standards of care” will be reduced since overtime has been eliminated except for emergency situations.
“Although it is regretful the economy is not doing well, Harford County Government will continue to provide quality service to the citizens we serve despite these budget cuts,” County Executive Craig stated.
“We are in this together and will prepare to meet the challenges which lie ahead as the economy dictates,” Craig stated.