From Harford County government:
Harford County Executive David R. Craig has unveiled his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011. The budget includes a proposal for a decrease of $0.02 in the county’s real property tax rate.
“Government must be responsive to its citizens, while recognizing that the wants and needs of the public are often varied and sometimes divergent,” County Executive Craig stated. “The proposed FY 11 Operating and Capital budgets for Harford County demonstrate my commitment to balancing requests from our citizens with the equitable allocation of available resources,” the county executive remarked.
The proposed FY 11 General Fund Budget is an increase of $8.2 million over FY 10, but the increase is due to Debt Service requirements which are approximately $12.3 million and are largely attributable to Board of Education construction projects. Principal, interest and service costs for school debt are allocated at $25.6 million for FY 2011, with $24 million, or 94% of the expense paid for with dedicated revenue sources from Recordation and Transfer taxes rather than property or income tax.
“My Administration has met the demands of parents and the school system to providenot just new and replacement classroom buildings, but to forward fund projects that are needed now,” County Executive Craig stated.
The FY 11 General Fund Proposed Budget decreased by $4 million compared with FY 2010, which is attributable to cutting the size of government, both in terms of personneland spending. This decrease in the proposed budget allows for the proposed reduction in the Property Tax Rate.
The proposed FY 11 budget is $690,257,087, of that, $577,518,290 is the Operating Budget and $112,738,797 comprises the Capital Budget.
In developing the FY 11 budget, County Executive Craig asked county employees to help to identify cost-saving measures and assist in streamlining the budget and economize wherever possible. As a result, county workers proposed a number of alternatives for theAdministration to consider including altering work schedules, equipment modifications, energy conservation and a retirement incentive proposal.
As part of County Executive Craig’s overall plan to reduce the size of county government and cut spending, since July 1, 2008, the county workforce has been reduced by188 personnel or 13.3%. Additionally, as part of the retirement incentive plan recommended earlier this year, 53 current employees have opted to retire by July 1, 2010.
Furthermore, each department director must justify filling vacated positions or define how positions could be filled at lower salary levels.
Honoring his commitment to public safety and education, County Executive Craig proposed FY 11 General Fund Appropriations includes, $214,061,789 for the Board of Education; $14,961,612 for Harford Community College; $62,637,663 for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office; $9,367,407 for Emergency Services; and $8,982,456 for the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Service.
Additionally, four of the most prominent Capital Budget Projects included in the FY11 Budget are $5,795,000 for the replacement of Deerfield Elementary School; $7,000,000 for the replacement of Edgewood High School; $8,070,000 in bonds towards the construction of the new Red Pump Elementary School and $1,633,000 for the construction of the new firestation at Patterson Mill Road.
“The proposed FY 2011 budget is a conservative budget that balances the needs ofour citizens with available revenues. We have continued to make investments in ourinfrastructure that supports jobs and economic growth and have implemented cost-saving measures while lowering taxes and maintaining services without layoffs or furlough days in the coming year,” County Executive Craig stated.