From Harford County government:
Harford County Executive David R. Craig has announced his proposed budget for FY 2012. The budget keeps the county property tax rate at $1.042, which for the first time in the history of the County, falls below the Constant Yield Rate.
“The FY 12 budget was crafted by adhering to sound fiscal management policies that keep the County operating within its means with no proposed increase in taxes,” stated Harford County Executive David R. Craig. “Harford County continues to weather the fiscal challenges that have plagued many local jurisdictions. The County’s approach to budgeting and fiscal management has proven itself as evidenced by last year’s attainment of a AAA Bond Rating, which saves the County millions of dollars each year in financing costs,” Craig remarked.
For the third consecutive year, the proposed budget does not include pay raises or COLA’s for County employees. However, this year the county is faced with having to provide an additional $4.4 million to cover a 27th pay period for all county employees. A 27th pay period occurs approximately once every 12 years.
The total FY 12 proposed budget for all funds is $734,045,453. Of that, $605,344,309 is dedicated to the Operating Budget and $128,701,144 is allocated for the Capital Budget. For every General Fund dollar spent, 76 cents is allocated to education and public safety.
Among the budget highlights, the proposed FY 2012 budget provides funding to the Board of Education at the Maintenance of Effort level, with an additional $500,000 allocated for the opening of the new Red Pump Elementary School. Additionally the budget includes $343,082 to support the Ag Magnet Program at North Harford High School as well as the International Baccalaureate Program at Edgewood High School. Maintenance of Effort funding decreased this year by $613,244, due to a decline in student enrollment.
The proposed FY 12 budget does not include funding for any additional schools for the Board of Education.
With respect to Public Safety, the proposed budget provides for an additional $1.7 million to improve communications technology and interoperability among public safety agencies. Additionally, as the Harford County Sheriff’s Office prepares to open the expansion of the existing Detention Center, the budget includes an additional $233,733 to fund operating costs of the new facility.
Also included is funding for a new “E-Tix” program that will provide Harford County law enforcement officers real time information on vehicles and drivers when conducting traffic stops. This new technology significantly reduces the time for issuing citations, and makes traffic enforcement quicker and safer overall.
Other budget priorities aimed at helping position Harford County for the future includes funding to increase access to the web via high speed connectivity for citizens, businesses, and governmental entities throughout Harford County. This initiative, along with participation in the “One Maryland Broadband Network,” will help keep Harford County competitive in the 21st Century economy.
Similarly, other projects focus on improving Harford County’s water and sewer infrastructure, as well as supporting a mandated Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrade to the County’s wastewater treatment plant, and funds to cap a cell at the Harford Waste Disposal Center in northern Harford County.
Finally, in the continual effort to provide accountability and transparency in government, working in concert with the Harford County Council, the proposed FY 12 budget includes $254,619 for the establishment of a County Auditor’s Office as requested by the Council.
“The FY 12 Harford County budget reflects a balance of the many divergent wants and needs of our community, and our ability to provide for those wants and needs through the taxes we pay,” remarked County Executive Craig.