The Anne Arundel County Council is on track to have next year's budget approved on Wednesday after they trimmed nearly $4 million from the county executive's proposed spending plan Thursday.
The basics of the fiscal year 2013 budget:
General (includes salaries and departmental expenses):
- Executive’s budget: $1,234,571,900
- Council’s budget: $1,230,650,400 ($3,921,500 less)
Capital (construction and infrastructure projects):
- Executive’s budget: $185,862,000
- Council’s budget: $181,004,500 ($4,857,500 less)
Ten hours after Council Chairman Derek Fink called a recess for Thursday’s 9 a.m. county budget hearing, the councilmen could be seen scrambling from room to room across the county government’s office building.
What were they up to? They were meeting with the county auditor and budget officials, combing through projects one at a time and trying to find a way to make this year’s budget work.
Fink reconvened the council at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and within an hour, they had a solution in place.
The fiscal year 2013 budget had nearly $4 million chopped from it in order to meet obligations, including an $11 million teacher pension shift from the state, and $12 million in school maintenance of effort payments. An additional $4.9 million was cut from the proposed capital budget.
By the end of deliberations, school system officials agreed to transfer $5 million from its fund balance to help make ends meet. Schools representative Bob Mosier said this budget session showed the power of teamwork.
“It’s a good example of what can happen if we all work together on this,” Mosier said.
Councilman Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District) said the budget was the result of a series of compromises.
“In the end, I’m proud of what we accomplished, even though it’s not perfect,” Trumbauer said.
On Thursday night, the council approved 86 amendments to the spending plan, including changing the funding source for dozens of projects from cash to bonds, and slashing projects in various departments.
The fire department was able to keep its overtime pay with a $2.5 million transfer from county coffers. In County Executive John R. Leopold’s budget, the department would have had to cut its entire fourth shift to make ends meet.
A new Eastern District Police Station in Pasadena, that will also serve parts of Severna Park and Broadneck, will be funded with $8.7 million in the budget.
County libraries are set to receive $200,000 toward new information technology equipment. Library system Chief Financial Officer Scott Sedmak said the money will help replace aging equipment for one of the system’s most popular features—its Internet access.
The final budget is set to be approved at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, which is also when the council is scheduled to vote on raising the property tax rate from 91 to 94 cents per $100 of assessed value.