CUMBERLAND — A preliminary budget hearing will give citizens their first opportunity to comment on the proposed county budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
The hearing will take place during the Allegany County Commission meeting at 5 p.m. at county offices on Kelly Road. Additional opportunity for public comment will be available prior to the scheduled adoption of the budget in June.
The hearing will be conducted by Jason Bennett, county finance director.
Citizens wishing to comment should sign the sheet provided at the table in front of the commissioner’s dais.
Commissioners seem likely to approve a cost of living increase for about 400 county employees. The 3 percent cost of living adjustment proposed for county employees would cost $442,237.
Funds for a new sheriff’s office, the Allconet improvements and paving will come from so-called “pay as you go” funds, one-time monies available for next year.
Refinancing the county’s debt has helped with this year’s budget, Bennett has said. The projected total county fiscal year 2014 budget is projected to be $82.6 million, up from $81.3 million in fiscal year 2013, Bennett said.
County revenues have increased slightly in the past year. Most of the 1.5 percent increase came from property and income tax revenues. Almost all of the $308,955 property tax increase is because of the $295,000 payment in lieu of taxes agreement between the county and the owners of the Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort.
Income tax revenues have increased by $714,600, according to officials.
The county does face increased health insurance and pension costs. The pension costs are determined by the state.