Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

June 12, 2013

County budget faces reality, looks to future

Dear Allegany County residents:

The goals of Allegany County are expressed each fiscal year in our budget. This year’s budget reflects the economic and financial realities we face not only today but in the foreseeable future.

Like county commissioners before us, we must make tough decisions that prepare our county and future boards with a solid foundation. We have already made several difficult decisions and are required to do so again this year. For the first time for this board, the budget process was not overshadowed by the prospect of layoffs or furloughs for county employees.

However, we cannot relax. The loss of 90 percent of the county’s Highway User Funds and the shift of the State Teachers Pension Liability to the local level looms large and will preoccupy the county’s budgeting process and its financial commitments for many years to come.

For the first time in five years, our budget will provide an increase of $130,000 to Allegany College of Maryland. This will serve to eliminate one-third of the proposed tuition increase for students and their families for the upcoming school year.

For the first time in six years the county is able to give an increase to both Human Resources Development Commission and our library system. In compliance with Maryland State Law, this budget will achieve the state mandated Maintenance of Effort requirement for the board of education, which provides $378,000 over last year’s budget.

This budget also allows for a contingency fund to support school safety programs as may be recommended by the county Health Department and the Sheriff’s Office. Funding for education remains the county’s single highest priority and garners 80 percent of all outside appropriations made by the county.

In addition to supporting education, providing basic core services to our residents has been and remains a key priority. We have and will continue to work creatively with state and federal agencies to maximize the most favorable grant and loan opportunities available to our community.

Our Public Works Department is involved in the planning, design, or the construction of an estimated $50 million worth of public utility projects at this time.

Building upon our commitment from two years ago, this board will continue with a slight reduction in the county’s property tax rate of one-tenth of a penny as set forth in Resolution 1112. And, for the first time in recent memory, the county is prepared to set its tax rate below the constant yield rate.

In preparation for leaner times, the county has reduced its annual planned debt service. Again this year this board will not use the county’s fund balance to balance this budget. These basic strategies were viewed favorably by both Standard and Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) and Moody’s Investor Services, which chose to upgrade the county’s bond rating in 2013.

With the adoption of this budget, the county will accomplish these important goals:

1. A rate decrease in property taxes that equals one-tenth of a penny.

2. A budget which does not rely upon the county’s fund balance to fund internal or outside agency commitments.

3. Small budget increases for Allegany College of Maryland, the Allegany County Library System, HRDC, and the Allegany County Board of Education.

4. For the first time in four budget years, our budget provides an across the board COLA of three percent to county employees.

5. Cost saving initiatives that have helped control expenses included: refinancing existing debt to capture record low interest rates, block grant funding, and federal and state grants for water and sewer projects.

A complete copy of the budget will be available on the county’s website at www.gov.allconet.org in mid June.

The Board of County Commissioners

Michael W. McKay, president

Creade V. Brodie Jr. and William R. Valentine, commissioners

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014