County's Operating Budget Proposal on Horizon
Ken Ulman will release his financial plans for day-to-day services by Saturday.
With a doomsday budget that would result in a 1 percent cut in Howard County's state aid, citizens aren't sure citizens aren't sure where services will be trimmed. They will have a better idea by Friday, when County Executive Ken Ulman will release his operating budget proposal for FY 2013.
This week, Ulman told The Baltimore Sun that he and his staff were "'still going through budget deliberations'" before rolling out the operating budget proposal he must present to the County Council by April 21.
Ulman released his $175.25 million capital budget proposal March 30, which was $2.75 million less than the FY 2012 approved capital budget; last month, Ulman stated that his plans involve investing in "key infrastructure" like road resurfacing.
The school system submitted its request, for $697.3 million, a 2 percent increase over the current budget, in March.
According to the "doomsday budget" that passed through the Maryland legislature last week, Howard County would lose $3.193 million in per-pupil funding. In addition, the state's budget is $70 million out of balance, reported The Baltimore Sun, which means the governor must make additional reductions.
"We have been planning for the shift of the pensions and for possible cuts in state funding," said Patti Caplan, spokeswoman for the Howard County Public School System. "We have been strategic in our budget requests since the economic downturn in 2008, anticipating that things would get worse before they got better."
The Spending Affordability Committee, which Ulman commissioned to evaluate revenue projections in drafting his budget, also said that it is "concerned about the operating expenses facing the county." It urged the county executive to "make pragmatic future spending projections [and] seek opportunities in every area to find efficiencies that achieve reduced costs or increased net revenues in both the short and long term," according to the Spending Affordability Committee's report.
In February, Ulman said in a letter to employees that furlough days and layoffs may be in the county's future.
The County Council will review the budget proposal and hold public hearings to get feedback. It must approve the budget by May 23. For more information about the process, read the Howard County Council's FY 2013 budget brochure.
This article has been updated.