The Howard County Police Department had initially fashioned a budget for this year that looked a lot like last year's, according to Chief William McMahon.
It did not include a lot of growth, but if all goes well, McMahon said, “we plan on having a recruit-level class in June” to fill some of the 10 sworn vacancies in the department.
McMahon explained potential budget problems to a dozen Howard County residents at Wednesday’s meeting of the Citizens Advisory Council.
County Executive Ken Ulman asked the police department, along with all other county departments, to submit a contingency budget with a seven percent reduction in expenses in the event that Gov. O’Malley’s proposal to shift some of the burden of teacher pensions to the counties passes.
The police department received $89,792,490 in county funding in its fiscal year 2012 budget.
“A seven percent reduction in our budget is significant,” McMahon said. “It will keep us from doing a couple of things … we’d basically be providing the basics.”
Community policing and school programs would likely suffer, among other things, he said.
The police department has not yet submitted its contingency budget, McMahon said, but he told Patch “when you’re talking those numbers, you’re talking about layoffs and unfilled vacancies.”
The department has already done some trimming around the edges, but at this point, he said, “there’s really not much left to cut except people.”