State's mayors brace for state budget cut
By Jamie Schmidt, Times Staff Writer, January 31, 2003
For companion information click on: Maryland Municipal League’s Maryland Mayor’s Association - Mayor’s Press Conference February 1st, 2003
As the governor works to address a budget deficit,
According to the
"That would have quite an impact," said Westminster Mayor
He wanted to be sure that the pain of the deficit would be shared as evenly as possible, he said as he prepared to attend the ninth annual
"We [mayors] need to provide Ehrlich/Steele with alternative approaches," he said.
Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin was also shocked when he heard about the proposed cuts.
"Ouch. ... Off the top, I'd say we're going to have to do less road work next year," he said.
Nevin said the $68,750 decrease was equal to 29 percent of the town's budget for road maintenance.
Jim Holt, Mount Airy mayor, said that he was hoping the town wouldn't lose as much as was proposed.
Taneytown Mayor Henry C. Heine said that he is worried about the possible loss of Program Open Space money, another proposed reduction. Program Open Space is a nationally recognized program that provides dedicated funds to help conserve
The state is proposing to transfer $29.9 million from the local share of Program Open Space revenues to its general fund. Total municipal losses will vary depending on what projects were planned for the coming year.
"We had a project to purchase some land just outside the city to leave as open space," Heine said, adding that this plan may be put on hold. "I guess we are certainly in for a tight budget this year. Municipalities are always on the low end of the food chain."
Heine added that the cuts would also impact plans to create a mini-bypass to alleviate truck traffic through the city. The city had been planning to connect
"The highway money, we need that," he said. "I have a problem with them taking that - it isn't fair. We have
Sykesville Mayor Jonathan Herman said that the town knew that cuts were coming, but that he was most concerned that the town still get a new intersection at the Warfield complex - an intersection that he sees as a future gateway into town.
"We have always realized that state and federal revenues come and go." he said. "You know, nobody wants to raise taxes. You hear all these wonderful things about tax cuts. Republicans are great for saying we're not raising taxes but we are going to get programs cut and fees implemented in lieu of taxes. They will call them contributions, other things, but no matter how you look at it, someone is going to be paying for these things. That's just the way it is."
Other provisions of the budget include withholding $10 million in circuit breaker tax credit reimbursement payments to local governments to help pay for administrative costs of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Another is transferring to the state's general fund $8 million in the current fiscal year and $10 million next year from the Waterway Improvement Program. Also, the state proposes to eliminate the
On the positive side, municipalities stand to receive additional funding for the Community Legacy Program and the Maryland Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund and Maryland Drinking Water Revolving Loan Program. The breakdown for each municipality was unavailable.
Reach staff writers Jamie Schmidt at 410-857-7876.