Gazette: County Budget Situations Difficult, But Varied

Each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions has taken a different path to closing budget gaps for fiscal 2012, which began July 1, according to Michael Sanderson, executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties.
In today’s Gazette, an overview of county approaches to resolving budget deficits for their FY 2012 budgets is provided.  Sanderson goes on to state,

“It seems like it’s 24 separate stories,” he said. “Some counties have cut to the point where they are laying people off. Some counties have gotten to the point where they’ve had to raise taxes. Others haven’t, but they’ve put off projects.”

Anne Arundel, Dorchester, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s and Wicomico counties all raised property tax rates for FY 12.  Several counties continued to furlough employees and reduce their workforces through layoff and early retirement incentives.  Budget savings have been realized through consolidations, service reductions, across the board budget cuts and reductions in funding for school boards.

“We actually did see more county employees lose their jobs this year than has been the case the last couple,” said Sanderson.

He further states that counties will take longer than the state to recover from the economic downturn and will continue to contract budgets for the next few years.

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