Queen Anne’s County Begins FY2013 Budget Discussions

Having faced a projected $19.2 million deficit in FY 2012, the Queen Anne’s County Board of Commissioners is planning ahead for FY 2013 budget decisions.  While things do not appear as bleak for the county as they did last year, county Finance Director Jonathan Seeman says that the county could face a revenue shortfall of almost $9 million for FY 2013.  The Star Democrat reports that the shortfall is due in part to decreased revenues from property taxes.

About a third of the property in the county, centered on Kent Island, is being assessed this year. The lower figures are likely to factor into an overall shortfall. Seeman included inflationary cost increases that the county is likely to experience for fuel and other expenses. Furlough days that county employees now have were not included in Seeman’s projections.

He recommended that commissioners set aside $500,000 of the FY 2011 fund balance to put toward other post employment benefits for future retirees.

Currently the county pays such costs as staff retire, but in the last several years, accounting principals have moved towards government entities setting aside a trust for the cost of benefits for future retirees.

Even if the commissioners later decide they can’t afford to pay that sum to the OPEB trust, having such funds earmarked for that purpose helps maintain a positive bond rating, Seeman said.

The County Commissioners are scheduled to meet with Seeman on Tuesday. Commissioners plan to have budget guidelines for department heads on November 8.

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