Carroll County Projecting Shortfall For FY 2016

As Carroll County Commissioners begin their discussions on the fiscal 2016 budget, budget officials are projecting a shortfall between revenues and expenditures, potentially affecting funds for the school system and nonprofits.  As reported by the Carroll County Times,

Even with an additional $10 million more in revenue projected in the upcoming fiscal year compared to the last one, Carroll government may still not have enough money to fully fund the public school system’s budget request or flat-fund nonprofits it supports.

The county’s eight primary revenue sources are expected to bring in $338.8 million during Fiscal Year 2016, compared to $328.9 million in the current year, said Ted Zaleski, director of the Department of Management and Budget. Fiscal Year 2016 begins July 1, 2015. Speaking during the Carroll County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, he said he and his staff are also forecasting revenue growth for fiscal years 2017 through 2021, however this growth is “modest and uncertain.”

The school system’s budget calls for $175.8 million to come from county funds, although county budget officials have estimated a lower amount.

County staff’s recommended budget for Carroll County Public Schools for FY16 is $161.95 million; $50,000 less than what the school system received in the current fiscal year and $13.85 million less than the school board’s request this year.

The school board’s original budget had anticipated a decrease in state funding because of a decline in enrollment.

Unbudgeted items are also placing pressure on the county’s longer term budget plan.

As part of the yearly budget process, county staff also made forecasts for the next five years. Several budget changes arose during the past year that will need to be included in FY16 that were not accounted for in the approved FY16-21 Operating Plan last year, including a new transportation contract with Butler Medical, a budget increase for the Carroll County Detention Center to accommodate overcrowding, rent for the state’s attorney’s office, and a new voting system.