The Harford County Council unanimously approved a $642.3 million fiscal 2016 operating budget, maintaining tax rates and providing merit raises for employees. Although amended, the operating budget approved by the Council totals the same as County Executive Glassman’s proposed budget. The capital budget was raised slightly from the proposed level to $91 million.
As reported by the Baltimore Sun,
The new operating budget is $14.8 million higher than the 2015 budget of $627.5 million; however, the new capital budget is $16.1 million lower than the 2015 capital budget of $107.3 million.
The increase in the final capital budget over what Glassman had introduced comes from state and federal grants, not additional county funding, Kim Spence, county budget and management research chief, said following the council meeting.
County Executive Glassman was pleased with the Council’s actions.
The county executive released a statement Tuesday night after learning the budget passed, saying he is “encouraged that the County Council shares my vision for making Harford County stronger.”
“By operating more efficiently and by reducing our debt, we are now able to fund long overdue investments in our valued public safety, education and government employees, without raising taxes,” Glassman said.
The budget as proposed and approved provides merit increases for employees.
Glassman also placed enough funding in the budget for $1,000 merit-based pay increases for 890 employees under direct supervision of the county executive. Department heads and their deputies won’t be eligible. Additional funding was provided for raises of up to $500 for Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the library system. Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler previously said he would match that funding with money elsewhere in his budget so all deputies and correctional officers and civilian employees will get $1,000 raises.
Glassman likewise provided funding to the county school system for raises of up to $1,000 for teachers and $500 for other employees, although most teachers will be getting at least 1.5 percent cost of living increases and so-called step increment raises, typically about 3 percent, under the contract their union has negotiated with the county Board of Education.
More detailed information on the approved budget can be found on the county website.