Sticker Shock! Adjusting for Inflation at #MACoCon

A panel of experts offered insights and best practices for navigating fiscal uncertainty.

Inflation is exceptionally high, driving up costs for capital projects and routine service delivery. The tight labor market means county governments are increasing salaries, which puts upward pressure on pension costs. Supply chain issues driven by geopolitical unrest and the global pandemic threaten to delay priority projects. And the looming potential of a recession only adds fuel to the fire.

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference, MACo’s Budget and Finance Affiliate hosted an expert panel for a detailed economic outlook, best practices for planning, budgeting, and forecasting, and strategies for how counties can best prepare for future fiscal uncertainties.

Anne Arundel County Council Member Allison Pickard led the conversation and moderated an informative Q&A at the “Sticker Shock! Adjusting for Inflation” session.

Panel speakers included:

  • Robert Rehrmann, Director, Bureau of Revenue Estimates
  • Ted Zaleski, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Carroll County
  • Holly Sun, Budget Administrator, Howard County
  • Robert Sandlass, Treasurer, Harford County
Robert Rehrmann, Director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, addresses conference attendees.

Director Rehrmann discussed inflation’s role in State revenue projections and what that means for county revenue forecasts. Rehrmann also shared the latest forecast for State revenues and explained how the Federal Reserve is working to tamp down inflation.

Holly Sun provided best practices for counties to navigate revenue uncertainty. In addition, Treasurer Sandlass explained how inflation impacts pension liabilities and the county workforce – and what counties can do to retain employees amidst an unprecedented labor market.

Director Zaleski shared tips on managing expectations with elected officials and constituents and insights on planning for future fiscal uncertainty. According to Zaleski, while much of the focus is on the cost of implementing the Blueprint for Maryland – counties must also prepare for rising costs, unfunded mandates, and higher demand for services.

The session was on August 18, 2022, at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: