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Draft of proposed budget available

April 21, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Public Hearing

  • Washington County budget
  • Tuesday, April 27
  • 7 p.m
  • Kepler Theater, Hagerstown Community College


With a public hearing on Washington County's proposed fiscal 2000 budget less than a week away, residents can pick up copies of a new tabloid-style annual report and a draft of the proposed spending plan.

The county had 30,000 copies of the 1998 annual report printed and 22,000 of those were inserted in the current issue of a local weekly newspaper. The remaining 8,000 copies are available at the County Administration Building and at Tuesday's hearing.

Copies of the budget proposal will be available Friday at the offices of the Budget and Finance director and at the County Commissioners office on the second floor of the County Administration Building.

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This is the first year that the annual report has been printed in a tabloid newspaper style.

The more readable and concise version of the report probably will be examined by more people than past reports, said County Administrator Rodney Shoop. Only about 200 to 300 people probably read the old version, he said.

The change also reduced the cost of the report from about $10,000 to $3,000, he added.

In recent years, county annual reports were in a glossy magazine style, said Norman Bassett, county public information officer. The reports were usually about 60 to 80 pages long and included detailed reports from each department, he said.

The new version is eight pages. In addition to a seven-paragraph summary of the year by Shoop, it contains "1998 highlights" for several departments. It also contains graphics explaining the audited fiscal 1998 general fund revenues and expenses.

It also has a bar chart showing the amount of county funding that has gone to the Washington County Board of Education for the last six years.

Education funding is expected to be one of the top issues at the public hearing. The School Board requested a $6.4 million increase in operating funds this fiscal year, an 11.8 percent increase over the current year's funding level.

The budget proposal would give the School Board $59.7 million, a $4.5 million increase over this year's funding level. That would amount to an increase of about 8.1 percent over the current level.

The report also has a two-page section called "Meet Your County Commissioners," with photographs and biographies of the five commissioners, a list of county four-year initiatives and 1999 goals.

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