County says School Board 2001 budget would lead to shortfall

September 28, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

If the Washington County Commissioners fully fund the local portion of the Washington County Board of Education's budget in the fiscal year 2001, the county would have a $4.6 million shortfall, according to a county document distributed Tuesday.

There would be a $1.6 million shortfall in fiscal year 2002, under statistics Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian gave the County Commissioners. Bastian said all numbers are guesses and not final projections. The 2000 fiscal year began July 1.

The county would need to increase the property tax rate 21 cents to pay for the combined $6.2 million shortfall if the County Commissioners opted to pay for the expenses that way, Bastian said.

This fiscal year the Washington County Commissioners will spend $66 million on education, up from $61.2 million in fiscal 1999. This total includes money for Hagerstown Community College and school nurses.


Total education costs would jump to $72.6 million in fiscal 2001 and $79.1 million in fiscal 2002 under the estimated budget requests from the Board of Education. That is a 10 percent increase for 2001 and an 8.9 percent increase in the 2002 budget year.

The county is expecting its total revenues to increase 4.2 percent, from $114.2 million this fiscal year to $119.1 million in the 2001 fiscal year.

But if the county gives education full funding for fiscal 2001 the total expenses will jump 8.3 percent, from $114.2 million to $123.7 million.

For fiscal 2002 the county anticipates $129.6 million in revenue but $131.3 million in expenses, Bastian said.

At a meeting earlier this month, the School Board gave the County Commissioners its projected budget for the next three years.

The county is using those numbers to plan ahead for the next budget, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

"This is a nice start," Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said Tuesday. However, the School Board should explain to the County Commissioners the reasons for the budget increases, he said.

"This is a start but I don't expect it not to change," Commissioner John L. Schnebly said of the budget estimates.

The County Commissioners took no action regarding the estimates.

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