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Commissioners to offer budget at May hearing

April 18, 2001

Commissioners to offer budget at May hearing



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners voted Tuesday to take a $129.4 million budget to a public hearing.

The proposed budget calls for increasing Washington County Board of Education funding by 7.5 percent over the current year's level. The proposed allocation of about $69.2 million is $1.6 million less than the School Board requested.

After the May 8 hearing, the commissioners will have an opportunity to make changes to the budget before they adopt it later in the month.

Education funding, which includes money for Hagerstown Community College, is about 58.5 percent of the budget, Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said.

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Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the budget draft does what the commissioners wanted: Earmarks new funds for county priorities.

As a result, the School Board got more money than it otherwise would have, as did the Washington County Free Library, the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and the Sheriff's Department, Snook said.

Commissioner John L. Schnebly said he was satisfied with the budget.

"I think we have cut education more than I'd like," Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said. He said, however, he was comfortable with taking the proposed budget to a public hearing.

Previous budget drafts listed a $1.7 million budget shortfall. The shortfall was eliminated, in large part, by cutting the School Board budget proposal.

The budget also includes a 3 percent raise for all employees.

The pay increases will cost the county about $616,000 in direct costs, Human Resources Director Alan J. Davis said. When other costs are factored in, the total cost will be $770,000, he said.

The increases would take effect July 1, the beginning of the 2002 fiscal year.

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