Hagerstown City Council moves toward finalizing budget

May 01, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown City Council all but passed its budget for fiscal year 2010-11 during a special work session Saturday at City Hall.

The proposed $135.9 million budget is about $22.6 million less than the $158.5 million spending plan for the current fiscal year.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the council met Saturday to discuss 27 proposed expenditure reductions that required further review. In the end, the council agreed to change only three of the proposals, keeping the other 24 intact.

He said the reductions will save the city nearly $5 million.

"Nobody's been able to tell me this hasn't been the largest reduction in the city's history," Metzner said. "I think we finalized the budget today. We've made our decisions of what we'll be bringing to the public."


City officials will hold a public hearing May 11 to discuss the budget. Metzner said the council is required to pass the budget by the end of this month.

The city will order its employees to take five furlough days and five unpaid work-stop days to save about $720,000, Metzner said. Employee cost-of-living adjustments also will be imposed.

Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood said the cutbacks will force the city to do more with less.

"I've definitely recognized some of the inefficiencies in government," said Haywood, who is serving her first year on the council. "Unfortunately, we had to make those cuts."

On Saturday, the council agreed to propose cutting all or some aid to local nonprofits, including the CSAFE after-school program and the Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership (HNDP).

If the budget is approved, CSAFE will receive $55,000 of a $62,000 request. The council decided to deny a $50,000 solicitation from HNDP.

Haywood said today's sluggish economy will force governments and nonprofits to find more creative ways to use their money.

"We'll have to do more with less," she said. "I think the citizens will appreciate that."

Budget cuts

During a work session Saturday, the Hagerstown City Council discussed making the following cuts to the proposed budget for fiscal year 2010-11. Twenty-four of the items were endorsed as presented. Items 13, 22 and 23 were modified during the work session.

1. Elimination of employee pay step and cost-of-living adjustments -- $769,251

2. Implementation of five unpaid employee work-stop days -- $360,000

3. Implementation of five employee furlough days -- $360,000

4. Overtime pay reductions -- $156,350

5. Position vacancy management wage and benefit savings -- $150,000

6. Decrease in temporary and seasonal position costs -- $60,690

7. Elimination of employee annual sick leave buy back program -- $111,746

8. Elimination of police and fire overtime premium for working holidays -- $110,000

9. Elimination of holiday sell back from police and fire departments -- $63,550

10. Adjustment in workers' compensation hold harmless to 66 percent -- $19,000

11. Increase in active employees health insurance premiums from 3 percent to 20 percent -- $112,889

12. Increase in retirees under 65 health insurance premiums from 3 percent to 20 percent -- $68,600

13. Elimination of prescription coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees and dependents -- the council agreed to keep $50,000 in the program.

14. Reduction of Social Security expenses due to redirection in wages -- $160,135

15. Decrease in materials and supplies expenditures -- $265,021

16. Reduced fuel and utilities -- $100,045

17. Capital outlay transfers to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) from $1,216,000 to $522,000 due to deferral of all general fund departmental vehicle and equipment replacements and other projects to future years -- $694,000

18. Capital outlay for non-CIP -- $128,715

19. Contractual services expenditure reductions -- $100,301

20. Twenty percent reduction in funding for public functions -- $68,593

21. Twenty-five percent reduction in funding for contributions to other agencies -- $85,163

22. Eliminate funding for CSAFE after-school program -- a $62,000 request was pared down to $55,000

23. Eliminate funding of the Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership (HNDP) and the Hagerstown Home Store -- each organization requested $50,000. HNDP was denied. The Home Store's request was granted in full.

24. Advertising, marketing and promotions reductions -- $26,863

25. Decreased funding of staff training and professional development -- $117,683

26. Eliminate annual National League of Cities dues -- $3,000

27. Reduction in annual debt service cost due deferral of capital project funding -- $193,095

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