- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Charles County government is projecting about $727,000 less in revenues than initially expected, a figure largely driving a projected deficit as the county approaches its annual budgeting process, staff told the county commissioners Tuesday.
But the situation for the budget, which totals $325.6 million, might be less severe than it looks, Fiscal and Administrative Services Director Deborah Hudson said as she presented mid-year budget projections for fiscal 2013, which began July 1, 2012.
Commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) noted that county government departments were also projected to spend less than their budgets, and “assuming they follow that trend, [and] we encourage them to follow that trend, we could fill that gap?”
“We budget conservatively. We certainly hope there will be some savings at the end of the [2013 fiscal] year,” Hudson replied, adding that she hoped county departments would “conserve throughout the year” to help make up the shortfall.
Last year’s violent storms also added to the strain on the budget, as did decisions in Annapolis to cut funding to local governments, Hudson said.
“We have had unprecedented weather events, and we have had unprecedented impacts from the states,” Hudson said. “We had check up-calls from rating agencies, [asking] ‘How are you faring with the fund balance given the impact from the state?’”
The county also has money to pay unexpected expenses, which helps protect the county’s credit rating.
“Basically, what you’re saying is that anything catastrophic that is coming down the pike, we are protected,” said Commissioner Ken Robinson.
“That is correct,” Hudson replied.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is projected to overspend its $69.1 million budget by $550,000 but also to raise more money than projected. Both expectations arise from the county speed-camera program, said Budget Chief David Eicholtz.
The board of education is expected to exactly meet its $167.2 million budget, documents state.