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Carroll Fiscal Court held the first reading of the 2009-2010 budget during its May 12 meeting. Totaling $11,014,888, the budget is less than the previous year, according to Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson.
“Last year’s budget was over $12 million,” Tomlinson said. “I based this budget on a tax rate of 4.5 percent instead of 4.9 percent, which is where we were in the last budget.”
Although the county must cut back in certain areas the new budget includes contributions of $30,000 to each fire department in the county, and $20,000 to each of the small communities.
“I think it’s significant that we’re able to keep those allocations at that level because a lot of communities are really struggling,” Tomlinson said. “We feel it’s really important to provide continued support for our emergency services and for our small communities.”
The new budget includes a carryover of $400,000 to help with renovations at the Carroll County Memorial Hospital. The allocation was written into the 2008-2009 budget, “but we never did use it last year,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson asked if any of the magistrates had spoken with officials from any surrounding counties about the fiscal status of those counties. All said they had. Some county governments are having to drastically cut the amount of contributions to some organizations, they said.
“We’re very fortunate to be in the position we’re in,” Tomlinson told the magistrates.
He noted that interest earned totaled $152,296.69 on invest ments in certificates of deposit made by county government in the past year.
“The way that we invest our money, the way we have our accounts set up, money that we know we’re not going to be allocating right away we invest in CDs until we need that money,” Tomlinson explained. “That’s a pretty good amount that we’ve been able to earn on investments.”
The budget was forwarded to the state for review, and already returned to the judge-executive’s office, according to Tomlinson. “I like to get it to them early,” he said, “before most of the counties get theirs in.” Fiscal Court may finalize its spending plans for the coming year at its May 26 meeting or the first meeting in June, Tomlinson said.
In other business before fiscal court, only one bid package was received for a bridge replacement project on Lewis Road at Ghent. Luhn and Oak Construction, of Carrollton, presented a bid of $247,909.60 to install a precast concrete bridge structure.
An alternate bid to install a steel bridge with an open grid floor, 16 feet wide by 70 feet long, was $120,000. Fiscal court tabled the bid for review with an engineering consultant.