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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


May 12, 2011

Contradicting the Detractors

Blaine R. Young

When the Board of County Commissioner's began preparation for the 2012 budget, it did so by not only addressing the $11.8 million general fund deficit, and the fire tax fund deficit, but also by addressing head-on the structural deficit, commonly called OPEB (Other Post Employee Benefits) trust fund.

 

When this board took office it started with a $31 million proposed base structural deficit. For FY 2012, the commissioners committed to fully fund the final year of the five-year phase-in model. While the county could have saved about $4.6 million in FY 2012 by converting to an eight-year phase-in, this would have prolonged the ramp-up period and ultimately would have cost the county more money through the loss of investment revenue compounded at a lower rate of return.

 

With the five-year ramp up now funded, the county can look forward to relatively stable OPEB contributions that should fluctuate only by changes in healthcare cost and the addition or reduction of employees.

 

The commissioners also kept a close eye on the county pension plan which is funded at over 80%. This is seen – and recommended – as the safe zone by county consultants and advisors. But the commissioners will continue to work to make improvements to raise this percentage.

 

If governments across the country are not addressing their structural deficits, their OPEB responsibilities and their pension plan, then they are just blowing smoke.

 

In a future column I will go into details of the county's pension plan and retiree healthcare costs and responsibilities for the county and the individual. To address these issues and to balance the budget, the commissioners had to make cuts and because of certain cuts already made, they have come under criticism for not being compassionate and caring for the poor and low-income population of the county.

 

I have always said "what right do we as county commissioners have to make a forced contribution on behalf of the taxpayer. It is their money, not ours." There are many worthy and wonderful non-profits and charities that you and I give to on a regular basis. But what gives the right to the government to pick and choose which non-profits and charities are worthy?

 

(A wonderful article that does a great job in looking at this issue is written by Dr. Walter Williams can be found here: http://appalachianconservative.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/walter-williams-quotes-on-government-capitalism-and-liberty/)

 

Below you can see what programs to aid the poor and low-income population are in the 2012 proposed budget. It provides proof that contradicts what some believe, that there is nothing in the FY2012 budget to assist these segments of our population.

 

Now, will reductions have to be made in the 2013 budget? Without question this will happen because there is a projected $16 million deficit and about a $3 million shortfall in the fire tax fund.

 

As I said during last year’s campaign, the next several years will be about the budget, the budget and the budget. I do have compassion – compassion for the taxpayer; and if we do not lower taxes by 10% before we leave office then we have failed.

 

COUNTY PROGRAMS SERVING LOW INCOME POPULATION

FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND

FISCAL YEAR 2012 (as of May 9, 2011)

 

         FY2012                                        FY2011

DEPARTMENT                                                                                   RECOMMENDED                           ADOPTED

 

HEALTH SERVICES

Health Core Services*                                                   1,864,502                                        $1,932,916

(Admin, Dental, Personal Care, Environmental

 Health Maternal Child Health, Communicable

Disease, Chronic Disease, Substance Abuse,

Health Access)

Mental Health Program                                                   421,533                                           1,380,517

TOTAL HEALTH SERVICES                                             2,286,035                                         3,313,433

____________________________________________________________________________________

TRANSIT

Transit                                                                       145,075                                              152,714

____________________________________________________________________________________

CITIZENS SERVICES

Citizens Services Administration                                        385,960                                             354,897

Department of Aging                                                        332,141                                             408,824

Family Partnership                                                           243,228                                             298,364

Head Start (Includes bldg maintenance of 4 locations)             94,000                                             151,527

Housing                                                                         289,008                                             393,843

Office of Children and Families                                             97,180                                               97,180

Child Advocacy Center**                                                  254,826                                             268,825

TOTAL CITIZENS SERVICES                                           1,696,343                                          1,973,460

____________________________________________________________________________________

INDEPENDENT & OTHER NON COUNTY AGENCIES:

Social Services                                                                747,610                                          1,078,771

____________________________________________________________________________________

GRANT-IN-AID AGENCIES:

Advocates for the Homeless                                               16,245                                             22,564

Cakes for Cause                                                                5,625                                               7,500

Emmitsburg Early Learning Center                                        20,306                                             27,075

Frederick Alliance for Youth                                                 6,586                                                      0

Goodwill Industries                                                            10,688                                             14,250

Heartly House/Healthy Families Frederic                                10,875                                                5,000

Hope Alive, Inc.                                                                 4,335                                                       0

 MHA – CASA                                                                     4,275                                                5,415

MHA - Counseling Services                                                  17,100                                             21,660

 

Religious Coalition - Pharmacy Assistance                               43,950                                              58,662

Religious Coalition - Shelter Program                                      47,850                                              63,835

Seton Center                                                                    28,172                                              45,125

Villa Maria/Associated Catholic Charities                                 15,839                                              21,118

TOTAL GRANT-IN-AID                                                      231,846                                              292,204

____________________________________________________________________________________

NON-COUNTY AGENCIES:

Department of Social Services                                                  0                                              108,536

 

NON-DEPARTMENTAL:

Transfer to Other Funds

 

Montevue Home Fund                                                   2,112,275                                         2,106,845

 

Transfer to Grants

Department of Aging                                            908,775                                             928,437

Family Partnership                                               560,927                                             911,008

Head Start                                                                 0                                           2,256,569

Housing                                                             13,324                                                11,752

Office of Children & Families                                 278,791                                              276,527

Child Advocacy Center**                                       8,361                                                32,953

Transit                                                          1,491,147                                            1,592,256

TOTAL TRANSFER TO GRANTS                                      3,261,325                                            6,009,502

 

TOTAL GENERAL FUND                                              10,480,509                                           15,035,465

 

 

Housing Initiatives Fund                                             483,915                                               324,073

 

This fund was originally funded by the general fund, but is now using fund balance for all programs.

 

Bell Court                                                                    111,951                                                100,496

 

This is a self-sufficient enterprise, funded by rental income.

 

* Although these agencies/departments do not target low-income households, approximately half of participants are low income.

 

** Although these agencies/departments do not target low-income households, the majority of participants are low income.

 

 



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