Harford County Executive David R. Craig issued the following statement regarding the FY 11 fund balance and proposed one-time pay bonus pending approval before the Harford County Council.
“Much of this week I have spent with the County Treasurer, the Director of Administration, and others meeting with the bond rating organizations in New York as we work to maintain Harford County’s strong financial position and a AAA bond rating. Regretfully, I was unable to attend the Harford County Council session this week to personally present our request for the one-time pay bonus for county employees, but my absence was due to the critical meetings we’ve had in New York promoting the financial strength and position of Harford County.
Over the course of the past three years, Harford County employees have risen to the challenge and made personal sacrifices necessary to help keep government solvent and working for the community and citizens we serve. As a result of their dedication and selfless efforts, they have not received a pay increase in more than three years, and have also had to absorb incremental increases in their health care premiums and pension benefits.
The proposed one-time pay bonus to county employees, which is not a pay raise, will come from a fund balance which Harford County has as a result of strong conservative budgeting, and through effective and efficient fiscal management by departments of county government, as well as the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Harford County Public Library, and Harford County Public Schools. Additionally it is my intention, working cooperatively with Council President Boniface and the Harford County Council, to fund one-time capital projects which will result in long-term cost savings to taxpayers, by not bonding such projects over the course of several years.
During the past few years the citizens of our great county have asked for and received tax relief from this Administration and the County Council. Furthermore, during this unprecedented period in our country’s history, Harford County has grown the economy, diversified our economic base, and created jobs, while at the same time we lowered the property tax rate twice, reduced the tax cap, and limited the size of government. I am extremely proud of how Harford County has handled the economic crisis during this difficult time.
Our citizens are fortunate to have quality, dedicated, and outstanding public employees working each day to help improve the quality of life for those who work, live, and raise a family in Harford County.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the support and cooperation the Administration has received from labor on the one-time pay bonus proposal, notably AFSCME, MCEA, the Harford County Deputies Association and the Harford County Correctional Officers Association. I appreciate their support for this proposal.
In concluding, I appreciate the time Council President Boniface and his colleagues are taking in considering this legislation. The Administration also took time to carefully consider this proposal and fiscal implications prior to our announcement of the proposal in October of this year. I am committed to seeking this one-time pay bonus for county employees and look forward to working with Council President Boniface and members of the Harford County Council to do so.”