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The way the majority of the state's budget cuts shape up, Carroll County will be facing some bumpy roads.

About $6.9 million of the $8 million in cuts to Carroll announced Aug. 26 come from the state's Highway User Revenue fund, which pays for road construction and maintenance.

How to maintain roads with 90 percent less money is a mystery, said Mike Evans, director of Carroll County's Department of Public Works.

"We obviously need to maintain the roads, and I'm sure we won't neglect that, but the resources to do that? I don't know," he said.

Evans said he's not sure yet what county projects will have to be delayed or perhaps scrapped. But he's not counting on the $2.3 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds to be part of the solution.

"I really don't want to use the stimulus money as an alternate source of income," he said.

Evans said he "absolutely" thinks highway maintenance will be more difficult than this year, "unless someone figures out how to get a whole bunch of money from some other place."

Ted Zaleski, the county's director of Office of Management and Budget, said the existing state problem could get worse, and that would impact Carroll County even more.

He noted that federal stimulus money to states will vanish in fiscal year 2012, and that's going to be where problems could mount.

"There's every reason to think that what is still out there to deal with is bigger than what we're facing now," he said.

Health Department shortfall

Carroll County Health Officer Larry Leitch said this week he's closed the gap on the majority of the state's cuts to his department, but more questions remain.

The $663,382 cut is to the core funding of the department -- disease control and medical aspects of public health and environmental health, he said.

But to help compensate for the cuts, the state Department of Mental Health and Hygiene has allowed the county to access money from grants, he said.

"We think we have substantially closed the gap through the $663,000 shortfall," he said. "We're not there yet, but we think we can get there."

Either no layoffs or one layoff may occur as a result of the core funding cuts, he said.

The second part of state cuts affect the Cigarette Restitution Fund, he said. That money goes toward cancer testing with focus on colon cancer, he said. The tobacco cessation program and clinics have taken a 25 percent cut, he said.

"We may be able to keep staff, but they'll have nothing to do anything with," he said, so staff in that area may have to be laid off.

Leitch must also figure out scheduling to balance furloughs with vaccination clinics. In addition to seasonal flu clinics, Leitch said he needs to concentrate on H1N1 (swine flu) vaccination clinics.

He is recruiting a "small army" of nurses from schools, about 500 nurses from Carroll County Hospital, second-year nursing students at Carroll Community College and more.

He's halfway at his goal of 100 nurses, and still hasn't met with the hospital and college groups to make job offers.

Community college doing OK

Carroll Community College's $362,954 cut from the state only represents 1 percent of the college's budget, according to Alan Schuman, executive vice-president of administration.

Thanks to a 10-percent enrollment increase, tuition funds from those additional students appear to close that gap, he said.

"At this stage, we think we'll probably generate $250,000 in tuition in excess of what the budget was built on," he said.

Still, the college is taking steps in case more cuts will be made.

"We put in place additional criteria for limiting conference travel, so few, if any, will get approval for conferences outside of the state," he said.

College administration is evaluating vacant positions to determine whether they can be left unfilled or if the college can hire part-time staff. It's also reviewing equipment purchases.

"We're uncertain if there may yet be another state reduction," Schuman said. "There's some thought there could be additional reductions announced in the late fall and December."

Police aid

The state also cut $562,269 in local police aid, which is divvied out to various municipal police forces, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and resident state trooper program.

Zaleski said those cuts will be divided by the state's formula.

Other cuts imposed by the state will impact Carroll County via state-run services.

For instance, this past Friday, both the Carroll County Health Department and the Board of Elections closed as part of state furlough days, in which state employees will take days off with no pay.


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