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The Town of Sykesville's budget formation process will be more structured now that the mayor and Town Council this week approved a plan to combine budget committees and give the mayor and council more oversight.

With a 6-0 vote at the Oct. 26 meeting, Mayor Mike Miller and the council created a new Budget Research Committee, which combines the roles of the Capital Improvement Plan and Operational Budget committees. Councilman Scott Sanzone was absent from the vote.

Miller proposed the new actions that will have the council consider budget requests from department heads, determine which requests are included and prioritize the requests.

"I thought the mayor and Town Council would like to meet and go over these requests and determine which ones will be included in the CIP process and prioritize these requests," Miller said.

The town will also create a new committee of five residents to work on budget requests.

The mayor will serve as liaison to that committee. No council members will be allowed on the committee, but may attend meetings.

Under the new process, if a resident wants an item to be considered that is not listed in the budget, they must contact a council member to "sponsor" the item to be introduced.

Previously, budget committees would hear all requests and decide what would be added or cut, then pass it on to the council for approval. At times, budget committee members complained the process was repetitive.

The mayor and council will conduct a special meeting, 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16 at the Town House, to determine what budget requests will be handled by the committee, as well as set goals and objectives for the committee.

Residents interested in serving on the committee may send a letter of interest to Town Manager Matt Candland, Town House, 7547 Main St., Sykesville, MD, 21784. The committee is slated to first meet in mid December.

Amended town budget adopted

Also at the Oct. 26 meeting, the mayor and council voted 6-0 to adopt an amended town budget for fiscal 2010.

Since the last meeting, the council had been tasked with trimming $32,000 from its $2.8 million budget.

About $4,800 was cut from expenses to send staff and council members to the Maryland Municipal League convention in Ocean City; $15,000 was cut from the employee health insurance plan; and $15,000 was cut from the retirement account, Candland said.

The town is also considering reducing the Old Main Line Post Office hours, but that requires U.S. Postal Service approval.

Overall, the council cut $200,000 from its budget and re-allocated revenues to cover losses.

The shortfall comes from state cuts of $167,000 in highway user funds for road maintenance and $17,000 in police aid.


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