News From Councilman Chuck Ferrar..."Bulldozer or Shovel...Start Digging..." ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, June 10, 2010

News From Councilman Chuck Ferrar..."Bulldozer or Shovel...Start Digging..."

(The below is taken from a news release from Ferrar's office.....Hey--I don't get paid enough to write everything on here by myself...)

Councilman Ferrar Succeeds in Trimming Council Members’ Benefits

Anne Arundel County Councilman Charles (Chuck) Ferrar, Democrat from District 6, won a victory for fiscal responsibility Monday night, as the Council voted in favor of legislation eliminating certain fringe benefits previously provided to Council members. Having recently passed a budget balanced precariously on one-time funds, the Council voted 6-0 to eliminate car allowances for all Council members and health benefits for Council Members first appointed or elected after July 1, 2009. An additional bill which would eliminate retirement benefits for Council members was amended at the hearing and will be voted on at an upcoming Council meeting.
Councilman Ferrar stated he was pleased that he was able to unify the Council in support of the measures that he sponsored and that they could take these initial steps to rein in some of the unnecessary spending in the County budget. “We’ve got a long way to go to solve the County’s deficit for next year, but you’ve got to start somewhere and I felt that fiscal responsibility should begin at home, with us,” said Ferrar. “Since we’ve been busy voting on furloughs for county employees and asking the police and firemen to contribute more to their benefits, I didn’t think it was unreasonable that the Council should tighten its belt as well.”

Certain members of the Council had previously voiced objections to the benefit cuts, suggesting it would be harder to attract quality candidates to the Council. Ferrar responded by stating he thought “public service was supposed to be just that, service.” The current retirement plan for County Council members provides any member of the Council who serves at least 5 years 10% of their salary upon retirement. Ferrar stated that the amount may seem minimal, but that it adds up when you consider all of the former Council members. “It’s time to put an end to it,” Ferrar said, “I can’t justify this to my constituents who have worked 20 or 30 years in the same jobs and have no retirement benefits at all.”

While the total savings from the three measures has been estimated to be about $150,000 annually, Ferrar stressed the fact that every dollar counts towards the bottom line. “When you’ve got a budget buried under the deficit we’re facing, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a bulldozer or a shovel, the important thing is that you start digging.” Balanced on approximately $50 million in one-time funds, the County budget is facing a significant deficit next year. Ferrar said he hopes the Council can continue to work together to find other areas of savings. “This is just the beginning, and while I’m pleased we came together for this small victory, I’ll be even happier when we’ve solved all of our budget problems.”

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