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Council Approves Budget with More for Employees, Caregivers

New REDI director introduced; council zeroing in on city manager.

The Rockville City Council on Monday adopted a roughly $107 million operating budget and $70 million capital budget for fiscal 2013. 

The vote was unanimous but was preceded by a lengthy debate about spending and the prospect of tax increases in fiscal 2014.

The council’s final budget discussion included approval of a 2 percent salary increase for city staff, with a 1 percent salary increase for 13 senior staff members. Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, backed by Councilwoman Bridget Donnell Newton, made the proposal for the first time on Monday.

The council also approved another Marcuccio proposal that shifts $17,990 from the Rockville Emergency Assistance Program fund to several community caregiver agencies as follows:

“This does not cause the budget to have any changes whatsoever other than the shifting of REAP money to these particular units,” Marcuccio said.

REAP is the only caregiver program with an associated special revenue account in the city budget, city community services manager Carlos E. Aparicio wrote in a May 8 memo to acting city manager Jennifer Kimball. That allows the city to carry over unused funds from year to year, Aparicio wrote.

Council members Mark Pierzchala and Tom Moore opposed the salary increases, saying the city cannot afford them given the current tax rate and the projections of decreasing property tax revenues in the coming year.

“We, I think, made a reckless decision to add to the permanent salary costs to the city without any way to pay for it,” said Moore, who proposed a 3.6 percent salary increase for city staff with a commensurate 2.6 percent tax increase. That proposal failed on a 4 to 1 vote.

The spending plan for fiscal 2013, which begins July 1, maintains the real property tax rate of 29.2 cents per $100 of assessed value for all properties. But council members have warned that in order to balance the budget in fiscal 2014.

With the council’s decision “a possible $2 million deficit has become a $2.3 million deficit,” Moore said. “I’ve been concerned about the [fiscal] 2014 budget all the way along here. My concern has gotten deeper here tonight. I don’t think it’s anything we can’t take care of next year, but we’ve just made our job a lot harder.”

Pierzchala said he found it “very disturbing” that the council would make budget changes so late in the process without knowing the full ramifications or knowing how the city would pay for the pay increases in the future.

Pierzchala said that while the budget process had been “great” for the majority of the budget season, he was “more than dissatisfied with the last two weeks. I am actually shocked. I better not say anything further.”

New REDI director

Laurie Boyer was introduced Monday as the new executive director of Rockville Economic Development, Inc.

“Rockville has a lot of great things going on and I think a lot of potential,” said Boyer, who was on her first day on the job with the city’s nonprofit economic development agency.

Boyer is the former director of Frederick County’s Office of Economic Development and is president of the Maryland Economic Development Association.

“I want to assure you that we have a wonderful, dynamic woman coming to us,” said Pierzchala, who serves as an ex officio member of the REDI board. Boyer was the board’s unanimous choice, he said.

In March, Boyer was named one of The Daily Record’s 2012 “Maryland’s Top 100 Women.”

Click here to view the full list.

In an interview last year with The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr, Boyer discussed the challenges of attracting businesses to Frederick County.

Click here to view the interview.

Sally Sternbach , when she became deputy director of the county’s Department of Economic Development. She looked back on her tenure in a series of articles on Rockville Patch earlier this year.

Click here to read the series.

Council narrows its city manager search

The Rockville City Council has narrowed its search for a city manager to three finalists, acting city manager Jennifer Kimball said.

Kimball did not name the finalists.

The finalists have been invited to meet with the council, senior city staff and the public on June 1 and June 2. Residents are invited to a community reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on June 2 at the to meet the candidates and provide input for the council to consider in their selection.

Rockville operates under a council-manager form of government. The city manager provides management and administrative support for the day-to-day business of the city, including carrying out policy enacted by the City Council.

Kimball has on Dec. 2.

Richmond, VA-based Springsted, Inc. is conducting the search for a new city manager under a $20,800 contract with the city.

Rocky May 23, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Can we assume that Hall and Newton agree with the Mayor?
Jim Coyle May 23, 2012 at 09:40 PM
John, Thanks for thre information that Post 117 researched and reported on. Has this been made public? The data you cited refutes all the myths, innuendos, amd falsehoods that certain folks have used to accuse City staff of not providing them with factual information. I hope it will be publicized.
joe May 24, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Jim, the Lodge hired and paid for an outside economist to get the data John refers to. If anyone is interested, they can listen to both John and Amy (the economist) testify at CF on May 14. She did what we have to in order to get the data...dig it out as best we can from the information posted on the City website. I can't say whether or not Gavin or any other City staff person aided in the research. For all those so quick to criticize Councilmember Newton, she has been citing the same data for the past three years, asking the same questions. It is safe to say some data asked for has yet to be provided. As for the criticism directed toward Mayor Marcuccio, what former councilmember and past Mayoral candidate Gajewski says is true...she voted against pay increases 4 or 5 years ago. That was at a time when our country hit bottom....millions lost jobs and no one in private or public sectors were getting raises. Susan Hoffmann did indeed vote to raise salaries at a time when no one else was, as did you, Mr. Britton and Mr. Pierzchala. One reason Marcuccio defeated Hofmann in the Mayoral race was because of the vote on pay increases. I would like to know why Mr. Pierzchala has a different view this year. How long can he and Mr. Moore keep their heads buried in the sand....when is it the right time to finally do the right thing for City employees?
joe May 24, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Mr. Gajewski has used words such as "decidedly" and "inevitable", referring to a need to raise taxes in FY 2014, words that mean "without doubt" and "impossible to prevent or avoid". What crystal ball does he have to make such statements? Based on history, the City's ultra-conservative budgeting process will somehow "find" funds that are needed to pay for this additional 1% (yes, 1%) increase, and the sun will still rise in the East. If you all are looking for something to gripe about, what about the 11th hour surprise that we taxpayers are footing the bill for Pierzchala and a staff member to go to China. I can think of many ways I would like to see over $7000 spent. It is unprecedented for the City to cover these costs for anything other than a recognized, actual Sister-City, of which Rockville has one.
Dawn Budd November 14, 2012 at 07:06 PM
John and Ms Defino -- Thank you John for your support of the employees of the City of Rockville -- What is not mentioned in this article are the facts that this was a cost-of-lving raise AND that the performance raises have been rescinded for the last two years. So workers who recieve Highly Satisfactory in their Performance reviews for the last two years, have received $0 in the salary increases that they were supposed to get.

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