The Prince George's County Council formally approved the Maryland - National Capital Park and Planning budget this week, automatically creating a 5-cent reduction in the county tax rate.
The council took $2.54 million from the proposed $23.9 million budget, cutting heavily into the administrative side of the MNCPP operation, to maintain adequate funding for parks.
The 5-cent reduction lowers the tax rate to 36.97 cents per $100 of assessed value. This would mean a savings of $25 on a $50,000 assessment.
The council also put $922,000 into a reserve fund to keep the lowered tax rate through 1979.
Council members said the budget would allow funding for planned parks without further acquisition of new parkland, and would do away with the "overload" on planners in the commission.
The reduction in the tax rate is expected to be coupled with a 10- to 15-cent reduction in the property tax if the council continues on its budget cutting spree, according to council sources.
It has already unofficially approved $5.4 million in tax cuts from the budget offered by County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr.
Last week the body took a look at the police and sheriff's departments and managed to trim $400,000 from them. With Sheriff Don Ansell claiming that "you could build a wall around the District of Columbia and get rid of the crime problem" he has to deal with, the council directed Ansell to also deal with a $154,940 cut in his budget.
"A good manager, given the resources, could see an increased productivity by using the positions that come open by attrition," said council member Parris N. Glendening. "You should be able to move those people around," he added in response to Ansell's claims of short staffing caused by the cuts in some clerical jobs.
Ansell said he was ready to "bite the apple" and swallow the council's decision but he was unsure "how he would have to live with it. I've got to go back over the whole thing and decide. Maybe take a look at cutting services."
Ansell's proposed budget of $4,816,389 was 23.8 per cent larger than last year's. The increase was due to the yearly $685.851 cost of running the old jail for Maryland state prisoners. Maryland reimburses the county for the deputies, food and care for the prisoners but the country must budget funds for the intitial outlay.
Good management techniques were again stressed by council chairman William B. Amonett in a response to complaints by Police Chief John W. Rhoads about the police budget.
"You have to use your collective expertise and imagination in jockeying the money around," said Amonett. "If the council never challenges you, that imagination doesn't come forth."
Council members were alternately praising, then gouging Rhoads over the budget. The $249,173 coming out of his $25,040,910 budget has a $60,000 hook wrapped around it - personnel.
Rhoads said the budget cuts may "cause some riffs (layoffs). We'll have to go back and look at the budget again."
Robert Wilson, the county executive's chief administrative officer who prepares and defends the budget, told the council he had already eliminated any "fat" or monetary flexibility in the police budget. "It is not a question of management, it is a question of arithmetic."
Council members stressed they wanted no uniformed officers in civilian positions, but Rhoads countered with "you can't take police officers away from those jobs unless you have the civilians to replace them."
Formal approval of the budget is expected on Friday.
In other council action, an $11.8 million bond sale was approved for general construction projects in the country.
The 200-bed bowie General Hospital, numerous libraries, additions to the community college, and general road and public works construction are included in the funding.
The bonds will be offered in June 1977.