The Montgomery County Council introduced a resolution this week asking government agencies to impose partial hiring freezes for the remainder of the 1979 fiscal year.
Council members said a freeze would soften the blow if the tax-cutting charter referendum TRIM is passed by voters in November.
The resolution, which is expected to be approved by the council Tuesday, asks the agencies to fill not more than half the newly authorized or currently vacant positions and not more than a third of the jobs that become vacant in the remainder of the fiscal year.
The council cannot impose a hiring freeze or otherwise tell the agencies how to spend their 1979 budgets now that the money has been allocated.
"What we're saying is, help us now wiht our revenue shortages or we'll have to come after you in the 1980 budget," said council member Neal Potter, who suggested the resolution.
The council has estimated that at current tax rates, the county will carryover a $21-million deficit into 1980 because of inflation, increased debt service and higher Metro payments. In addition, the council has warned that TRIM, which would roll back property tax rates 35 cents, would create a minimum revenue loss of $26 million for the county.
The council has been a severe critic of TRIM, which is Question E on the ballot. Potter conceded that the resolution, offered just two weeks before election day, is another reminder of the "damage TRIM will do."
As recently as three weeks ago , council member John Menke proposed practically the same idea, as he had done in his successful race for the Democratic nomination for county executive. But three weeks ago, he noted wryly, the idea was greeted by "dead slience."
The resolution asks that the agencies "wherever possible . . . institute or increase fees to cover the cost of services." It does not estimate how many positions would be left vacant under the plan nor what fees would be imposed. It further suggests that part-time employes be recruited if the agencies find it impossible to completely freeze the vacant positions