As the Takoma Park City Council tries to reach agreement on the fiscal 1981 municipal budget, the mood among residents, city staff members and the council itself is cautious.
The proposed total figure of $2,916,228 represents an increase of about 9.2 percent over last year's spending, according to City Administrator Herb Gilsdorf.
"Inflation is catching up with us," he said at a public hearing this week. "There are no new (staff) positions, no blue-sky programs. We're just trying to keep up."
The increase would be offset by revenue from a 10-cent increase in the property tax rate and a new tax levied on corporate property such as office equipment and cars. Takoma Park is one of the last jurisdictions in Maryland that does not already have this form of corporate tax.
Residents were asked to comment on the proposed library, code enforcement and public-works budgets. The only item for which residents asked additional spending was in library acquisitions, for which $22,029 is reserved in the budget. This is a modest increase over the $20,420 budgeted last year. i
"I realize we're in an era of rapidly expanding costs," said Robert Mulligan of Garland Avenue. "But I'm really surprised at the modesty of a budget like the library's. How can we maintain the same level of services?"
The time reserved for consideration of the code enforcement budget, on the other hand, was used by residents to complain about that office's effectiveness.
"I am not satisfied with code enforcement in Takoma Park," said Alan Marsh of Maple Avenue. "For years we've had the fox taking care of the chickens. The office has been closer to the landlords than to the citizens making complaints."
Councilman Vernon Ricks Jr. suggested that code enforcement procedures in Takoma Park be reviewed.
A public hearing on proposed recreation, administration and police spending is scheduled for May 27. The City Council must then approve a final budget.