The following were among items discussed at Tuesday's meeting of the Montgomery County Council. For more information, call 217-6600.
LIBRARY BUDGET -- The council, by a vote of 5 to 2, rejected a proposal to add $400,000 to the county's budget for library books and materials, as requested by County Executive Sidney Kramer.
In setting the library budget last spring, the council earmarked $3.4 million for books and materials -- a 12 percent increase over the $3.1 million allocated in the previous fiscal year. Kramer requested the supplementary funding in response to complaints by the county library system that its purchase of books has not kept pace with that of other jurisdictions and that more money was needed to make up for inadequate library budgets in the past.
But the council decided against the additional funding, citing a bleak economic report issued earlier in the day by the Kramer administration estimating that the county could incur a $41 million to $60 million budget shortfall this fiscal year, and a deficit of more than $100 million by the end of the next fiscal year.
Council members Micahel L. Subin and Rose Crenca voted to provide the additional money, while council President William E. Hanna Jr. and members Bruce T. Adams, Michael L. Gudis, Isiah Leggett and Neal Potter voted against it.
POLICE CARS -- The council agreed to spend $1.2 million for 66 new radio-equipped police cars that officers will drive on the job and to and from their homes. In supporting the purchase, council members said the cars could boost the attractiveness of recruitment packages for new officers and provide a display of police presence in neighborhoods.
The unanimous decision came after prolonged complaints from the county police union about the need for better equipment for county police officers. Currently 410 officers take home their patrol cars. County Executive Kramer agreed to buy the cars after the police union threatened a vote of no confidence against Police Chief Donald E. Brooks. The funds for the purchase are to come from the county's group insurance budget, which has not needed as much money as allocated, according to Robert K. Kendal, director of the county's Office of Management and Budget.
RECYCLED PAPER -- A council committee today will take up the issue of whether to require the council to use recycled paper for all official business.
On Tuesday, the council sent the measure to committee, where it will be discussed with a similar measure, proposed by council member Neal Potter, that would require all county departments to use recycled paper for a portion of their printed materials.
The committee meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.