The following were among actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Montgomery County Council. For more information, call 217-7900.
COUNCIL OFFICERS -- The new nine-member council, participating in the first regular session since taking the oath of office Monday, selected second-term member Isiah Leggett as its president for the coming year.
Leggett, who replaces William E. Hanna Jr., is the first African-American to serve on the council and is a law professor at Howard University.
In a prepared statement, Leggett listed his priorities for the coming year, among them: finding the resources necessary to educate Montgomery's growing school population, resolving the controversial revitalization plan for downtown Silver Spring, making environmentally sensitive decisions on solid waste and stormwater management, and creating new, "fair" funding sources for a county entering a period of financial strain.
As president, Leggett will be responsible for setting the council agenda and guiding the meetings.
The council also selected second-term member Bruce A. Adams as vice president.
BUDGET SHORTFALL -- By next June 30, the end of the current fiscal year, Montgomery County will suffer a budget shortfall of about $65 million, county budget director Robert Kendal predicted in a report to the council.
Earlier this fall, county officials had predicted the deficit would run between $41.5 million and $72 million.
Kendal said the shortfall can be limited through a number of adjustments. An estimated $6 million can be saved through the county's hiring freeze, with additional savings from a freeze on certain travel, equipment purchases and contracts.
In budget readjustments the county expects to take $20 million from its surplus fund and finance $29 million in county road projects with bonds rather than financing the projects in the annual budget. Kendal said that by the end of June, with the savings and budget transfers, the county should actually have a $17 million surplus. Before the financial difficulties were known, county officials hadpredicted a budget surplus of $46.5 million.
The county's budget shortfall is due not to any major drop in county property tax revenues, but largely to a drop in revenue from other county taxes, including income taxes.
County income taxes are expected to be $43 million below estimates, as seen by a significant drop in withholding taxes this year and a drop in income taxes paid for 1989, which were due last spring and are still coming in. Real estate transfer taxes and recordation taxes are also lagging by $17 million, due largely to slow real estate sales and lower property values, Kendal said. Other revenue, including the county's income from its investments, is $5 million less than anticipated, he said.