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November 8, 2002     Cape Gazette
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November 8, 2002

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20 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Nov. 8. Nov. 14, 2002 Gov. Minner announces another round of budget cuts By Bridin Reynolds Hughes Gov. Ruth Ann Minner an- nounced Oct. 31 another $9 mil- lion in progress towards closing the state's budget gap: $7 million in agency cuts to the current year budget and $2 million in savings gained by a change in the process for paying the state's health insur- ance claims. "Today's announcement brings the total identified cuts and sav- ings to $25 million in the six weeks since DEFAC projected a $95 million gap between expected revenues and planned expendi- tures," said Minner. Agency cuts announced in- clude: $3.9 million from the Depart- ment of Education, mainly the re- suit of eliminating a plan to devel- op a sample test for the Delaware State Testing Program, and sav- ings due to delays in educator ac- countability. $1.6 million from Delaware Health and Social Services, from employee vacancies, using carry- over funds from previous years to fund this year's services and sav- ings due to the delay in a new service delivery assessment pro- gram. $225,000 from the courts and $80,000 from the Public Defend- er. $ I 17,000 additionally from the governor's office. Minner also announced $2 mil- lion in savings from reengineering the way the state pays its health insurance claims. "This is money that had been sitting as a deposit - for years - with one of the state's health in- surance carriers. It was there in case there was ever a lapse be- tween the time when the state's carders paid health care providers and the state reimbursed the carri- ers for paying those claims," Min- net said. "Now, the state will essentially pay health care providers directly rather than going through the health insurance carriers, This means the $2 million deposit is no longer needed and it will be re- to the state." Minner had previously an- nounced that she would reduce the projected gap between revenue Seminar on open space, resource protection set Nov. 25 at UD's Virden Center in Lewes Coastal development and open spaces - are they mutually exclu- sive? Sussex County saw an al- most 40 percent growth in popula- tion in the 1990s, mostly in the coastal area. This growth in popu- lation was necessarily coupled with a period of unprecedented residential and commercial devel- opment. Although this growth has stimulated the local economy, there is increased public concern that the natural amenities that ini- tiaily drew people to this area are being lost. On Monday, Nov. 25, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., a seminar on Community Planning for Open Space and Natural Resource Pro- tection will be held at the Univer- sity of Delaware's Virden Center on the Hugh R. Sharp campus in Lewes. The event is being organ- ized by the UD Sea Grant College Program and the Greater Lewes Foundation. Other sponsors in- clude the Center for the Inland Bays, Delaware Coastal Pro- grams, Sussex County Council, Positive Growth Alliance, Citi- zens CoaLition and the Delaware chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The purpose of the seminar is to suggest ways that communities and citizens can work together to incorporate plans for open space and protect natural resources as development continues. It is geared to local planning officials, developers, environmentalists as well as interested public. Presen- tations by land use planners and environmental educators from na- tional and local programs will be featured. "Places that were once open space - working farms with pas- toral views, coastal areas with panoramic vistas of the bays and coastline, quiet country roads, are being converted to residential de- velopments, retail outlets, schools and workplaces," said Joe Farrell, a marine resource management specialist for the UD Sea Grant College Program and one of the seminar organizers. "How long can this level of growth be sus- tainecL and what will be left?" "As development continues, it is more important that ever to plan for open space," Farrell said. "It serves vital functions in our com- munities, such as natural resource management and protection, out- door recreation, areas that protect Continued on page 21 and expenditures by cutting 3 per- cent of discretionary spending in state agencies, implementing an intensive hiring review before state employee vacancies are filled, reviewing all purchase or- ders and halting or delaying those that are not necessary, and contin- uing to find opportunities to re- engineer government operations. Minner reported that in the past six weeks she has only authorized the hiring of 50 state workers, in- cluding 41 direct care staff in state hospitals, two nurses and five 911 operators. Minner also said she has stopped for review more than $450,000 in purchases by state agencies. She said she will con- tinue to announce cuts as she de- cides them, but that Delaware has not yet taken the kind of drastic actions other states have been forced to take. "We look at other states right now and we see Virginia, which has laid off 1,800 workers and closed DMV offices one day a week. We see Idaho cutting back tours and services at state parks. We see Illinois closing work camps and prisons. And many states raiding emergency funds or raising taxes," she said. "To this point, Delaware has not done any of these things," she said. "That's because we have worked for close to two years now at cutting costs and doing more with less. That's why each time I announce a round of cuts - each tougher than the last - I say that the toughest decisions are yet to come. So I say it again today - the toughest decisions are yet to come." Thistles Gallery of Limited Edition Graphics, original oils, art glass & jewelry 203 2nd. St. 644-2323 Lewes, De Open Daily Children's & Infants' Fine Clothing . Premle to size 14 Holiday Dresses & Suits. are here! Fall clothing arriving daily Christening Gowns Tuxedos Jewelry- Dress Coats Funwear- Accessories FREE Holiday Gift Wrapping Baby Gift Registry Gift Certificates "The Baby-Friendly Store" Peddler's V'dlage - next to Donut Connection Mon.- Sat. 10-5 Thurs. 10-8 Other hours by appt. 947-4852