2015 Budget Message
April 15, 2014
- Building a Foundation for Progress
- Legacy of Responsibility
- Efficiencies in Government
- Investments in Our Future
- Promises Kept
Budget Details (PDF)
Madam Chair, members of the Council, fellow employees, and citizens of our great County, it is my privilege to present to you Baltimore County’s proposed operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2015.
I begin by expressing my gratitude to our partners in government. First, to the Council — thank you for helping us build a foundation for progress in Baltimore County that will enhance our citizens’ quality of life long after we have left office.
With the recent adjournment of the General Assembly session, I thank our County’s legislative delegation for their hard work promoting our agenda in Annapolis, and specifically the respective delegation chairs, Senator Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate John Olszewski, Jr. I also wish to congratulate Senator Norman Stone upon the completion of his 52nd, and final, General Assembly session in service to our County.
I welcome CCBC President Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis, who is once again joining us today. Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance offered to reschedule his family vacation during this week’s spring break, but I told him we would mark him with an excused absence this morning.
I particularly want to thank Director Keith Dorsey, Deputy Director Ed Blades and every staff member in the Office of Budget and Finance for their hard work in preparing this budget. We are fortunate to have such dedicated public servants.
My greatest thanks, however, goes to each and every County employee. Day in and day out, whether rain, or sun, or snow, snow, and snow, your dedication to providing outstanding service to our County’s residents is remarkable. I am so proud of the job that each of you does.
And to all of our citizens, thank you for the honor to serve as your twelfth County Executive. Today marks the twentieth occasion that I have participated in the budget process, including this fourth opportunity as County Executive, in which I present to you Baltimore County’s Fiscal Year 2015 Operating and Capital Budgets.
Innovative, Responsible and Efficient
When we began our journey together four years ago, the economic climate was arid, at best. Our challenge was to carry on our tradition of responsible fiscal management while addressing the need for critical improvements within County government and throughout our communities. We embarked on a mission to be innovative, responsible and efficient, and so far, we have been successful.
Working together, we have accomplished a lot. In less than four years, we have streamlined County government by consolidating departments and services, making us more effective. We have modernized County government with extensive technology upgrades, allowing us to deliver services more efficiently while also saving taxpayer dollars. These moves allowed us to reduce the number of general government employees; we have a smaller workforce than we had in 1987, despite serving our largest population ever.
We also have worked with our labor bargaining groups to enact important pension and healthcare reforms that are fair to both County employees and taxpayers. In 2012, as part of our commitment to fiscal responsibility and to our employees, we took the bold step of lowering the County's evaluation rate from 7.875% to 7.25%, a move that protects our employees’ pensions. As you will hear shortly, we propose even further pension protections.
We’ve also worked hard to promote the economic development of our County, increasing our tax base and allowing us to maintain stable tax rates. Our careful belt-tightening and increased efficiency have allowed us to build a steady foundation for progress in our quest to modernize our schools, improve public safety and rebuild our aging infrastructure.
The past couple of years have been a very exciting time for our schools. I will outline our specific achievements in education shortly, but for now, I can simply note that we have made an historic commitment of capital dollars to reinvest in our schools.
When it comes to public safety, Baltimore County remains one of the safest communities in the nation, with crime rates at historic lows. Over the last four years, the County has recorded fewer total homicides than during any four-year period since Jimmy Carter was president. We also have seen a 27% drop in the most serious violent crimes since Chief Jim Johnson took over, and over the last three years, violent crime has dropped every single year, a trend that contrasts the national level, where violent crime rose by 1.2%.
Our Police Department has also excelled in case clearance rates, boasting some of the highest rates in the country, placing our department well above the national average.
We have increased our use of technology to improve the Department’s operation. We have converted all operating manuals to electronic form, and the Department’s Field-Based Reporting Project allows for paperless reporting and electronic transmission and storage of police records, saving time and taxpayer money. Always on the cutting edge, our Baltimore County Police Department is among the largest law enforcement agencies in the nation that use a field-based reporting system.
We also have invested in new police vehicles that are more fuel-efficient and better performing than past models, with the first 50 models being delivered this year.
When it comes to fighting fires, responding to accidents, conducting rescues and providing emergency medical services, Baltimore County has one of the best-prepared and best-equipped Fire Departments in the nation.
Using technology, we have equipped every County ambulance with a mobile hotspot, giving crews instant access to 911 Call Center data, which saves time and increases the efficiency of our response to emergencies countywide. Our first responders also have the ability to complete reports without returning to the station, allowing ambulance crews to accept more calls for service.
We have allocated $16 million for new fire apparatus, including 12 new engines, three new ladder trucks and 21 new medic units, as well as new specialized tools to help our firefighters perform their job even better.
Finally, I am especially proud of the dramatic increases in diversity within our Police and Fire Departments over the last few years, which demonstrate that our public safety agencies are committed to better reflecting the communities they serve.
Since the beginning of this term, we have repeatedly stressed the critical importance of rebuilding our County’s aging infrastructure. Over the last 40 months, we have invested more than a half-billion dollars to improve, rebuild, resurface and sometimes replace bridges, roads, water mains, reservoirs, pumping stations, storm drains, sewer lines, sidewalks, alleys, and even manholes across the County.
I am particularly proud of our efforts to make us a cleaner, greener county through single stream recycling. We have broken our recycling tonnage record every single year since 2010, in turn reducing by 35 thousand tons the amount of solid waste that would otherwise be buried in our landfill.
Even more noteworthy is the fact that, since cutting the ribbon on our new, $23 million solid waste transfer and single stream recycling material recovery facility last November, we are on track to generate $2 million in annual net operating revenue, exceeding our expectations.
Since 2010, we also have invested in several “quality of life” projects throughout the County, such as:
- New recreational facilities that will open soon at Gough Park and Soukup Arena in Perry Hall and at Spring Grove in Catonsville;
- 23 miles of new bikeways in Dundalk, Towson, Lansdowne, Baltimore Highlands, Woodlawn, Catonsville and Arbutus;
- In Owings Mills, the region’s first true Transit Oriented Development (TOD) began with the opening of our County Campus building, which houses our newest and largest library branch along with the new Owings Mills campus of CCBC; the County Campus building also houses the thought-provoking Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball;
- In Chase, the extension of the Marshy Point Nature Trail;
- And the opening of Baltimore County’s second, third and fourth dog parks at Lake Roland, St. Helena and Perry Hall, joining our initial dog park in Reisterstown.
Speaking of dogs, and cats, we have made significant progress in our efforts to upgrade services for our County’s pet owners, which now include spay and neuter procedures, vaccinations, microchip services, and online license renewals. And we are very excited for the groundbreaking of our new, $6 million Animal Services facility that will offer far more space than our current facility and an array of high quality, expanded amenities under the supervision of two full-time licensed veterinarians.
More than three years ago, we announced implementation of 23 innovative technology initiatives to consolidate functions and create greater efficiency throughout County government. These projects would generate real savings of tax dollars and increase productivity for our agencies, benefitting the taxpayers we serve.
Today I am proud to say that all 23 initiatives have been completed, including a new, state-of the- art 911 Center and a unique, web-based Code Enforcement tracking and management system that enable citizens to communicate with us 24/7. We have implemented our massive high-speed broadband fiber optic project, which enhances the County’s bandwidth and opens the information highway to new avenues of application throughout the County.
And even during this “down” economy, we still have witnessed billions in private investment in all regions across the County, highlighted by a record $770 million for a new downtown Towson.
This private investment has allowed us to make gains in our employment rate as well. Baltimore County’s unemployment rate dropped from 8% in 2010 to 5.9% this past December, the lowest rate we have seen since the Great Recession, and for the first time in almost a decade, lower than both the national and state levels. I am also very excited about the County's new focus for the Department of Economic and Workforce Development. Under the direction of Will Anderson, the Department will concentrate on retaining and supporting existing businesses while working closely with the County's employers to fill their employment needs with a well-trained workforce.
Perhaps the greatest testament to our success as a county can be found in the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census, which show that, with a current population of more than 823,000, Baltimore County has gained more than 18,000 residents since 2010, all while reducing crime and improving services, schools and infrastructure. People are obviously taking notice of how great it is to live in this community.
We are an extremely large jurisdiction — more populous than the cities of Baltimore, Washington, Seattle, Boston and Atlanta; we are even larger in population than four states. Yet, in many ways, we operate with the responsiveness of a small town, and that should make each and every one of us very proud.
As with each budget that I have presented during my term, the County's FY 15 budget proposal falls below the spending affordability guidelines established by the County Council. The General Fund Operating Budget presented today is $1.75 billion, which, after reflecting spending affordability review, is an increase of just 3.85 % above the previous year. The FY 15 capital budget is $175.7 million and adheres within sound financial debt ratios.
I am extremely pleased to say that once again this budget holds the line on the tax rates for County citizens. Today we are fortunate to announce that for the 26th year in a row — more than a quarter century there will be no increase in the County property tax rate. For the 22nd year in a row, there will be no increase in the County income tax rate. In Baltimore County, we take our responsibility as stewards of taxpayer dollars very seriously.
Proudly, we remain one of just 38 counties across the country to earn an AAA bond rating from all three major Wall Street rating agencies. Our Triple AAA ratings allow us to spend far less in interest payments when we do borrow money, and serve as recognition by the experts that we are fiscally well-managed.
The budget I present today also recognizes the contributions of our outstanding employees. As you know, we have reached two-year contract extensions with all of our labor bargaining groups, and the agreement for FY 15 fully funds increments and longevity increases for employees entitled to those benefits while also protecting against layoffs and furloughs. In addition, this budget provides an employee bonus of 3% this fall. I am pleased to say that this agreement extends to Board of Education, Library and Community College employees as well. I appreciate that our employees and labor leaders have worked with us to reach agreements that are fair for our workers and sustainable for our taxpayers. To all of our County’s 25,000 public servants, I say thank you very much.
We have made great strides reforming our employee health care and retirement system, including employee agreements to fund a greater share of these ever-rising costs. But at the same time, we also made a pledge to strengthen the system, to ensure that these promised benefits will be there as promised when employees retire. As I mentioned earlier, in 2012 we took the important step of lowering the valuation rate for expected earnings from the County’s retirement system from 7.875% to 7.25%. This also requires the County to increase its annual contribution to the system. As part of our ongoing desire to strengthen the retirement system, this budget proposes reducing the valuation rate of return yet again, to 7%, one of the most conservative actuarial assumptions in the country. Lowering the rate makes the entire system more secure and protects our employees’ benefits by establishing a realistic rate of return for the next 30 years. Although this will require us to include $7.2 million in this budget to lower the assumed rate of return, our employees deserve the peace of mind that comes with this action. And our taxpayers will appreciate that they won’t be stuck with some unpaid obligation decades from now.
Two years ago, following a period of serious budgetary constraints, we also promised to restore this County to a position of responsibly handling the cost of employee post-retirement health care. In FY 15, we propose to increase the countywide appropriation for this Other-Post- Employment-Benefits (OPEB) cost by $6.4 million in order to fully fund the actuarially determined Annual Required Contribution. This action to make OPEB contributions now, rather than passing them on to later administrations, will allow the County to utilize an enhanced discount rate and save millions of dollars in future budgets.
Each and every day, we consistently seek efficiencies in government. Changes in the Property Management Division have allowed us to increase productivity and save money. With this budget, we will no longer outsource the maintenance of our County’s artificial turf fields, instead transferring that responsibility to our existing personnel. This move not only saves $272,000 in taxpayer money, but also allows us to reinvest in upgrades for the natural grass fields in our inventory. Continuing the collaboration between quasi-independent government agencies, we will transfer responsibility for property management functions from the Library system to our Property Management Division, with a projected first-year savings of $130,000. Many thanks to George Klunk and his entire team for absorbing increased levels of responsibility and associated efficiencies.
Baltimore County has become a regional leader in the use of technology to improve services in all phases of County government. While we briefly highlighted some of the 23 technology initiatives implemented over the last three years, Director Rob Stradling, Deputy Pam Platt and the entire hardworking team in our Office of Information Technology are not allowed to rest on their laurels. This year’s capital budget includes more than $7.5 million for new technology projects.
The expansion of our broadband capacity has allowed us to provide greater innovation throughout the County while saving us millions in reduced leasing costs down the road. This increased capacity allows us to bring Wi-Fi to every County school, a project that should be completed this year. The budget also includes $1.7 million to expand broadband services not just to schools, but also to libraries, community centers and senior centers across the County. It also allows us to implement Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone service for our employees, including features such as direct dial phone numbers, individual voice mail, and caller ID. This transition to VOIP telephone service will be nearly completed in the coming year, providing $604,000 in annual savings for the County.
An important consolidation three years ago was the merging of the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services. I am pleased to include $648,000 for our “No Wrong Door” system to streamline the intake process for health, assistance, aging and homeless services. Our programming will help the neediest of our population to apply for services just one time, and that information can be accessed by multiple agencies to provide all needed services. Once again, the “No Wrong Door” program is an example of our use of technology to deliver services more effectively and efficiently while saving taxpayer dollars.
While we successfully have launched improvements to our code enforcement process, this budget includes $800,000 to improve the data systems in sectors of the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections, allowing easier public access to County government. The Office of Information Technology will also continue to conduct business practices analyses to derive further operational efficiencies throughout County government. These studies have been quite successful in reducing costs and increasing effectiveness, and Rob and his department are to be applauded for being the “Nerve Center” in our quest for innovation and efficiency.
The Hopi people of Arizona have a very wise saying — “Before you make any decision, consider its effect on the next seven generations.” I like to think this is the concept with which we approach our budgets in Baltimore County. Responsible fiscal management involves strict budgetary review, a strong demand for accountability and the resourcefulness to have people do new things a different way. Adhering to our legacy of strong fiscal management upholds our promise to the taxpayer to provide an efficient government. But making tough fiscal decisions also enables us to provide an effective government. When we generate savings, we can redirect funds to support programs and initiatives that improve the lives of both today’s taxpayers and those of future generations. That is why we remain committed to investing in our priority areas of education, public safety and upgrading our infrastructure. This FY 2015 budget is a manifestation of that belief.
Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) funds are sources of funding that are provided to the capital budget that offset the County's need to issue debt. Instead of borrowing money and paying interest, we pay in cash. This year's total PAYGO funding amounts to $88.8 million to support additional capital projects in public works, recreation and parks, and school air-conditioning projects.
Schools for Our Future
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” The people of Baltimore County wholeheartedly agree with this idea, and our commitment to education is best demonstrated by the fact that, historically, more than half of our annual budget goes to our schools. In this year’s budget, funding for the Baltimore County Schools exceeds Maintenance of Effort, with the $1.4 billion education operating budget comprising 53% of the County’s net operating budget. Some highlights of the education operating budget include:
- 90 additional teaching positions to support enrollment growth, the opening of Mays Chapel Elementary, and an increase in special education staffing;
- $4 million to complete the County’s investment in wireless classrooms;
- $3.8 million for instructional materials to support the digital curriculum;
- $2.5 million for the One-Card safety identification system;
- $1.2 million in start-up costs for the new elementary school in Owings Mills;
- $171,000 to expand pre-K access.
When we began this term, we were faced with the challenge of funding a capital program to upgrade our aging schools while simultaneously addressing rising student enrollment. Eighty percent of our schools are more than 40 years old, and our school population is projected to increase by more than 9,300 students in the next 10 years, dating from 2010. We can be proud of the unprecedented commitment we’ve made to address school renovation and construction needs over the past three and a half years. Since 2010, we have opened or funded 10 new schools and renovated six schools with additions, creating 7,500 new or replacement seats, and the number of schools in Baltimore County without air conditioning will have been reduced from 52% to 22%.
But we still have much more to do in order to prepare for the next 10 years and beyond. We must take comprehensive action to resolve projected school overcrowding in every ZIP code of this County. We must continue our momentum because, in the words of President John F. Kennedy, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
Working with Dr. Dance and the school board, we are launching a school renovation and construction program that will meet the needs of our County’s educational facilities for the next generation. This morning, I am proud to announce Baltimore County’s $1.1 billion Schools for Our Future program.
President Jimmy Carter once said, "The American people have always recognized that education is one of the soundest investments they can make. The dividends are reflected in every dimension of our national life — from the strength of our economy and national security to the vitality of our music, art, and literature." Our $1.1 billion Schools for Our Future program embraces that vision and also recognizes that a substantial investment in school construction will not only serve the future of our children, but will strengthen the today of every neighborhood in our County.
Many of the details of this plan will be finalized by the Superintendent and his staff in consultation with community stakeholders over the next 12 months. I am, however, able to share some of its highlights this morning.
Building upon our significant investment in school construction over the last three years, Schools for Our Future will be a decade-long commitment to upgrading our school facilities and eliminating overcrowding in our classrooms. Today’s budget proposal designates a record funding request of nearly $460 million in County funds over the next three referendums for school renovation and construction. When combined with anticipated supplemental State funding of at least $240 million, the total investment in our County schools for the decade from 2011 to 2021 will be in excess of a billion dollars. Voters will have the opportunity to endorse this plan, beginning with a $158 million referendum request this November. These referendum bonding requests are more than double, and sometimes triple, the amounts approved by the voters during the past 10 years.
So, what do County citizens get for their investment? The Schools for Our Future program will virtually eliminate all projected school overcrowding for the next decade and beyond. Without this ambitious program, there will be a shortage of 1,400 seats in Baltimore County’s elementary and middle schools over the next nine years. That would mean more trailers and larger class sizes. Under the Schools for Our Future program, there would be no overcrowding in those schools. In fact, those same schools would have 5,800 excess seats available, creating room for future enrollment growth. Dependent upon County Council, Board of Education and voter referendum approval, this program funds 11,000 new or replacement seats all across the County. At the conclusion of the Schools for Our Future program, 97% of all Baltimore County schools will be air-conditioned, including every single County elementary and middle school.
Importantly, the program will provide modern learning environments for our children, teachers and support staff. Schools for Our Future is a comprehensive plan that will have a lasting impact in every part of this great County. Some of the highlights of our initiative are:
In addition to a newly renovated Catonsville Elementary School at Bloomsbury, the new replacement elementary school at Westowne, a new replacement elementary school at Relay and an addition to Westchester Elementary, this budget makes the following additional commitments to the Southwest area of the County, providing 3,356 seats and eliminating all projected overcrowding:
- Fund a new, 700-seat replacement school for Lansdowne Elementary on its current site;
- Fund 350 additional seats to resolve overcrowding in the elementary school communities located between Route 40 and Security Boulevard.
Current and planned projects will eliminate present and projected overcrowding in the York Road corridor. This comprehensive plan includes:
- Construction of a new, $3 million Community/PAL Center on the grounds of Padonia International Elementary School that includes a gymnasium and theater for dual use by the school, freeing up space for conversion to classroom seats;
- Renovation to reopen a 600-seat Loch Raven Elementary School;
- Conversion of the current Halstead Academy into a 500-seat elementary magnet preparatory school;
- Construction of a 189-seat addition at Cromwell Valley Elementary School and a 200-seat addition to Sparks Elementary School;
- Completion of additions to Stoneleigh (now 700 seats) and Hampton Elementary (now 648 seats) Schools that opened this past fall;
- Completion of new construction of the 1,028-seat Carver Center for the Arts & Technology and the 451-seat West Towson Elementary School;
- Opening of the new, 700-seat elementary school at Mays Chapel this August.
Fund 2,150 new elementary school seats in the northwest area of the County by:
- Construction of a new, 700-seat elementary school on the Ballard site in Owings Mills New Town;
- Funding up to 750 new elementary school seats to relieve overcrowding in the Summit Park community and the Sudbrook Park/Williamsburg communities;
- Funding up to 225 additional elementary school seats to relieve overcrowding in the Randallwood/Imperial Gardens/Stoneybrook communities;
- Funding up to 475 additional seats to relieve overcrowding in the Reisterstown and Cedarmere communities.
- Fund a new, 700-seat replacement school for Berkshire Elementary on its current site;
- Fund a new, 700-seat elementary school in the Battle Grove/Charlesmont communities.
Create 2,250 new elementary school seats in the Northeast area:
- Perry Hall/White Marsh
- Fund a new, 700-seat elementary school in the White Marsh community;
- Fund 200 new elementary school seats to relieve overcrowding in the Perry Hall community;
- Overlea/Rosedale/Middle River
- Fund 650 new elementary school seats to relieve overcrowding in the Overlea/Rosedale communities;
- Fund a new, 700-seat elementary school for the Middle River community.
With this budget, Schools for Our Future will happen now!
We maintain our strong commitment to public safety with an operating budget of $280 million dollars for the County’s outstanding Police and Fire Departments. In anticipation of the opening of Towson Square this summer, the budget funds five additional police officers in support of Towson’s new entertainment district.
In recognition of the service of our County’s volunteer fire companies, the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) will be increased from $265 to $275 dollars a month, and the volunteers will also receive 35 additional radios for distribution across the County.
Support for Arts and Sciences
I thank Fronda Cohen and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences for all of the work they do throughout the year to enrich the lives of our citizens by expanding access to the arts. Every year, they find ways to attract new audiences to the many institutions supported in our budget. Baltimore County is a key partner in many regional initiatives, and nowhere is that more evident than in our support of the many programs funded in this proposal. This year's request supports 39 grants totaling $2.7 million for venerable institutions such as the Baltimore Symphony, the Maryland Zoo, the National Aquarium, the Walters Art Museum, Center Stage, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Maryland Academy of Sciences.
Social Safety Net
Mahatma Gandhi, who probably understood poverty better than anyone in this room, is known for saying that “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” In that spirit, we have requested a 15.4% increase for the County’s emergency social service funds in this budget, which will provide emergency medical funds and help families avoid evictions and utility shut-offs during tough economic times.
We are also requesting more than $1 million to support the efforts of the Maryland Food Bank and our Homeless Outreach Street Team, as well as to provide funds to our rapid re-housing partners and establish a Shelter Diversion Pilot Program, which will help to prevent individuals and families from entering the shelter system in the first place.
This budget also will allocate design funding to begin a new, $24 million Eastern Family Resource Center on the grounds of Franklin Square Hospital, funded with $14 million in County funds, $5 million from the State and $5 million from MedStar. The facility will include transitional housing with separate shelters for men, women and families, as well as medical care and training assistance programs. The County will also construct a new, $4 million Westside Shelter replacing the current structure on the grounds of Spring Grove State Hospital.
Reinvesting in Our Aging Infrastructure
We continue to implement valuable public works projects, in addition to the half-billion dollars we’ve invested over the last three years. This year’s capital budget includes the following programs:
- $63 million over the next seven years for the resurfacing of County roads.
Upgrading County Facilities
- $6.5 million to construct a new Towson Fire Station — the County sold the existing fire station property at the corner of York and Bosley for $8.3 million;
- $6 million for the renovation of the North Point Police Precinct at the former Eastwood Elementary School site — the total revenue from the sale of the North Point Government property was $2.1 million for one-half of the property plus an additional $4 million for construction of a new County community center, site improvements and field upgrades on the remaining County-owned parcel;
- $6 million for the construction of a new Animal Services facility and dog park.
Parks and Preservation
- $500,000 in design funding for new community centers in Loch Raven and Catonsville;
- $2 million for agricultural preservation;
- $3 million to purchase 257 acres to create Granite Park in the Woodstock area as a regional passive park, using County and Program Open Space funds;
- $1.5 million for a therapeutic riding arena at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture, using County, Program Open Space and private funds;
- $2 million to install turf fields at Towson High, Dundalk High and the new Catonsville Regional Park to be located on the grounds of Spring Grove State Hospital.
Community College of Baltimore County
Again this year, we are immensely proud of the success of our Community College of Baltimore County, which continues to lead with the State’s highest community college enrollment. The beautiful new Owings Mills campus opened this year at the Metro Centre to rave reviews. This year’s budget funds CCBC at Maintenance of Effort levels, and also includes the following capital projects:
- $4.5 million for the first construction phase of the Health Careers and Technology building on the Essex campus;
- $2.9 million to complete the conversion of the former library at the Catonsville campus to a new science and mathematics hall;
- $1.5 million for a project that I know is near and dear to the hearts of CCBC President Dr. Kurtinitis and Board Chair Judge Barbara Howe, the restoration of the historic mansion in Catonsville;
- $1.1 million for the construction of a new facility to house the Veterinarian Technology program at Essex.
I’ve heard it said that, “In golf and in life, it’s the follow-through that makes the difference.” Forty months ago, we established a vision for our County that would lead us away from tough economic times and down the road of progress and prosperity. Working together, we’ve racked up a lot of miles on that road in a very short time. Together we have followed through on our commitments and kept our promises to not only each other, but also to future generations. And together, we will continue to travel that road with the goal of leaving it better than we found it, a task that can be accomplished only through innovative, responsible and efficient government.
I realize that the words “innovative, responsible, and efficient” come out of my mouth quite a lot, and perhaps to some, they sound like lip service. But truth be told, I’ve carried those principles with me throughout my life. And in quiet moments of reflection, I often recall working side by side with my father at Kaye's Pharmacy in Overlea. The life lessons that my dad imparted without even knowing he was doing so still resonate with me today: Work hard. Spend your money wisely. Do well by doing good.
These aren't just values that were important to Doc Kaye, these values are the foundation for families and communities throughout Baltimore County, and they are the values that lie at the heart of the budget I present to you today. Thank you very much.