Baltimore County Now
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz
1. You plan for today and 20 years from today.
The best example of this in our FY 15 budget is the $1.1 billion Schools for Our Future program, a school renovation and construction initiative that will eliminate overcrowding in our schools and meet the needs of our County’s educational facilities for the next generation, adding 11,000 new or replacements seats and increasing the number of schools with air conditioning to 97%.
2. You pay cash when you can.
The County does this through Pay-As-You-Go funding, which is provided to the capital budget to 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 important projects in public works, recreation and parks, and school air conditioning.
3. You keep your credit score high so you can borrow money at the lowest possible interest rate.
Baltimore County is one of just 38 counties across the nation to earn an AAA bond rating from all three major Wall Street rating agencies. A bond rating is Wall Street’s version of a personal credit score. Our triple AAA ratings allow us to spend far less in interest payments when we do borrow money, and they serve as recognition by the experts that Baltimore County is fiscally well-managed.
4. You don't borrow more than you can afford to pay back.
The County designates how much we can borrow through our spending affordability guidelines, which, based on recommendations presented to us by Wall Street’s bond rating agencies, are established by the County Council to limit spending so that the cost of the services we provide doesn’t exceed the growth of our economy. You do this at home by working out a monthly household budget and factoring in all your costs, debt and savings to help you determine a loan amount that fits comfortably within your budget.
5. You know what's most important to your quality of life, and that’s where you put your time, effort and money.
The County’s legacy of responsible fiscal management upholds our promise to taxpayers to provide an efficient government, but making tough fiscal decisions also enables us to provide an effective government. When we find ways to save, we can redirect those funds to support programs and initiatives that improve the lives of both today’s taxpayers and those of future generations. Most importantly, when the County generates savings, we are better able to concentrate on our three priority areas of education, public safety and upgrading our infrastructure.
Read the proposed FY15 Budget Message here.
Baltimore County Public Library
For most of us, the library represents fond memories as a child. Whether it was getting your first library card, checking out stacks of children's books or listening intently to every word from the storyteller, the library was a special place that made us feel special, too! As we grew older, the library evolved along with us. During those tumultuous teenage years, the library was a refuge from our parents, a place to meet friends and to get homework assignments accomplished while giving us a sense of independence in a comfortable environment. As adults, we continued visiting the library for beach reads, to rent weekend DVDs and then eventually with our own children to relive our childhood memories and to begin making new ones. For many of us, the library shaped or changed our lives in one way or another.
National Library Week kicks off this Sunday, April 13, and continues through April 19. The theme for this year's celebration is "Lives Change @ Your Library." As part of the weeklong celebration, the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) is hosting a Facebook contest for folks to submit a photo and a caption that highlights how the library has changed his or her life. The selected top five entries will have their photos and captions up in lights on BCPL's electronic sign in Towson, and one lucky winner will receive a $100 VISA gift card. The contest runs through April 30, and all the details can be found on BCPL's Facebook page.
In addition to the Facebook contest, all of BCPL's 18 branches are celebrating with special events and giveaways throughout National Library Week. Please note the Parkville branch is currently closed through June for renovation. So, what are you waiting for? Come visit BCPL to make memories and discover how lives change @ your library. Don't forget to capture a photo or two for our Facebook page. For more information, please visit our website.
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
This summertime guarantee brought to you exclusively by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks:
There will be no snow storms, snow flurries or snow squalls at all this summer on any Recreation and Parks sites and parks this summer. Guaranteed!
Wait, there’s more…
We will also guarantee fun and lots of great programs for families, kids and kids of all ages. We are calling this our “Hot times” summer package guarantee!
Here is a sampling of some of the hot times coming your way. Just the names of the programs should be enough to get your attention and participation…
Robert E. Lee Park –Growing up WILD, Beaver Night Hike, The Great American Campout, Natural Play, Bike Rodeo, Mud Day
Cromwell Valley Park – Animal Mothers; Art, Music, Poetry, Food, Wine and Classic Cars; Tin Can Gardening; “Reptiles by Day, Amphibians by Night;” the annual TALMAR Mother’s Day Plant Sale; Fairy Furniture; and you’re gonna love this one: “Eat Your Weedies” – sounds perfectly delicious!
Oregon Ridge Park – 4th of July BSO Star Spangled Spectacular/Fireworks
Throughout our County are “Summer Playgrounds” and camps, enthusiastically and well supervised with excitement, entertainment, socializing, and even some learning slipped in with all the fun. Here are just some of the camps:
Dragon Tao Karate Camp, Premier Basketball Camp; Boys Lax Camp; Step Up to Lax Camp; Camp Gymtastic; Al Bumbry Baseball Camp; Running Camp; Field Hockey Camp; Soccer Camp; Volleyball Camp; Camp New Horizons; Music, Nature, Drama, Art, Camp Chickadee, Around the Pond Summer Camp, Polar Pals, Grizzly Gang, Imagination Station, Muscular Mustangs, Creativity Camp, Gators Summer Camp, Blast Soccer Camp, camps for children and young adults with special needs. There’s really too much to list here, so, go to the Baltimore County Recreation and Parks homepage for a full listing of summer camps and playgrounds.
Keep in mind, that pretty much every one of our 40+ recreation centers offer programming throughout the summer with the above mentioned camps, activities and community events. Follow this link to our Recreation Councils and recreation offices to learn more about what is going on in your neighborhood.
Of course, there are over 200 small, medium, large and extra large- and all beautiful – parks, sites, waterfronts and fields. Imagine, so many great places to relax, picnic, exercise and simply to enjoy; many nearby your home.
For those that might be looking for something to do this summer, not as a participant, but more in line with earning those community service hours, or to have a summer job, there are some options for you, too. There are still some paying positions at Oregon Ridge Park (410-887-1818) and Rocky Point Park (410-887-2818) on the waterfront. There might still be some summer positions out there at our camps and recreation centers. Use this link to our Recreation Offices and ask if there is something to suit your skills and the needs of that office.
There you have it; a special summer guaranteed to be all you need it to be; well supervised, exciting, interesting and fun. And don’t forget, guaranteed to be snow free – though it may include a “sno-ball” from time to time!