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 Office of Communications
The first time I walked into the lobby, I thought I was in a luxury hotel. A large contemporary stone fireplace was warming oh-so-comfy chairs. It only got better when I went to the fifth floor, where residents and their guests find a stunning community room with several entertainment areas, a heated rooftop pool, and a fitness center. The only word I can think of for these spaces is “curated.” It’s easy to envy the residents of the 357 apartments in this 18-story building.
I’ll stop here, before I sound too much like a leasing brochure. Here’s my point: The building is on Washington Avenue in the Palisades of Towson. Yes, downtown Towson.
More than 2,600 equally beautiful apartments and townhomes have recently been built or are in development, all within a five-minute walk of the shopping, restaurants, parks and entertainment in downtown Towson. These new homes are perfect for young professionals, college students and faculty, and people who want all the amenities of 21204 living without having to mow a lawn.
What does this mean for Towson? It means more people will be just down the street from their office or college campus, enjoying downtown Towson life. It means more people will be walking from home to catch a movie at the new theatres being built at Towson Square, or stopping by Towson City Center for a Live Lunch concert at the new WTMD studios. It means more people will be enjoying a meal at a locally-owned restaurant (Oyster Bay Grille just opened, and Cunningham’s is opening soon). It means more people will be working off that meal at the new L.A. Fitness Center at Towson Commons, visiting an exhibit at the Towson Arts Collective, and discovering one-of-a-kind gems along Allegheny Avenue.
New residential development in downtown Towson is already bringing over $450 million in private investment to the County. We asked County Executive Kevin Kamenetz what this means for the county as a whole. “The new development in downtown Towson translates into hundreds of construction jobs, plus increased tax revenue to help the County pay for schools, public safety and upgrades to our aging infrastructure. This is vital to our continued economic success.”
“A great County seat deserves a great, vibrant downtown,” the County Executive added. “With all the luxury amenities in the new apartment communities, it might be tough to coax downtown Towson residents out of their buildings. But who would want to pass up the shopping, restaurants and entertainment just down the street? After all, isn’t that why folks are moving here in the first place?”
Click here for a slide show of the new luxury apartments in downtown Towson.
To Dr. Dance and his administrative team: Thank you for creating such a positive school climate all across Baltimore County. Team BCPS is a reality, and it’s making a difference in our children’s lives.
To all of the administrators, teachers and support staff: Thank you for all you do for Baltimore County’s students each and every day. I know that many of you worked all summer preparing for the 2013-2014 school year, and as I drove by schools this weekend, I saw the parked cars of many educators who were putting the finishing touches on classrooms and getting ready for the most exciting day of the school year.
To our students: I know that many of you are very nervous, particularly our kindergarten students, 6th and 9th graders. Thank you for taking school so seriously. As I go from school to school, I’m always incredibly impressed by how hard students are working. Keep up the good work!
And finally, to our parents: I want to thank you most of all. You have been there from the beginning. You were the first to teach your sons and daughters their numbers and letters. You read them their first books. You take them to band practice and pick them up from student council. You take them to the zoo, science center and aquarium. You make them do their homework, make sure they have a good breakfast, and you work hard to teach them the difference between right and wrong. You are the foundation upon which BPCS rests.
I hope all of you have a wonderful year, and let’s continue to make the Baltimore County Public School System one of the best in the nation.