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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: budget

Keith Dorsey
 Director, Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance

The Baltimore County Council has voted to adopt County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's proposed budget for FY 2016 with only minor changes. The County’s General Fund Operating Budget for FY 2016 is $1.95 billion, an increase of 4.7% above the previous year. The budget is within the Council’s spending affordability guidelines.The FY 2016 capital budget is $870 million and adheres within sound financial debt ratios.

I invite you to take a look at the comprehensive budget originally proposed by the County Executive. Meanwhile, here is the FY 16 adopted budget at a glance:

pie chart of revenues

pie chart of expenditures


Baltimore County sealKeith Dorsey
Director, Office of Budget and Finance

Yesterday, the Baltimore County Council unanimously passed County Executive Kamenetz’s budget for Fiscal Year 15 with only minor changes. The County’s General Fund Operating Budget, subject to spending affordability, for FY 2015 is $1.75 billion, an increase of only 3.85% above the previous year. When including special funds, the total operating budget is $2.9 billion.

The budget holds the line on taxes and maintains our top bond rating.

             No increase in property tax rate – 26th year in a row

             No increase in income tax rate – 22nd year in a row

             Maintains Triple AAA bond rating – one of only 38 counties in the nation 


You may view details of the budget on the County web site. Here’s a quick overview of the total operating budget:

   


graphic drawing of a snow plowJim Lathe
Baltimore County Chief of Highways

Everybody’s curious about the price tag. How much does it cost to plow the roads and keep them open every winter?

In Baltimore County, when there’s a hint of snow – when the weather person says there’s a chance for precip tomorrow – we, in the Bureau of Highways, Department of Public Works, begin looking very carefully at the bottom line. Because as soon as the word goes out that we’ve got snow duty – that we’re on the clock – we’re on the meter too.

This year we expect that plowing snow (that’s with a staff of 400 employees manning three hundred trucks working from 11 shops) will cost more than $37,000 per hour. And when we put down salt, that price goes up to $108,000 per hour. That’s because salt costs more than $50 a ton and we stock about 50,000 tons at 14 locations across the county.

Sunday’s storm cost the County $1.4 million. We’re still tabulating the expenses related yesterday’s snow and will post the total shortly.

It’s expensive, of course, but the total cost to keep the streets clear and safe varies wildly from year to year. Last year was an economical year for us. Baltimore County spent a little under $4 million to call out crews, to salt and to plow for 13 storms – many of them just dustings. But “Snowmageddon” back in 2010 was more than five times as expensive. The bills came to $20 million. Snow accumulation that winter was estimated at seven feet!

For a complete picture, take a look at our website for a listing of storm costs since Fiscal Year 2001.

During the past 13 years the cost has gone from a low of $2 million (when accumulation was a mere six inches in 2002) to the colossal winter four years ago. The average is about $7 million. But whatever the cost, you can rest assured that Baltimore County's Highway crews will give it our all to keep the streets open this year.


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