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Kevin Kamenetz

2016 Budget Message
April 14, 2015

Speech Highlights

Budget Details (PDF)

Chairwoman Bevins, members of the County 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 2016.

Since we met in this chamber one year ago, the Council has welcomed three new members to the dais. I extend warm greetings to Councilmembers Kach, Jones and Crandell, who join returning Councilmembers Quirk, Almond, Marks and Bevins. Thank you for your hard work on behalf of the citizens of this county.

I also thank the members of the General Assembly for their support of the people of Baltimore County this legislative session. Speaker Pro Tem Delegate Adrienne Jones, Budget and Tax Chair Senator Ed Kasemeyer, newcomer Delegate Charles Sydnor, and the “dean” of our county’s senate delegation, Senator Delores Kelley, have worked particularly hard on our county’s behalf, delivering increases for school and highway funding.

It is also a pleasure to have here with us this morning Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis, president of the Community College of Baltimore County, and Dr. Dallas Dance, superintendent of the Baltimore County Public Schools. We are very proud of the educational opportunities the County provides for its citizens.

While they would prefer to remain behind the scenes, I would be remiss if I did not thank Director Keith Dorsey, Deputy Director Ed Blades and every staff member in the Office of Budget and Finance for their diligence in preparing this budget.

To all our employees, thank you for your exceptional service. The dedicated work you perform each and every day provides the foundation for the quality of life we all enjoy – the Baltimore County we want to preserve and enhance for many years to come. And to the people we serve – our 827,000 citizens – thank you for the continued honor of serving as your twelfth county executive.

State of the County

Much in Baltimore County has changed during my 21 years in public office, but one thing that has remained the same is the way we go about the business of governing. Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “There is good government when those who are near are made happy, and when those who are afar are attracted.” Those simple but wise words describe exactly what we endeavor to accomplish in Baltimore County. We share a pragmatic belief that it is the duty of local government to find the best and least intrusive way to provide the things essential to a good life for the people we serve: stable tax rates, quality schools, abundant jobs, sound roads and bridges, safety after dark, reliable trash pickup, and simply a nice place to get a cup of coffee or take a walk in the park. That is the Baltimore County I love, and it is the Baltimore County we devote ourselves to serving every day. As stewards of this great county, we strive to honor our rich history and tradition while at the same time keeping an eye on the future, and as a result, I am proud to report that the state of our county is strong.

Responsible Fiscal Management

Keeping our fiscal house in order remains the number one priority in Baltimore County. Our financial stability is best demonstrated by our earning the highest marks from all three major Wall Street rating agencies. This year, we are one of only 38 counties in the nation to earn the “triple Triple-A” bond rating. In assigning this rating, Wall Street recognized that Baltimore County’s employment base is broad and deep, our local economy is strong, our financial position is healthy, and our budgeting process is consistent, supported by responsible fiscal management and satisfactory reserve fund levels. In short, we earned these ratings because we understand that the basis for sound governing is responsible fiscal management.

Baltimore County’s triple Triple-A ratings are not only a strong affirmation of our budgeting policies, they allow us to pay the lowest interest rate possible when we borrow money for school construction, roads, parks, and other capital needs. A key component for the rating agencies is the percentage of the operating budget that is set aside in reserves as fund balance. Often referred to as “surplus,” fund balance provides a cushion for any “rainy day” that may unexpectedly impact our budget, such as an economic downturn or unanticipated costs like storm emergencies. The Wall Street rating agencies demand that a robust reserve fund be set aside, only to be tapped in such fiscal events.

In addition to the “rainy day fund,” responsible fiscal management also lets us use surplus to pay cash for projects instead of borrowing money and paying interest. That is called PAYGO – pay as you go funding – when we use operating funds to pay for capital projects.

Some people misunderstand why we keep a fund balance. They would like us to use these funds to pay for programs, projects and even pay raises that involve ongoing, recurring costs; but we can’t guarantee surplus funds will be available the next year. That is why Baltimore County always has used its fund balance to pay for one-time projects, not ongoing expenses. It’s “pay as you go” in action: pay cash for what you can afford now while making sure you don’t overcommit to costs you won’t be able to cover down the line.

In my first budget as county executive, we were able to devote only $636,000 of the General Fund to capital construction projects using PAYGO. Our contribution to capital projects has grown steadily since then, and with the approval of this budget, we will use more than $102 million from the fund balance to support the FY16 capital budget, an increase of $51 million over last year. This will still leave us with about $207 million in unappropriated fund balance, placing our reserves at a healthy 11.1 percent of our estimated FY16 revenues.

Fund balances occur only because we are conservative in our budgeting process. We identify savings at every level and develop new efficiencies to save us money down the road. We also oppose actions that threaten to harm our tax base, and we work hard to keep our expenses down. 

This year’s total Operating Budget is $1.96 billion, an increase of 4.7 percent over last year. Once again, the budget falls below the County Council’s spending affordability guidelines.

In recognition of the fine performance of our employees, which has allowed us to maintain a responsible budget, I propose a three-percent cost-of-living allowance for county workers and an additional two percent for teachers, administrators and other certificated school personnel. I also propose $1.5 million to upgrade certain positions in the Fire Department and Recreation and Parks, as well as some positions represented by FPE and AFSCME, to ensure that these workers earn a living wage. We include these increases and upgrades in this proposed budget because, frankly, it is the right thing to do.

This is the foundation on which we build our budgets; it is the basis for how our county does business. Our citizens understand this concept because it’s the way we all tend to our family budgets: We pay our bills. We plan ahead. We hold the line on taxes. And we focus on the core responsibilities of government – public education, public safety and rebuilding our aging infrastructure, all while striving to be innovative, responsible and efficient.

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Smart Government

Those qualities describe what I like to call smart government. We all have heard of smartphones, smart technologies, smart solutions, and the like. In this context, smart government means finding responsible and innovative ways to increase efficiencies, improve services, and reduce costs. It means evaluating the facts and coming up with solutions to whatever problems may arise for our departments and programs.

In Baltimore County, smart government means consolidating where it makes sense, as we did with the Departments of Social Services and Health; with Workforce and Economic Development; and with IT services for general government and the library system. It means sharing resources, such as the Sollers Point Multipurpose Center, which houses a full-service library, gymnasium and more; and the PAL center in Cockeysville that serves as both a community center and a school gymnasium for Padonia International Elementary School.

Smart government means leveraging public-private partnerships to make improvements in our communities, such as the County Campus building at the Owings Mills Metro Centre, Baltimore County’s first transit-oriented development; or the new Soukup Arena recreational facility in Perry Hall built in partnership with the Perry Hall Recreation Council; or turf fields in Towson, in partnership with not only rec councils but major businesses. It means using resources like Facebook and Twitter to promote our programs and services, and to increase adoptions at our animal shelter.

Smart government means insourcing when it makes sense, such as hiring IT employees to implement projects when the cost is lower than contractual services. It means continuing support for our county’s nursery and reforestation program – the only full-time local government program in Maryland for projects that increase our tree canopy, in turn aiding our stormwater management efforts, reducing air pollution, lowering heating and cooling costs, and improving our communities’ overall quality of life.

Smart government in Baltimore County means thinking and planning ahead down to the very last detail, because, as we saw this past winter, sometimes it’s the small things, or in this case, the mountains – tons of salt – that make all the difference. During a year of unprecedented demand, Baltimore County had the salt we needed this past winter because our supply contracts were locked in months before the season began.

Smart government also means using technology to work smarter, not harder. In Baltimore County, technology is used in ways once unimaginable to enhance the lives of our citizens. And it should not surprise anyone here that our county ranked sixth in the nation in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey. Since 2010, our Office of Information Technology (OIT) has taken great strides to make county government more efficient – and smarter – by completing 176 technology projects, with 57 currently underway and 40 more planned for the remainder of this fiscal year, for a total of 273 initiatives. These projects include:

  • Installation and expansion of the county-owned broadband network that includes 18 branches of the Baltimore County Public Library, all campuses of the Community College of Baltimore County, 25 county facilities housing multiple agencies, and nine more county schools, bringing the total number of connected schools to 59. This fiscal year, OIT is connecting 146 sites to our Baltimore County Optical Network, giving the County a faster, more reliable network with 10 times more bandwidth at about a tenth of the cost. This has reduced the amount we spend for connectivity by more than $1.5 million annually, and we expect those savings to increase as more sites are connected.
  • OIT’s Operational Excellence, or OpEx, initiatives analyze county operations and help our departments and programs work more effectively through improved technology and work processes, saving the County millions since 2013.
  • The conversion of county vehicles into “electronic mobile offices” gives employees in the Police Department and the County’s Animal Control and Code Enforcement Divisions more time in the field to serve more people.
  • To save time and increase the efficiency of our response to emergencies, we have equipped every county ambulance with a mobile hotspot, giving crews instant access to 911 Call Center data. All of our first responders can now complete reports remotely and send real-time data to hospitals, allowing them to accept more calls for service and provide emergency rooms with potentially life-saving information about incoming patients.

Each of these initiatives demonstrates how we use technology to deliver services more efficiently while saving taxpayer money. This is smart government in action. This year’s Technology Fund is budgeted at $9.2 million, providing continued support for multiple technology initiatives, including $1.5 million for the next stage of our broadband fiber expansion, during which we will connect all remaining county high schools and many elementary and middle schools. We will also connect emergency response facilities in our Police, Fire and Health Departments, which will reduce costs and improve communications during emergencies. We propose $1.5 million to fund implementation of several OpEx initiatives, including a project to integrate systems and streamline operations in the Department of Health and Human Services. Funds also will provide for implementation of the “No Wrong Door” system, which will allow citizens to apply for services just once, making their information instantly accessible to multiple agencies offering health, financial crises, homeless and aging services.

We include funding to begin a project to integrate the county’s IT systems that support the management and maintenance of our entire infrastructure, streamlining operations and giving our Public Works employees better technology to help them keep our county going in every sense of the word. And we include $3.2 million to continue important school security technology initiatives.

For the first time, we will implement electronic background checks for volunteers in our Department of Recreation and Parks Recreation Council programs. The County will fully fund this $330,000 annual expense in response to a legislative initiative spearheaded last year by Council Chair Bevins.

I want to take this opportunity to publicly recognize Director Rob Stradling and his entire Information Technology team for their hard work and dedication.

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Investing In Our Communities

Baltimore County’s commitment to smart government and fiscal responsibility has allowed us to make significant investments in our communities in recent years. For example, Baltimore County’s new $23 million single stream recycling Material Recovery Facility (MRF) efficiently processes residential recyclables and will have generated a projected $10 million in revenue by the end of this fiscal year. And last year, more than 2,100 tons of debris and pollutants were stopped before reaching the Chesapeake Bay thanks to our expanded street sweeping program – an accomplishment made possible by $1.6 million in storm water remediation fees.

To better serve our county’s pet lovers, we have built four dog parks, with one more underway, and construction has started on a state-of-the-art, $6.5 million animal services facility. I am proud of the tremendous progress our Animal Services Division personnel have made over the last few years, and this modern facility will only further that progress. I also look forward to the implementation of a pilot program to manage our feral cat population, as well as finding new ways to promote pet adoptions, vaccinations, microchipping and spay/neuter services. To better control our homeless pet population, this budget includes a proposed $197,000 for the addition of two satellite spay/neuter sites on the east and west sides of the county.

To give our two-legged residents more places to gather, experience nature or get fit, we invested $15.5 million over the last two years to build and improve parks, bikeways, walking trails, and recreation and community centers. In this proposed budget, we continue to invest in our communities with $683,000 to improve efficiency in maintaining the County’s 395 baseball fields. We also commit $3.2 million for turf fields and to create more open space in the Towson area. With $800,000 in private funding from the Baltimore Ravens, Caves Valley Partners and the Towson and Towsontowne Recreation Councils, this new investment brings the total number of turf fields in Baltimore County to 18, dispersed throughout the county, including Merritt Point Park in Dundalk.

George Washington Carver once said, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” We in Baltimore County recognize the importance of providing a social safety net for our county’s most vulnerable citizens, and over the past few years, we have made significant investments to support their wellbeing. Last year we contributed $1 million to support the efforts of the County’s Homeless Outreach Street Team and the Maryland Food Bank, as well as funds for our rapid re-housing partners and the establishment of a Shelter Diversion Pilot Program.

We also contributed $14 million, along with $5 million each from the State of Maryland and MedStar Health, for the design of the new, $24 million Eastern Family Resource Center on the grounds of Franklin Square Hospital, which, when completed, will provide medical care, training assistance, and transitional housing with separate shelters for men, women and children. On the west side, we invested $4 million for the construction of a new homeless shelter at Spring Grove Hospital that will open this summer.

To better serve those most in need, in this budget we propose a $100,000 increase in emergency funds for the Department of Social Services’ cold weather emergency programs, providing shelters, warming centers and utility assistance.

Through our budgetary actions, we invest in our citizens’ wellbeing and quality of life. And the lion’s share of our budgets over the past five years has focused on the foundation of those goals – education, public safety and rebuilding our aging infrastructure.

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Education

I recently learned a striking statistic about Baltimore County: in all of human history, fewer than 600 people have experienced spaceflight, and three of them – Astronauts Reid Wiseman, Robert Curbeam and Tom Jones – are graduates of the Baltimore County Public Schools. These men are just three of the countless Baltimore County standouts educated in our classrooms, and they serve as a reminder that we must continue updating our schools for the 21st century to ensure our children and grandchildren have those very same opportunities to dream big and aim high.

Today we are in the midst of our ambitious Schools for Our Future program to modernize our schools and address rising enrollment. Eighty percent of our schools are more than 40 years old, and our school population is projected to increase by more than 6,000 students in the next 10 years. As such, we have committed record funding of nearly $430 million county dollars over the next six years for school renovation and construction, supplemented with requested state funding of at least $230 million. The total investment in our county schools for the decade from 2011 to 2021 will be an unprecedented $1.3 billion dollars.

Simply put, this educational initiative will reap benefits for generations. At its conclusion, we will have modernized our schools, eliminated all current and projected overcrowding, and will have a surplus of 6,000 elementary school seats to accommodate future growth. Before the program began, just 48 percent of our schools were air-conditioned. When we complete the program, 97 percent of our schools will be air-conditioned, including every elementary and middle school. 

In FY16, we include nearly one million dollars in startup costs for the new Lyons Mill Elementary School in Owings Mills, which will also alleviate overcrowding at New Town and Woodholme Elementary Schools. We include in this budget almost $30 million to complete funding for new Catonsville, Westowne and Relay Elementary Schools, and $700,000 for an addition to Westchester Elementary School.

Last year’s budget included design funds for the new Lansdowne and Victory Villa Elementary Schools, with construction scheduled to begin in 2017. The budget I present today includes design funding for a new elementary school in the northeast area, with construction slated to begin in 2017 as well. We also include more than $16.3 million over the next two years for new roofs at 10 schools throughout the county, a worthy effort that will require additional state funding to complete.

Yet, for all the good work we are doing at the elementary school level, we also recognize that we have persistent maintenance needs at several of our high schools, many of which were built well before our county’s astronauts were even born. We propose an initial $80 million of county funds for renovation and repair, including air-conditioning at four high schools – Dulaney, Lansdowne, Patapsco, and Woodlawn – as part of a systemic renovation plan that will need matching state dollars. These four schools were the lowest-ranked high school facilities on the school system’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing evaluations and will require a multi-year effort to resolve. 

We also include $4 million to finish the renovation of Pikesville High School, an important project supported by Councilwoman Vicki Almond and Mrs. Jill Kamenetz, a proud Pikesville High graduate. In addition, we will fund several maintenance upgrades at Randallstown High School, including boys’ locker replacements. I particularly want to thank Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones for securing $500,000 in state funding for this project, along with the rest of our tenth district delegation.

While we continue our commitment to rebuilding and improving our aging school facilities, our plans for BCPS must not be limited to bricks and mortar. Anthropologist Margaret Mead offered some timeless insight when she said, “We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.” It is for that reason we have invested upwards of $20 million in recent years to give our students the tools they need to succeed in the age of supercolliders, 3D printers and awe-inspiring tweets from outer space.

This budget supports the further modernization of our school system by investing $5.6 million in instructional materials for its digital conversion, which will create 21st century learning environments for our students, teachers and school staff.

Once again, we will fund our $1.6 billion school system budget above maintenance of effort level. And significantly, we propose use of $34.3 million in PAYGO funds for BCPS capital projects as part of a funding increase of $31.2 million over fiscal year 2015.

I thank Dr. Dance and all of Team BCPS for their continued leadership and results-oriented approach to educating our most precious citizens in this fast-paced and ever-changing world. Our school system’s modernized facilities, along with its significant advances in the use of digital devices, second language instruction, and the increased focus on STEM studies and achievement goals, will ensure that Baltimore County’s students will be equipped to lead the nation.

In terms of higher education and lifelong learning, we include a $2 million increase above maintenance of effort for the Community College of Baltimore County to prevent a rise in tuition costs. Our new director of the Baltimore County Public Library, Paula Miller, has hit the ground running and is working well with stakeholders and county government to manage one of the finest library systems in the country. I look forward to reviewing her new strategic plan for the County’s libraries.

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Public Safety

There is no government responsibility more critical to the success of the communities it serves than the protection of its citizens; therefore, we have invested greatly in our public safety agencies.

Over the past decade, Baltimore County has witnessed remarkable success in reducing crime. Thanks to deliberate crime-fighting strategies, the Baltimore County Police Department has driven down total crime by a projected 18 percent since 2006 – despite an increase in population that has added more than 41,000 residents in that time. Part 1 Violent Crime – the most serious crimes, including homicide, robbery, aggravated assault and rape – fell by an astounding 29 percent during this period.

When crime does occur, our police department excels at clearing cases – arresting suspects and building cases that lead to successful prosecutions, getting criminals off our streets. Our case clearance rates far exceed state and national averages. This is a credit to the expertise and dedication of our officers and detectives, aided by our commitment to provide the necessary tools and resources.

General Colin Powell once said, “Trust is the essence of leadership.” With recent events from Ferguson, Missouri, to North Charleston, South Carolina, drawing widespread media attention, law enforcement agencies across the nation face intense public scrutiny, struggling to find ways to cultivate supportive relationships with the communities they serve. Here in Baltimore County, we can be proud that our police recognize their responsibility to maintain the public trust, and we continue to explore strategies and technologies that enhance transparency. Our officers recently began using Tasers equipped with cameras so that we can better understand and evaluate what happens during high-stress incidents, and a departmental committee is completing a study of the complex issue of police body cameras. The Department also has embraced social and web-based media as a vehicle for accessibility and communication.

We are equally proud of our fire department. When it comes to fighting fires, aiding the trapped or injured and saving lives, Baltimore County has one of the best-prepared and best-equipped fire departments in the nation. We have allocated millions of dollars in recent years for new fire apparatus and specialized tools to help firefighters and EMS personnel do their jobs. All of our firefighters recently trained in new best practices for fire suppression, and the Fire Department promoted 31 new paramedics to help meet the growing demand for emergency medical services in our county.

As Baltimore County’s population becomes more diverse, we have made a commitment to further diversify our public safety workforce. In order to remain successful, the rank and file, as well as the command staff of our first responders must reflect and understand the variety of people we serve. The most recent police promotions created the most diverse command staff in the Police Department’s history. The Baltimore County Fire Department continues to be one of the nation’s leaders in the employment of women, with a rate of 20 percent; making history in 2014 when, for the first time, it assigned a woman, Battalion Chief Jennifer Utz, to command the Fire-Rescue Academy.

We continue our commitment to diversifying the Baltimore County Police Department in fiscal year 2016 with increased funding of more than $600,000 for the recruitment of qualified police cadets and officers. We also include $800,000 to expand Fire Department operations, allowing for the deployment of four additional medic units to reduce emergency response time. To support these additional medic units, plus other initiatives in the Fire Department, this budget includes almost $300,000 for two additional division chiefs. We also propose a 5.5 percent increase to $290 per month for the volunteer firefighters in our Length of Service Award Program, and a $250,000 increase as an incentive for volunteer fire companies to staff their medic units. Requested by the Baltimore County Volunteer Fire Association, this increase for EMS subsidies brings the total incentive to nearly $2 million.

I thank Police Chief Jim Johnson, Fire Chief John Hohman and the men and women of their departments for their outstanding service in protecting our communities.

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Rebuilding our Aging Infrastructure

Everyone in Baltimore County – from our police officers and firefighters, to our school bus drivers, to our county’s families and businesses – everyone depends on local government to maintain and improve our 673 bridges and nearly 8,000 miles of roads, water lines and sewage lines.

Water main breaks and sewage overflows are occurring more frequently, which is not surprising considering that 60 percent of Baltimore County's water and sewer pipes have reached or surpassed the average 50-year life span. More than half of the County's pipes were installed before 1970, with the majority in the 1950s. The County’s sewage treatment facilities and the City’s water filtration plants, for which county users pay a pro-rata consumption share, all were built between 1911 and 1956. Every pipe and facility is truly showing its age, with water main breaks and sewage leaks threatening reliability, health and safety.

The County has completed an inspection of the entire system – more than 3,000 miles of sewer line and 117 pumping stations in 23 sewer sheds – and we are now moving forward with the implementation of the necessary repairs identified in those evaluations.

At the same time, miles and miles of pipe and hundreds of manholes and house connections have already been relined or repaired. In addition, more than half of the sewage pumping stations have been completely modernized or replaced, and additional projects are on the horizon.

Other recent investments include the $14 million White Marsh Run Stream Restoration and Sewer Project that began last fall to update the infrastructure and prevent a torrent of pollution and excess nutrients from eroding the stream and choking nearby waterways, all while solving a longstanding sewage problem in the community. We also have made significant investments over the past four years to repair and resurface roads, including the projects on Owings Mills Boulevard and Campbell Boulevard to be completed this year.

Speaking of boulevards…as you all know, the last few years have brought some very bad weather, wreaking havoc upon our roads. Recognizing this immediate need, we are proposing $45 million over the next two fiscal years for a sustained commitment to road resurfacing projects throughout the county. We also include $300,000 in engineering costs for sidewalk improvements on Windsor Mill Road, a long-awaited project championed by Councilman Jones, Delegate Sydnor and others.

These public works infrastructure projects are not just a priority, they are crucial to maintaining safety and a high quality of life in our county.

I would like to thank Director Ed Adams and the entire Department of Public Works for the outstanding work they do each and every day for the citizens of this county – especially after such a difficult winter season. Well done!

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Economic Development

Today, thanks to the investments we have made in our communities, Baltimore County is a place where more people live, more people work, and more businesses invest.

We have worked hard to keep Baltimore County a place where businesses create a cycle of economic success. Our economic and workforce development focus starts with asking businesses what they need, and more often than not, our county’s small businesses tell us they need flexible financing to help them grow.

Baltimore County’s new Boost Funds are providing capital to small, minority- and women-owned businesses. Thanks to a Boost Fund loan, Michele’s Granola, which sells to 250 stores across the country, just moved into larger production space in Timonium. Thanks to Boost Funds, Amethyst Technologies, a biotech firm at the bwtech@UMBC business incubator, can now hire 20 new employees. And thanks to Boost, veteran-owned Aegis Mechanical Contracting at Federal Center in the Woodlawn Enterprise Zone now has more working capital.

This is business support – and business success – in action. This, too, is smart government.   

Companies tell us that a steady stream of well-trained workers also is vital to their success. Last year, there were more than 40,000 visits to our career centers; visits by people such as Candy Kriegar, who learned how to leverage her experience as a small business owner to land an administrative position with Utility Line Corporation. Toyota Financial Services found Desitini Daniels, who rebooted her career after an employment contract ended, and RG Steel worker Robert Goode got the career counseling he needed to get hired as a welder.

We must be doing something right. In the last four years, our 21,000 Baltimore County businesses have attracted billions in private investment countywide, increasing our tax base and allowing us to maintain stable tax rates for everyone.

Drive around the county – you will see construction cranes in Owings Mills, White Marsh-Middle River, Halethorpe, and more, including two new headquarters rising in Sparks for Kelly and Associates and U.S. Lacrosse. 

Downtown Towson alone has attracted close to $1 billion in recent private investment, including a state-of-the-art entertainment complex, new-to-the-county restaurants, Baltimore County’s first Whole Foods, and more than 2,600 new apartments that are attracting residents to this new urban vibe. 

The redevelopment of Sparrows Point has the potential to be the most important driver of new jobs and investment in the region. New local ownership shares our vision of Sparrows Point as a revived center for port-related industries, logistics and advanced manufacturing. There is quite simply no other location like it along the Eastern Seaboard – and Dundalk and all of Baltimore County will benefit.   

All of this solid private investment and a strengthening economy have lowered our unemployment rate, which dropped from 8 percent in 2010 to 5.9 percent this past February. There are 414,000 county residents working today, almost one-third of the total employment in the Baltimore metro area.

I thank Department of Economic and Workforce Development Director Will Anderson and his entire team for their excellent service to the people of this county.

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Baltimore County’s Legacy

Baltimore County’s businesses, its government, and its people share a common vision for a bright future — not merely over the next five or ten years, but for generations to come.

We ask ourselves, “What do we want our county to be 50 or 100 years from now? What kind of place do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?”

Answering these questions requires more than just responsible budget management. It requires the practice of smart government, which enables us to invest in our vision for this county’s future. We want to build the foundation for a way of life that will be cherished long after we’ve passed the torch to those who will follow. We demand a Baltimore County where everyone is valued – a place that everyone is proud to call home. As we move forward, with our goals in focus and within reach, let us remember the sage advice of W.E.B. DuBois, who said, “Now is the accepted time – not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed of time; now are the hours of work; and tomorrow comes the harvest.”

And that, my fellow citizens, is the essence of smart government.

Respectfully submitted,

Kevin Kamenetz, County Executive

Kevin Kamenetz
County Executive

 
Revised April 6, 2016         

 

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Phone: 410-887-2450

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