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Date: Feb 22, 2019

Report identifies a lack of transparency and antiquated systems as factors that stifle innovation

The Commission on Fiscal Sustainability, created by County Executive Johnny Olszewski on his first day in office to examine the county’s budget and budgeting practices, has released an interim report with preliminary recommendations related to transparency, financial management, and improving budget formulation practices.

“In just over a month, the commission has identified a number of areas where Baltimore County can improve, including how it manages spending and how to more meaningfully engage constituents in the budget process,” Olszewski said. “The commission’s report makes it clear that we have inherited some antiquated systems and outdated methods. In the short term I am focused on crafting a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2020 that is due in less than two months, but in the long term I am committed to making the changes necessary to bring Baltimore County’s budget practices into the 21st century.”

Immediately after his inauguration on December 3, 2018, Olszewski signed an executive order to create the Commission, which he tasked with studying the County’s budget in detail and identifying deficiencies and improvements, as well as suggesting changes to significantly improve transparency and boost community engagement in the budgeting process.

The commission’s members were named in January, and have held weekly meetings, which have been open to the public.

“The commission’s work is an extension of County Executive Olszewski’s commitment to an open and transparent budget process,” said Don Mohler, the chair of the commission. “The interim report is the first step in our effort to provide the County Executive and County Council substantive information to be considered during the upcoming budget process.”

The Commission on Fiscal Sustainability is one of a number of steps the Olszewski Administration has taken to address the county’s near-term fiscal challenges and long term budget needs. Other steps include a series of community town halls, one in each council district, to gather input from county residents on their priorities; plans for a county-wide performance audit to identify efficiencies in government operations; and tasking agency heads with identifying opportunities for savings, including eliminating ineffective or redundant programs, streamlining services, or other innovative ways to more efficiently spend taxpayer dollars.

The county executive must deliver his budget proposal to the county council by April 15.

Read the interim report here.

The Commission will release its final report in May.

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Revised September 11, 2017