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Education, Public Safety Top Priorities in $3.285 Billion FY19 Budget

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz delivered his State of the County address and introduced a $3.285 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 in remarks presented to the Baltimore County Council April 12, 2018. Below are highlights from the speech.

Eight Years of Progress

“Together, we’ve made tremendous progress toward a more innovative, responsible and efficient local government.”

  • 15,821 new jobs have been added in the County since I became County Executive.
  • There’s been more than $5 billion in new private investment.
  • The County has invested $1.8 billion to modernize and maintain our aging water and sewer infrastructure, plus $129 million for roads and bridges.
  • We deployed new technology that improves service to our citizens and achieves significant cost savings. Baltimore County is now ranked fourth in the nation for use of technology in government.
  • We have made an historic $1.3 billion investment to upgrade and modernize our schools.

Good Governance

The fiscal year 2019 budget does not increase property tax or income tax rates. The budget stays within spending affordability limits, and funds our schools above maintenance of effort level. The budget includes a 3% cost of living adjustment for employees, effective next January.

#1 Priority: Education

Fifty one percent of next year’s total Baltimore County operating budget is dedicated to our schools, more than $1.67 billion.

Teacher salaries have increased by 12% over the past eight years.

Schools for Our Future is a groundbreaking capital program to modernize our schools, not just for today, but to meet future enrollment needs as the County population continues to grow. This $1.3 billion initiative is building or rebuilding more than 90 schools.

Baltimore County Public Schools have one of the highest graduation rates in the State. There is no disparity in the graduation rates between African American and white students. County schools have earned national honors in music and arts education, digital learning, robotics, and more.

School Safety

Since 2011, Baltimore County has invested $13.6 million to reinforce all school doors and windows, adding security cameras and controlled entry.

“With this budget, we strengthen our school safety system by adding more professionals to help identify mental health issues that can lead to suicide and destructive behaviors.”

If adopted, the FY19 budget would add 22 social workers, 23 counselors and 18 school psychologists in Baltimore County Public Schools, plus additional pupil personnel workers, health assistants, and bus attendants. Nineteen more police School Resource Officers would be funded, increasing the County’s total to 84 officers.

Preparing our Workforce

Baltimore County College Promise

The FY19 budget includes $979,000 for the first year of Baltimore County College Promise – funding that will make college a reality for more than 1,100 students.

College opens up a lifetime of career opportunities. But the cost can mean a dead end for even the most motivated students. That’s why we launched Baltimore County College Promise, with full tuition and fees for qualified students to complete an associate’s degree or workplace certification at the Community College of Baltimore County.”

Job Connector

With low unemployment and a tight job market, companies are ready to hire today. But chronic shortages of qualified workers remain in many high-demand fields. Job Connector partners with employers, labor unions, colleges and universities to build a job-ready workforce.

“We listened to our employers and launched Job Connector, an innovative $2.5 million program that brings a supply-and-demand strategy to workforce development.”

Keeping and growing jobs

“These marquee firms chose to stay in Baltimore County because we’ve created a welcoming business climate, with a superb workforce and responsive local government.”

Stanley Black & Decker is adding 400 new jobs. Care First Blue Cross is keeping 2,200 jobs in the heart of Owings Mills. This summer, 900 McCormick & Company corporate employees will be moving to a new global headquarters in Hunt Valley. Bank of America is adding 900 jobs; 300 hired last year, with 600 more jobs on the way.

The Baltimore County Boost Loan Fund has loaned $4.3 million to small businesses in just four years, with a focus on firms owned by minorities, women, and veterans.

Over $5 billion in new private investment

Tradepoint Atlantic, the massive redevelopment of Sparrows Point, downtown Towson, Greenleigh at Crossroads in Middle River, and Foundry Row, Mill Station and Metro Centre in Owings Mills are leading new private investment and job creation.

“This is economic development that is transforming job prospects and economic opportunity for the entire region.”

Keeping communities healthy

Helping those in need

More than 98,000 people in Baltimore County are food insecure, including 30,000 children. The proposed FY19 budget includes $550,000 to support the Maryland Food Bank.

“In a time of overall prosperity, there are still too many who struggle to make ends meet. The true measure of a government is how we treat people who could use an outstretched hand to get by.”

The County has expanded services to people who experience homelessness. Three years ago the County opened a comprehensive Westside Men’s Shelter, replacing trailers. A new Eastern Family Resource Center opened last fall with expanded health services and shelter beds for men and women. Next year’s budget increases funding for all shelter services by 5%.

Reversing the Opioid Epidemic

Opioid overdoses killed 543 Baltimore County residents from 2016 through the first nine months of 2017. The County launched an aggressive program to make naloxone widely available. Our Department of Health and Human Services has already trained 3,200 residents on how to safely administer this life-saving drug.

The County also is fighting the opioid epidemic by working through the legal system to hold drug manufacturers more accountable.

Keeping communities safe

Baltimore County continues to be a very safe place to live. Since the beginning of 2018, there were five confirmed homicides in Baltimore County, down from thirteen over the same period last year.

“The early overall statistics for 2018 give us reason to be optimistic that crimes of all types will continue to decline in our county.” 

Fourteen hundred police officers have been fully trained and now wear body cameras.

Operation Connect focuses outreach by County police officers to local communities, particularly to youth. Police, firefighters and paramedics undergo rigorous training, with a renewed focus on mental health.

Fire and EMS

The FY19 budget increases funding for volunteer fire companies by 7.4%, bringing County support to $9.8 million next year.

Sustaining a Clean, Green County

“We protect the Bay through our Clean Green County initiative, restoring streambanks and shorelines, planting trees, and sweeping streets. Over eight years, the County has invested $1.8 billion to modernize and maintain our aging water and sewer systems.”

The FY2019 budget includes nearly $27 million to maintain and improve water and sewer infrastructure and reduce water main breaks and sewage spills.

Four years ago, the County opened a new single stream recycling facility to keep materials out of landfills. Sales of recycled materials have already brought the County over $30 million in revenue.

Enriching our quality of life

The County has funded a record $68 million in new parks, community centers and turf fields since 2010.

Next year’s budget includes $3.9 million to support arts, humanities and cultural organizations in Baltimore County and the region.

A $7 million state-of-the-art animal shelter in Baldwin, plus a spay/neuter program at new surgical sites across the county has led to all-time high dog and cat live release rates of 90%. The FY19 budget includes funding for a new animal cruelty investigation unit in the police department.

Respect and Diversity

Public Safety Diversity

The most recent Baltimore County police academy class was 40% women or minority. The class of EMTs and paramedics that graduated last month is 60% women or minority. The Fire Recruit Class now in session is 67% women or minority.

The Baltimore County Fire Department is recognized nationally as a leader in promoting gender diversity, with women now making up almost one quarter of its sworn members. The national average is just 4%.

Respect for All

“As a civil and moral society, we must acknowledge and respect everyone who lives here.”

“In 2017, as a result of our Executive Order, County employees, including police, may not ask a person’s immigration status. Three years ago, before Charlottesville, we removed a symbol of hate from our community, renaming Robert E. Lee Park as Lake Roland. In 2012, I proudly signed legislation that added gender identity and sexual orientation to the county's existing anti-discrimination laws.”

The County Council is scheduled to vote on the budget on May 24, 2018.

Read the full text of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s 2018 State of the County address and fiscal year 2019 Budget Message.


A health drink manufacturer and the makers of a gel to improve sports glove performance are among the latest small businesses to receive loans from the Baltimore County Boost fund, a flexible financing resource for entrepreneurs. More than $3.8 million in Boost Fund loans have been approved to 31 companies since the program launched in late 2014. Together, these businesses represent over 425 jobs.

“Fueling promising small businesses is one of the best investments we can make to grow our economy. Boost Fund loans come at a critical time when early stage companies are ready to add jobs, expand facilities, invest in new equipment and move to their next stage of growth,” said Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz.

Recent loans supported two growing Baltimore County manufacturing companies.

Mobtown Fermentation

Mobtown Fermentation brews Wild Kombucha, a drink made from fermented tea and organic juices. Based on a family recipe, Wild Kombucha is brewed in Timonium and is available at 230 locations in the Mid-Atlantic. A $100,000 Boost Fund loan helped the company move from hand to automated bottling.   

“Loan support from the Baltimore County Boost fund has allowed us to purchase an automated bottling line to keep up with product demand. We are adding jobs in Baltimore County as more and more people discover the fresh taste and healthy benefits of our unique kombucha brews,” said Sid Sharma, a partner in Wild Kombucha.

Grip Boost, Inc.

“It took two University of Maryland chemical engineers and a former Ravens tight end to come up with a product to improve the performance of athletic gloves. Our company, Grip Boost, found the additional working capital we needed to add inventory and grow our business in the perfect place, the UMBC Technology Center,” said Matt Furstenburg, CEO, Grip Boost.    

Grip Boost is used to improve the grip performance of football, baseball and golf gloves. A $100,000 Baltimore County Boost Fund loan will be used for working capital as the three-year old company expands and adds inventory.

Loans customized for each business

The Boost Fund, managed by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, can lend qualified small businesses in the region between $50,000 and $250,000 for start-up and gap funding, building and leasehold improvements, business and equipment acquisition, commercial real estate acquisition, and working capital.

Boost Fund loans are flexible, with a reduced down payment and interest rates set at or below market rates.  Payment plans are customized to meet the cash flow needs of each business.

Loan funding comes from the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund, which was established with revenue from Maryland casinos.

Suite of business assistance services

“The Boost Fund is a valuable addition to the County’s business resources, which include free employee recruitment and training programs, site selection assistance, and a suite of financing options. Baltimore County stands ready to support companies when they are ready to expand and add jobs,” said Will Anderson, director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.   

For more information on the Boost Fund or to apply for a loan, visit Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at www.BCBoostFund.com or call 410-887-8000.


There’s a trillion dollar trove of government contracts in America hiding within thousands of requests for proposals and grant applications. Trying to match RFPs and grants to a company’s capabilities can cost thousands of hours.

Baltimore County’s Jeehye Yun experienced this frustration as the CEO of SSG, an IT contractor. Yun teamed up with Jim Kukla, a software engineer and former computer science researcher, to build a solution: RedShred. 

Access to capital and community

Part of RedShred's success is access to capital and community. The company's location at bwtech@UMBC offers a ready network of university research, entrepreneurship, business leads and prospective clients.

Baltimore County’s Boost Loan Fund provided RedShred with working capital to help them hire six more people.  

RedShred is growing. Their software is helping other businesses grow by strategically mining government contracting opportunities.

Baltimore County is proud to fuel an entrepreneur who’s fueling entrepreneurs. 

The Baltimore County Boost Loan Fund is a flexible financing resource for small-, minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses in the region. For more information or to apply for a loan, visit the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at www.BCBoostFund.com or call 410-887-8000.  


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017