Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

Baltimore County News

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

By Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive

Taxes are due today. So where do your County taxes go? How do we build a budget so we can invest in what’s important to the people who live and do business here?

Steady economic growth is building our tax base. The budget we submitted to the County Council for next year maintains the current income and property tax rates and supports our priorities: educating our children, keeping our communities safe and healthy, maintaining our infrastructure, and preserving our land and water resources.

Your Baltimore County taxes are at work when a police officer responds, a bridge is repaired, and a homeless family finds shelter.

Sixty percent of our operating budget supports our public schools, community college and libraries. Why is education our #1 priority? It is our obligation to make sure all of our children learn the skills they need to get good jobs and thrive.

 

I wish we could upgrade every playing field, re-pave every road, and build new schools in every part of the county all at once. But at the end of the day, we have to balance the checkbook.

We are committed to being good stewards of every tax dollar.

It’s the responsible way to run a government.                              

Details of the FY2019 budget submitted to the Baltimore County Council can be found here. The County Council is scheduled to vote on the Fiscal 2019 budget May 24, 2018.  

 

 

 

                                                            


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.


Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that his fiscal year 2019 budget proposal will include a request for $3.9 million to support arts, humanities and cultural organizations that serve Baltimore County residents.

“The value of the arts to our communities, quality of life and economic vitality is greater than ever,” said County Executive Kamenetz.

Baltimore County has awarded almost $26 million in arts and culture grants since 2011. That total will grow to nearly $30 million with the County Council’s support of the fiscal 2019 budget.

Baltimore County grants support regional arts, sciences and humanities non-profits, including a robust County arts community. County organizations receiving support include the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, Towson Arts Collective, Baltimore County Arts Guild, and Contemporary Arts jazz.

“The arts bridge boundaries, literally and figuratively. Center Stage, the Baltimore Symphony, the BMA and the Lewis Museum are as central to our quality of life as the Orioles and the Ravens,” said Kamenetz.

The Maryland Zoo, National Aquarium, Museum of Industry, and Maryland Science Center weave art and science, with programming that defines STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

Last year, County residents visited Baltimore City cultural institutions 771,000 times. “Clearly, Baltimore County residents recognize and continue to value Baltimore City’s arts and cultural opportunities,” added Kamenetz.

Arts and culture grants in proposed budget

County Executive Kamenetz has included operating grants to 40 arts, sciences and cultural non-profit organizations in the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget.

  • American Visionary Art Museum
  • B&O Railroad Museum
  • Baltimore Chamber Orchestra
  • Baltimore Choral Arts Society
  • Baltimore County Arts Guild
  • Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Baltimore Museum of Industry
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Baltimore Theatre Project
  • Camp Puh’Tok
  • Center Stage
  • Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
  • Contemporary Arts
  • Creative Alliance
  • Everyman Theatre
  • Fire Museum of Maryland
  • Glenn L. Martin MD Aviation Museum
  • Handel Choir of Baltimore
  • Hippodrome Foundation
  • Historical Society of Baltimore County
  • Irvine Nature Center
  • Jewish Community Center/Gordon Center for Performing Arts
  • Jewish Museum of Maryland
  • Ladew Gardens
  • Living Classrooms
  • Maryland Historical Society
  • Maryland Science Center
  • Maryland Zoo
  • MPT Foundation
  • National Aquarium
  • Patapsco Heritage Greenway
  • Port Discovery
  • Producers Club of MD – MD Film Festival
  • Reginald F. Lewis Museum of MD African American History & Culture
  • Star Spangled Banner Flag House Museum
  • Towson Arts Collective
  • Towson University Asian Arts & Culture Center
  • UMBC Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture
  • Walters Art Museum
  • Young Audiences of Maryland

The budget also includes funding for project grants for specific arts and culture activities taking place in Baltimore County, such as music, theater and dance performances and art exhibitions. Applications for these additional competitive project grants will be available January, 2019.

The County Executive will present his budget to the County Council on April 12.  The County Council will vote on the budget May 24.

Economic Impact of the Arts

  • More than 6,900 people work in over 1,700 creative businesses in Baltimore County, according to a 2017 Americans for the Arts Creative Industries Report.
  • Statewide, the arts provide jobs for 14,500 people, with $1.16 billion in economic impact, according to a 2016 study for the Maryland State Arts Council.

Arts and Learning

  • Students with high levels of arts involvement have higher achievement levels and are less likely to drop out of school, according to the National Endowment for the Arts Office of Research and Analysis.
  • Low-income Baltimore City Public School students participated in an arts-related summer academic program from Young Audiences. Evaluations show they avoided summer learning loss and, in many cases, gained ground on their national peers in standardized testing.

“The arts must be in our classrooms every day. Innovation, creativity, and the discipline of the arts will help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Kamenetz.

Competitive Grants

Competitive arts and sciences grants may be awarded to non-profit organizations that apply and meet eligibility requirements. Applicants undergo extensive review by the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences prior to recommendation to the County for funding. Grant eligibility and criteria are available at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/arts. 


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017