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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.


Thousands of Volunteers Removed Tons of Litter in 15-minute Clean-ups

At an awards ceremony this morning at Battle Monument School in Dundalk, students and staff were excited to learn that their school won the grand prize, a $3,000 environmental grant in this year’s Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Debbie Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, announced that thirteen Baltimore County public schools were winners in this program that resulted in more than 4,900 volunteers picking up some 4,679 bags of litter in 359 litter clean-ups around the County over the past year.

Battle Monument students and staff celebrate their Clean Green 15 victoryCounty Executive Kamenetz encouraged the audience of students and faculty to think about where litter ends up. “The rain washes it into the storm drains, into our streams, and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay,” he said. “Litter not only looks bad in our neighborhoods, it also pollutes our waterways – and that’s bad for wildlife, fishermen, boaters and the environment.”

 

Clean Green 15 Results:Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools!

The 2017 program resulted in more than 4,900 volunteers picking up some 4,679 bags of litter in 359 litter clean-ups around the County over the past year.

In addition to litter, Clean Green 15 volunteers collected many tons of bulk trash items from parks, streambanks, schoolyards and other locations around Baltimore County. Clean-ups included schoolchildren as well as community-based volunteer activity.

Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge Winning Schools – 2017

Award

Prize

School

Grand Prize

$3,000 grant

Battle Monument School

1st Place ES

$1,500 grant

Reisterstown Elementary School

2nd Place ES

$500 grant

Grange Elementary School

1st Place MS

$1,500 grant

General John Stricker Middle School

2nd Place MS

$500 grant

Perry Hall Middle School

1st Place HS

$1,500 grant

Dulaney High School

2nd Place HS

$500 grant

Sparrows Point High School

Honorable

Mention

iPad

Bear Creek Elementary School

Honorable

Mention

iPad

Edgemere Elementary School

Honorable

Mention

iPad

Milbrook Elementary School

Honorable

Mention

iPad

Westowne Elementary School

Honorable

Mention

iPad

Colgate Elementary School

Honorable

Mention

iPad

Charlesmont Elementary School

 

Clean Green 15 Now Underway for Next Year

In addition to awarding prizes to the winning schools from this year, Kamenetz also announced that the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge is on for next year, with groups eligible to log clean-ups from May 1, 2017 through April 30, 2019 for consideration in next year’s awards. “We delighted to see the enthusiasm for the Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge,” Kamenetz said.

Through this program, BCPS schools and their community supporters conducted quick 15-minute litter clean-ups and competed from last May through this April to see which school communities could log the most clean-ups. The program is open to any group, including school-based groups, places of worship, youth groups, civic or community groups, scout troops, sport teams, businesses or other organizations that wish to help clean up their community. Groups were asked to report their clean-ups on the BCPS website.

Clean Green Collaboration

Through the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools awarded grants to the top winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy.  Examples could include installing a reading garden or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts, or environmental education projects. Six schools won Honorable Mention awards and received iPads and participating schools will receive a tree to be planted in their schoolyard.  

“The Clean Green 15 Challenge is a great, practical way for our students to learn about the environment at the same time as they demonstrate their pride in their schools and communities,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance.

This is the fourth year for the challenge, which is a collaboration of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), Baltimore County Public Schools and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County. This year’s sponsors include Wheelabrator Technologies, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability and Tradepoint Atlantic.

“Litter is not just unsightly, it harms wildlife and our environment,” said Council Chair Tom Quirk. “What I like about Clean Green 15 is that it gets students involved so they can make a real difference and understand that it’s not okay to litter.”

Photos from today's awards ceremony are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHskZwWFBv Feel free to share!


@CleanGreenBaltCo is a “one-stop shop” for news and information on County programs and services that support sustainable living

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the launch of a new Facebook page promoting the County’s commitment to making our communities more sustainable. Clean Green Baltimore County serves as a resource for residents seeking to become better environmental stewards while also highlighting environmentally-friendly achievements throughout the county.

“We have such a good story to tell in terms of Baltimore County’s commitment to restoring streams and waterways, anti-litter programs, recycling, forest sustainability, land preservation and more,” said Kamenetz. “I’m excited about this new platform highlighting the work our dedicated employees do every day to protect the environment. The page is also a great resource for residents and businesses, featuring tangible steps to help people reduce their environmental impact. Please consider sharing the Clean Green Baltimore County page with your family members, friends and Facebook followers. We look forward to connecting with you!”

Clean Green Baltimore County posts useful information and resources related to various Baltimore County agencies, including, but not limited to:

  • Department of Environmental Protection & Sustainability
  • Department of Permits, Approvals & Inspections
  • Department of Planning
  • Department of Public Works
  • Department of Recreation & Parks
  • Office of Budget & Finance, Property Management Division, Energy Management & Sustainability Section

Visit facebook.com/CleanGreenBaltCo and “like” the page to see tips and strategies to help you “go green,” as well as sustainable success stories from around the County and noteworthy environmental initiatives from across the globe. Sign up for Facebook notifications from @CleanGreenBaltCo to stay up-to-date on our continued pursuit toward a cleaner, greener Baltimore County.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017