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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.


County Executive Announces Baltimore County College Promise Program

In a transformative move that would help make college a reality for hundreds of recent high school graduates, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced this morning at CCBC Essex that his FY 19 budget proposal will include a request for a Baltimore County College Promise program. If approved by the County Council, this new need-based scholarship program, will begin with the Fall 2018 semester, and will cover tuition and mandatory fees at CCBC to enable eligible Baltimore County residents to complete an associate’s degree or workplace and certification program, up to a maximum of three years.

“This is a real game-changer for students from low or moderate income families for whom the benefits of a college education might otherwise be out of reach,” Kamenetz said. “It opens up a lifetime of career income opportunities.”

The Baltimore County College Promise program guarantees that CCBC college tuition will be free for eligible recent high school graduates who live in Baltimore County. It applies to students pursuing an associate’s degree or a licensure or certification program. The scholarship goes beyond federal, state and private scholarships to provide full tuition for qualified students to pursue and complete their education at CCBC. 

“The Baltimore County College Promise program is truly something to celebrate,” exclaimed CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “It will increase access to higher education for hard-working Baltimore County students who otherwise might struggle to meet the financial obligation of going to college.  Students who receive a Promise Scholarship must be college ready, doubling the value of this investment. We are fortunate to have a County Executive who believes in the importance of public higher education and not only ‘talks the talk,’ but ‘walks the walk.’ The Baltimore County College Promise program is an investment in the future of Baltimore County students and our local economy.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our recent graduates, especially those with financial constraints, to take full advantage of the tremendous education and career-advancing opportunities at CCBC,” said BCPS Interim Superintendent Verletta White.

College Promise has Widespread Support Among County Council Members

“I know firsthand how much the people in my district value CCBC Catonsville,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “To give individuals who might not be able to afford to go to college the opportunity to do so is vital to our future as a county, and frankly, as a nation. This is about family stability and economic growth.”

“There is nothing more important to a person than a good job, and access to higher education is vital in opening up opportunities for individuals,” said 2nd District Councilwoman Vicki Almond. “This is a very good day for Baltimore County.”

“Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.  This announcement is about jobs pure and simple,” said Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr.  “Helping people get the education they need to succeed is exactly what government ought to do.”

“For people in my district, this announcement will be a true lifesaver,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. “Free college tuition will open up doors that otherwise would be closed. I am so proud to be a part of this effort.”

“Both the Essex and Dundalk campuses of CCBC are important resources in my community,” said 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.  “Making college more affordable to those who struggle to make ends meet is a very good thing.”

Qualifications and Requirements

To be eligible, students must live in Baltimore County and have an adjusted household income of $69,000 or less, which is the median income for Baltimore County residents. Students must have graduated from a public, parochial or home school within the past two years with a GPA of 2.5 or better and complete a federal financial aid (FAFSA form). Baltimore County College Promise students must enroll full-time and be college-ready. They must maintain full-time enrollment and a GPA of at least 2.5. The scholarship applies only to the student’s first credential or degree. More details on eligibility and program parameters can be found on the attached fact sheet

How to Apply

Students who wish to learn more about the Baltimore County College Promise may visit the College Promise page on CCBC’s website

Program Cost

The current cost for full-time CCBC students taking 12 credits per semester is $1,865 in tuition and fees. The Baltimore County College Promise scholarship is calculated as a “last dollar in” award, meaning that it is applied after all other financial awards like Pell grants and state aid (not including loans) have been utilized. For example, students with $1,000 in financial aid would receive $865 from this new program to fill the gap.

CCBC estimates that approximately 1,100 students, who graduated in the past two years, are eligible for the first year of the program, and the projected cost for the first year is $980,000. Costs for years two and three are estimated at $1.8 million and $2.3 million respectively.  Baltimore County government will provide the funding for the Baltimore County College Promise scholarship from its operating budget that will be presented to the County Council for approval this April.

Current CCBC Student Enrollment

Currently, 67 percent of CCBC’s student population are Baltimore County residents and 95 percent of its graduates remain in the Baltimore region, benefitting local economies and communities. Some 46 percent of CCBC students receive financial aid, and 53 percent work at least 20 hours per week.

The Value of Education for Graduates and Society

Studies show that the average CCBC associate’s degree graduate working to their full potential will see an increase in earnings of $10,400 each year. Over a lifetime, this translates to more than $300,000 in additional earnings.

In addition to higher earnings, the scholarship improves college graduation rates, which promotes a stronger economy by enhancing the skills and job-readiness of the County’s workforce. A better educated labor pool increases the attractiveness of the region to employers, fueling economic growth, prosperity and overall quality of life.

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


Employment could grow to 1,500 at Hunt Valley campus by 2020

Bank of America is planning to add about 600 new jobs at its Hunt Valley complex, significantly expanding its Baltimore County operations. The anticipated increase follows the addition of nearly 300 jobs in 2017.

“Adding 900 new jobs in three years is a big boost for our economy. Bank of America chose to expand in Baltimore County because we provided what the company needed -- a talented financial services workforce and responsive local government that expedited approvals to meet the expansion timeline,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Bank of America, one of the world’s leading financial institutions and the largest bank in the Baltimore region, anticipates a total of about 1,500 jobs at its Hunt Valley campus by 2020.

Bank of America upgraded a two-building 377,000 square foot complex at McCormick and Shawan Roads in Hunt Valley, upgrading interiors and increasing parking to accommodate their growing workforce.

“We are pleased to expand our base of operations in Baltimore County and the great state of Maryland, and we are appreciative of our public servants who work tirelessly on behalf of the community we are proud to serve,” said Bank of America Greater Maryland Market President Sabina Kelly.

Hunt Valley is one of Baltimore County’s most vibrant employment centers, with McCormick’s new global headquarters opening in 2018, light rail and interstate access, and the amenities of Hunt Valley Towne Centre across the street from the Bank of America campus.

The new jobs primarily will comprise call center and staff support positions.

“Our new Baltimore County Job Connector program is launching just as Bank of America is beginning recruitment for 600 new jobs,” added Kamenetz.

Kamenetz recently announced a $2.5 million Baltimore County Job Connector program to help businesses recruit, train and match workers with jobs in high-demand fields such as corporate operations/customer service, healthcare and logistics/distribution.

Individuals interested in applying for currently open positions at Bank of America may visit http://careers.bankofamerica.com. Job seekers can meet with a career counselor at a Baltimore County American Job Center in Hunt Valley, Randallstown or Eastpoint.

Bank of America’s job growth in Baltimore County comes as Fortune 500 company Stanley Black & Decker announced 400 new jobs coming to Greenleigh at Crossroads in White Marsh-Middle River. FedEx Ground, Under Armour, Pasha Automotive and a new 1,000-job Amazon fulfillment center are meeting the jobs potential of the redevelopment of Sparrows Point at Tradepoint Atlantic.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017