Howard County Council Proposes Budget Amendments

Monday night, the five member Howard County Council voted to a budget amendment that would transfer$48,000 from their office to the Neighbor Ride transportation program and Department of Citizen Services emergency fund.  The Columbia Flier reports:

More than $4,000 would flush out the Neighbor Ride budget, which serves the county’s senior citizens, while the remaining funds would be doled out at the discretion of citizen services officials.

The money, part of County Executive Kenneth Ulman’s $824 million proposed operating budget, could be used to support other citizen services, such as the family stabilization fund, which helps families stay in their homes at times of crisis.

“Typically, that money would end up in surplus (and) we felt that was enough of (a track record) to show we did not need the funds,” council chairwoman Courtney Watson said.

Accompanying the proposed reallocation of $48,000 of funds, chairwoman Watson and council member Gregory Fox,  each proposed separate amendments that would cut a substantial amount funding to Healthy Howard Inc., a program designed to offer affordable health care needs and services to county residents.  County Executive Kenneth Ullman’s $824 million proposed operating budget, $500,000 allocated to the Health Howard Inc. program.   Watson proposed a budget amendment to cut $252,000 from the program, while Fox offered a $300,000 cut.

“My feeling is that in the difficult budget environment, that service is one that we can forgo,” Watson said Monday afternoon, explaining that her $252,000 suggested cut accounts for the salaries of 3.6 health coaches.

Fox said his proposed reduction accounts for the fact that the number of those enrolled in Healthy Howard is about one-third of the enrollment expected when the program launched in 2008.

For additional information on the proposed budget, click  here.

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