Baltimore County Presents FY12 Budget

Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented the proposed operating budget for FY 2012. The $1.6 billion spending plan will not raise property or income taxes, maintains current services and represents a less than 1 percent increase over last year’s plan. The budget includes drawing an estimated $61 million from the county’s reserves and asking county public school officials to reexamine spending on top-level administrators.  The Baltimore Sun reports:

Council members said they were pleased with the budget, given the circumstances.

“The money’s not there,” said Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr., an Edgemere Democrat, adding that it makes that sense that the county is not filling vacant jobs, while consolidating agencies and keeping workers in existing positions.

Councilman Todd Huff, a Republican who represents northern Baltimore County, said he was excited to hear that Kamenetz’s proposal includes no tax hikes.

“I don’t see us making a lot of changes, he said.

Kamenetz described the county’s reserves — approximately $150 million, about 10 percent of the county’s budget — as healthy, saying, “The good news is that’s why the money is there.”

He struck an optimistic tone as he concluded his address

“I assure you that Baltimore County will weather the difficulties that we will undoubtedly face in the future,” he said.

A press release issued by Baltimore County provides an overview of the FY 12 budget:

FY 12 Capital Budget Highlights

  • Total $659 million
  • $25.1 million – roadway resurfacing
  • $5 million-curb, gutter, and sidewalk repair
  • $9.6 million-bridge repair
  • $5 million-land preservation
  • $8.6 million-watershed protection initiatives
  • $20 million-CCBC capital projects
  • $16 million-new elementary school at location to be determined
  • $43 million-systemic renovations for high schools
  • $10 million-relieve York Road corridor elementary school overcrowding
  • $12 million-school building roof repair

Labor Agreements

  • Final year of a two-year agreement with no cost-of-living increases for employees
  • Guarantees step and longevity increases (only 1/4 of county employees are eligible for step and longevity adjustments
  • No furloughs or layoffs during FY 12

Education Highlights

  • Achieves maintenance-of-effort funding for the Board of Education, with a general fund operating budget of $666,899,932
  • Fully funds increment and longevity increases for Board of Education employees
  • School renovation and construction funding- $27 million, including $6.5 million to complete the renovation and addition at Hampton Elementary.

Property and Income Tax Rates

  • No increase in Baltimore County’s property tax rate – 23rd year in a row,or income tax rate – 19th year in a row
  • Maintains the County’s 4% cap on property tax assessments (one of the lowest in the state) that will save Baltimore County homeowners $112 million in FY12.

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