After much debate and scrutiny, the Anne Arundel County Council approved a fiscal 2016 budget providing tax relief and making many strategic investments. A county press release highlights the key initiatives funded in the operating and capital budget.
The amended budget delivers on the County’s Executive’s five point strategic plan for a stronger Anne Arundel County, including:
- Reducing Taxes: The $11 million reduction in income taxes will help working families across the county.
- Strengthening our Education System: The budget contains teacher pay increases, as well as planning funding for a new Crofton High School and to study the feasibility of building two, smaller high schools to replace the Old Mill Complex.
- Enhancing Public Safety: The budget plan includes funding for 20 new public safety personnel, new police academy and 3% compensation increase.
- Reforming County Government: With an overall reduction in non-public safety departmental budgets, investments in technology and a hiring freeze, the budget makes county government more efficient and effective with $4 million in annual savings.
- Improve Our Waterways: The budget protects our waterways and the Bay through $70 million to support critical projects, including 1.5 miles of stormwater pipe repairs, over 300 outfall projects, 74 stormwater pond retrofits, and 9 miles of stream restorations.
The capital budget makes a number of investments through the “JumpStart Anne Arundel Capital Funding.”
- Smaller Schools: The budget takes a significant financial step towards smaller schools by funding a study to examine splitting the current Old Mill Complex into two smaller, neighborhood high schools.
- Crofton High School: For the first time in county history, there is funding allocated for a high school in the Crofton area.
- New Police Academy and Central Booking: The County Executive has kept this promise not only to ensure more public safety personnel, but to give them the tools to fight crime effectively. Central Booking and the new Police Academy are historic investments in our public safety infrastructure.
- Annapolis Library: To strengthen our system of libraries, the budget begins construction on an expanded 32,5000 sq. library on West Street in Annapolis.
- Riviera Beach Library: To strengthen our system of neighborhood libraries, the budget begins the planning of a brand new, state-of-the-art neighborhood library in Riviera Beach.
- Route 2 Bike Bridge: To improve the quality of life here in Anne Arundel County, the budget makes strategic investments in our system of bike trails including funding to study the feasibility of a pedestrian bike bridge connecting the Broadneck and B&A Bike Trails.
- Increased Road Investments: The budget contains a substantial $10 million increase in funding to maintain and rehabilitate county roads.
- Expanded Water Access: The budget takes a first step in expanding water access throughout the county by funding the study of possible boat ramp locations on all major rivers.