Howard County’s Adopted FY 2017 Budget Focuses on Education, Public Safety, Infrastructure

Howard County unanimously passed its FY 2017 operating budget of $1.5 billion and capital budget of $316.2 million.

According to a statement from County Executive Allan Kittleman,

We have produced a well-balanced budget that will maintain the high level of services and top-notch amenities residents expect without raising taxes. This budget demonstrates we can live within our means, while sustaining our shared priorities.

As with last year’s budget, we were faced with many competing needs and requests, while anticipating only modest revenue growth in the County. We prioritized education, public safety, community services, maintenance of infrastructure and transportation. The approved operating budget totals $1.5 billion for all funds, including $1.06 million in the General Fund. The approved capital budget totals $316.2 million.

The County’s General Fund Operating Budget includes $562.2 million in direct county funding for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) — the highest level of funding ever — with $7.2 million above the required Maintenance of Effort level. The budget fully funds negotiated teacher pay raises, special education and 56 new teacher positions to accommodate increased enrollment. The budget also funds debt service payments for HCPSS capital projects and teacher retiree health benefits. Total county support to the school system represents nearly 59 percent of the General Fund budget.

The FY 2017 capital budget supports education, public safety, transportation and infrastructure, with $77.3 million for county school projects ($44 million from county funds and $33.3 million from state funds), $9.8 million higher than FY 2016. The capital budget includes full or additional funding for the Elkridge library and 50+ center, renovations to the Central and East Columbia libraries, new fire stations in Elkridge and Waterloo, Phase 3 of Blandair Regional Park, planning funds for a pool at the North Laurel Community Center and flood mitigation projects in historic Ellicott City. Nearly $14 million is dedicated to road construction, $5 million to road resurfacing and nearly $45 million to water and sewer projects.

This budget represents compromise, collaboration and a balanced approach from county departments and agencies, the County Council and organizations receiving county funding. Throughout the lengthy process of meetings, public hearings and work sessions, I was struck by the cooperative spirit of getting the job done on behalf of the residents of Howard County. I am confident they will be satisfied with the final product.

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: