On January 10, 2017, County Executive Barry Glassman held Harford’s State of the County address where he measured success both in terms of the county’s strengthening financial position and in the number of lives touched by his administration.
According to the press release,
For the coming year, Mr. Glassman announced plans to resurrect a job-promoting road project in Perryman and to continue reinvesting in the people who provide vital public services. He also declared a day of remembrance for two sheriff’s deputies murdered in the line of duty. The annual address to the County Council and the public on Tuesday, January 10, also marked the midpoint of County Executive Glassman’s term in office.
Citing his administration’s core values of fiscal responsibility and balance, efficiency, customer service, innovation, accountability and transparency, County Executive Glassman began, “I am proud to report that Harford County continues to grow stronger each year as we move forward together.”
Regarding the county’s finances, he said that revenue in fiscal year 2016 grew by almost 3.5%, while expenditures grew by 0.5%: “Over the past two years the County’s financial position has strengthened. Revenue growth has returned, while expenditures are held in check. The fund balance increased. Debt burdens have stabilized and will begin moving in a downward trajectory as the capital budget shrinks. All of this is why the County has maintained its AAA bond rating …” This highest possible rating recently allowed for the lowest cost of borrowing in county history.
Looking to the year ahead, County Executive Glassman announced the following new initiatives:
To boost job creation and economic activity, Harford County will build the long-awaited Perryman roundabout at Md. Route 159 and Perryman Road. Delayed many years for lack of state funding, this essential project will instead be funded by federal revenue to the county known as “payments in lieu of taxes,” or PILOT. The $2 million investment will improve access to the Perryman peninsula, a premier location for major distribution centers and the growing e-commerce sector;
To save future generations and help current addicts, funding will be increased to $250,000 in next year’s recommended budget for heroin treatment and prevention;
To preserve the county’s agricultural heritage, a 33% increase in agricultural land preservation funding will be recommended, plus a signing bonus to protect acreage near rural village centers;
To safeguard the county’s history, the administration will seek a certified historic preservation program;
To maintain high standards of public safety in EMS services, County Executive Glassman also proposed:
- Creating a dedicated county medical director within the Department of Emergency Services;
- Phasing out funding for chase cars and deploying two county-owned and staffed Advanced Life Support Surge Ambulances to provide an additional safety net, not to compete with dispatched VFC units;
- Creating a County EMS Standards Board to begin the complex planning for a phased-in transition to county-staffed units in service areas which may require supplementation.