The Baltimore County Council approved a $3.3 billion budget on Thursday for fiscal 2019, which begins July 1. The approved budget includes no tax increases, although Fred Homan, the county administrative officer and acting county executive, indicated that water and sewer rates would have to be increased by at least 12.5 percent.
The budget keeps the rates for property taxes and local income tax the same as they have been for more than 20 years — though Councilman Wade Kach attempted to make a small cut to the property tax, frustrating Democrats who blocked the maneuver. Councilwoman Cathy Bevins accused Kach of “absolute grandstanding.”
The Council voted 7-0 at the same meeting to name Don Mohler as the new county executive. Mohler was the late County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s chief of staff.
Mohler served for Kamenetz for eight years, and as communications director for former County Executive Jim Smith for eight years, as well. He worked in education for 30 years, as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal and administrator.
Several mentioned Mohler in particular as someone who could carry out Kamenetz’s vision without using the position for personal or political gain.
See prior coverage on Baltimore County’s budget here.
As proposed, the late County Executive Kamenetz’s budget funded:
- a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for employees, effective
- 22 new social workers, 23 new counselors and 18 new school psychologists in Baltimore County Public Schools, plus additional pupil personnel workers, health assistants, and bus attendants
- 19 more police School Resource Officers, increasing the County’s total to 84 officers
- $979,000 for the first year of Baltimore County College Promise, which provides full tuition and fees to Baltimore County Community College for qualifying students
- Over $1.8 million toward rat abatement
- An increase of 7.4 percent to volunteer fire companies
- nearly $27 million to maintain and improve water and sewer infrastructure and reduce water main breaks and sewage spills
- $3.9 million to support arts, humanities and cultural organizations in Baltimore County and the region