Baltimore County’s “Balancing Act” budget platform named one of the nation’s best programs as National Association Of Counties highlights five County Departments for effective leadership.
Baltimore County earned seven awards from the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 2020 Achievement Awards, which recognize innovative, effective county government programs that enhance service and improves the quality of life for residents.
“My administration is committed to innovation, citizen engagement, and a government that is more transparent and accessible to all our people,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We’re honored to be recognized by NACo for all these efforts and we will continue building on these efforts to realize a better Baltimore County for every resident.”
Out of hundreds of programs, Baltimore County’s “Balancing Act” was awarded Best in Category—a distinction offered only to one program per category each year—due to its exceptional results and unique innovations.
Leading into the Fiscal Year 2020 budget submission and facing an $81 million deficit, Baltimore County launched an online tool called “Balancing Act.” This tool allowed County residents to learn more about the state of Baltimore County’s budget and the difficult choices under consideration during the budgeting process.
Through the tool, residents can closely examine the County’s projected situation for the coming fiscal year and simulate reallocating funds, and increasing possible revenue streams, in order to balance spending and revenue.
Since 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards have recognized county government innovations, and are given in 18 different categories that reflect the comprehensive services counties provide, including financial management, county administration, information technology, health, and civic engagement.
According to a Baltimore County press release:
Five Baltimore County Departments earned honors in the 2020 NACo Achievement Awards:
The Baltimore County Office of Information Technology won a 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Financial Management for the County’s budget “Balancing Act” platform.
Out of hundreds of programs, Baltimore County’s Balancing Act was awarded Best in Category—a distinction offered only to one program per category each year—due to its exceptional results and unique innovations.
The interactive online tool allowed residents to learn more about the state of Baltimore County’s budget and the difficult choices under consideration during the ongoing budgeting process. Through “Balancing Act,” residents could examine the current fiscal situation and simulate reallocating funds in order to balance spending and revenue.
The Baltimore County Department of Aging won two 2020 Achievement Awards:
- 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Health for the “Living Connected” initiative to combat social isolation.
In response to a national epidemic of loneliness among older Americans, the Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA) developed the “Living Connected” initiative to offer a multifaceted approach to combatting social isolation through awareness education for all ages and engagement activities for older adults and caregivers.
- 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Health for the Adult Well-Being Assessment to help measure quality of life indicators.
The Baltimore County Department of Aging embarked on a partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to provide data for the Aging Hub of the 100 Million Healthier Lives Project using the Adult Well-Being Assessment (AWA) to better understand population health outcomes that can influence policy and fiscal decision-making.
The Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services won two 2020 Achievement Awards:
- 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Human Services for their Child Protective Services/Domestic Violence (CPS/DV) co-location efforts.
The Baltimore County Department of Social Services’ Child Protective Services/Domestic Violence Co-Location Program provides a comprehensive approach to families experiencing child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Clients have access to safety planning services, immediate trauma-based therapy and linkages to trauma-based community resources.
- 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Health for utilizing nursing services in harm reduction efforts.
The Baltimore County Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Program provides HIV and Hepatitis C testing, access to safe injection equipment, wound care, immunizations and other services to help decrease the risks of overdose and infectious disease transmissions. This program is the first Harm Reduction Program in the state to employ a Public Health Nurse to integrate health-related services within the Harm Reduction model.
The Baltimore County Department of Human Resources won a 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Personnel Management, Employment and Training for the Baltimore County Government Employee Mentorship Program.
In 2019, Baltimore County launched its first Employee Mentorship Program, which is designed to promote team-oriented work environments while focusing on enhancing career development, increasing employee engagement and retention, and building employee morale. The program hails open effective communication, leadership empowerment and coaching as key factors to its success.
The Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections in collaboration with the Baltimore County Office of Information Technology won a 2020 Achievement Award in the category of County Administration and Management for the Design of the Land Use Regulatory Automation (LURA) Program.
Baltimore County is modernizing its land use regulatory processes in order to make them more transparent and data-driven while improving overall customer service by strengthening inter-agency cooperation.
NACo recognized 522 entries from counties and state associations in 30 states. All winners are available in NACo’s searchable awards database, where winning programs are searchable by year, category, and state dating back to 2007.