Anne Arundel Council Passes FY 21 Budget

200px-Seal_of_Anne_Arundel_County,_MarylandThe Anne Arundel County Council on Friday passed a balanced FY 21 budget that absorbs a $63 million revenue shortfall and funds core services without tax or fee increases.

Despite a drop in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget keeps school construction and other major projects on track, continues progress on several major initiatives, and fully funds state requirements for public education funding.

The County maintains a 2.81% local income tax rate, which is the fourth-lowest in the state. The budget also slightly lowers the property tax rate from 93.5 cents per $100 of assessed value to 93.4 cents, the fifth-lowest in the state. There are no increases in water, sewer, or stormwater fee rates.

“When I introduced this budget on May 1st, I characterized it as a difficult path through an uncertain time,” said County Executive Pittman. “I’d like to thank the County Council, my budget team, and the auditor and her staff for taking that path and making it better. County residents need the support of their local government now more than ever, and thanks to this budget we will deliver.”

County Executive Pittman and his budget team worked over the past several weeks to add $1.8 million additional funding for body-worn cameras for the police department. The County Council added $1.5 million of funding for the Board of Education to support community ambassadors, ten English Language Acquisition teachers, and seven transportation positions.

The County Executive also added funding for a one-time pay increase for Anne Arundel Community College employees, at the request of the County Council. Funding for these new priorities come from reductions and cost savings from within the budget.

“I appreciate the compromise and hard work by everyone involved in the budget during these challenging times,” said Council Chair Allison Pickard (District 2). “I am pleased to see continued investment in school construction, as many projects are long overdue. Police body-worn cameras will bring more transparency to our police operations and I am hopeful that this is the first step toward reform as we continue discussions on racial equity issues. This budget will play a vital and positive role in our ability to respond to the economic recovery ahead.”

The budget, which is within the County’s spending affordability guidelines, includes a $1 million contribution to the revenue reserve fund, known as the “rainy day” fund, bringing the total amount in the fund to nearly $81 million. Anne Arundel County has a AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s and an AA1 rating from Moody’s.

According to a County press release:

The final FY21 budget includes these key components:

  • Funding to implement a body worn camera program for all sworn officers of the Anne Arundel County Police Department *

  • Fully funds state requirements for the Board of Education

    • 57 positions to open Crofton High School

    • 84 new teachers for enrollment growth

    • 12 new behavioral health positions

    • 76 new special education positions

    • Community ambassadors *

    • 10 new English Language Acquisition teachers *

    • 7 new transportation positions *

    • Funding for one salary step for educators

    • Capital funding for a new West County Elementary School *

  • Invests in critical health and human services programs

    • Creates the Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice within Health Department to identify health disparities along racial/ethnic, income and geographical lines

    • Funding for crisis response teams and the Wellmobile, to replace lost funding from the state

    • Includes $265,000 as the first installment in a three-year plan to bring school health staff pay to the level of neighboring jurisdictions

    • A new position to manage the Opioid Intervention Team and Gun Violence Intervention Team

  • Maintains public safety readiness

    • Full funding for negotiated agreements with public safety unions

    • Continues hiring to fill vacancies (exempt from hiring freeze)

    • Creates a new position to coordinate the Mobile Integrated Community Health (MICH) program.

* indicates that funding was added in supplemental budget amendments

Full details of the FY21 budget may be found on the County budget website.

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