Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski submitted a $4.8 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2023 that provides historic funding for public education and major investments in key priorities that support the County’s strategic plan.
“In the last three years, we have fundamentally transformed our County for the better and are now raising the bar to become a national best practice jurisdiction,” County Executive Olszewski said while delivering his budget message to the County Council. “This budget represents the needs and priorities of our increasingly diverse County. As we work to fulfill the promise of our county, we will continue building a culture centered on equity, sustainability, and open, responsive government that endures for years to come.”
According to a County press release:
Below are highlights of the FY23 budget proposal. The full budget can be viewed here.
- Provides record funding for education for the fourth year in a row. Total proposed education budget is $2.3 billion, a year over year increase of $91 million in BCPS’s general fund.
- Funds 33 new positions for school counseling, 11 for school social workers, 12 health services positions, 22 special education positions, 44 positions for English learner programs, student activity coordinator.
- Includes step increases and a mid-year cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
- Increases pay for lowest paid workers, including grounds workers, building services staff, bus drivers, lunchroom assistants and others.
Budget provides $96 million in new capital spending, including:
- $49 million for a new Scotts Branch Elementary.
- $19 million in design funds for a new Dulaney High School and a like-new Towson High School.
- $17 million for new school safety measures including security vestibules and cameras.
- $15.2 million toward a new Red House Run Elementary School.
- $13.5 million for an addition to Dundalk High School.
- $8 million to begin planning and design of capacity improvements for Sparrows Point and Patapsco High Schools.
- $5.81 million for an addition to Pine Grove Middle School.
- $5 million to begin planning and design efforts to address capacity challenges in the Northeast region.
- $5 million for expanded access to Pre-K programming.
- $2.5 million for a career and technical education (CTE) facility in western Baltimore County.
- $1 million for BCPS sports court renovations.
- Freezes in-County tuition at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) for fourth year in a row.
- Sustains the College Promise Program, enabling CCBC to accept approximately 875 students – 764 more than in FY2019.
- Provides $15 million in capital improvements for the Fire Department, including planning and design for a new Catonsville Fire Station, underground storage tanks and commercial grade washers and dryers.
- Creates positions in the Police Department for a wellness director, police community engagement manager, eight new data scientists, seven forensics positions and four floating school resource officers.
- Provides $1.3 million for a take-home car pilot program for select police precincts.
- Funds a feasibility study for the aging Essex Police Precinct.
- Fully funds the County’s match for the State’s Summer SNAP program, which will expand food access for more than 10,000 kids.
- Provides planning funds for a new Jacksonville Senior Center.
- Funds eight new senior affairs positions along with one volunteer coordinator.
- Dedicates $15 million in capital investments for Baltimore County Public Library, including $13 million for a renovation of the Woodlawn Branch.
- Provides millions of dollars for road repaving, traffic calming and new pedestrian walkways.
- Increases pay for Loop drivers and expands CountyRide Service to Saturday.
- Provides $45 million in capital funding for recreation and parks throughout Baltimore County.
- Creates two new Forestry Management divisions to expand tree planting, including Operation Re-Tree and funds the planting of 1,000 new trees in underserved communities.
- Provides $600,000 to grow electric vehicle infrastructure and $600,000 for green infrastructure projects.
Open and Accessible Government
- Adds four new positions in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space to ensure government services are more accessible to everyone.
- Creates an ombudsman position for the Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections.
- Three new positions in the Office of the Inspector General.
Commitment to Critical Investments
- Contributes $87 million to OPEB, the fund that provides health and life insurance benefits for retired County employees.
- Adds $50 million to County employees’ pension fund.
- Raises the minimum wage for county employees to $15 per hour.
- Provides full funding of steps and increments as well as mid-year COLA increase for County employees.
The County Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed FY23 budget on May 26.