Harford Exec Cassilly’s Budget Prioritizes Schools and Public Safety, No Tax Increases

Harford County SealHarford County Executive Bob Cassilly recommended his fiscal year 2024 budget following an in-depth review of current operations and spending. The $1,184,307,000 budget is lower than the previous year and does not raise tax rates. In addition, the County Executive’s budget makes unprecedented investments in public safety and, per state law, fully funds Harford County Public Schools.

Budget Highlights

  • No increase in tax rates.
  • Rapidly expands emergency services – Adding 130 first-responder positions, including paramedics, EMTs, and 9-1-1 specialists, with nearly $10 million in new funding.
  • Supports law enforcement & the criminal justice system by increasing salaries, personnel, and equipment for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, including ten new deputies, pay scale enhancements, and additional overtime pay. The budget also includes funding for 13 new positions for the state’s attorney’s office.
  • Funding for education – $305 million in operating funds, equal to the amount required by state law. In addition, the budget includes funds to upgrade schools, including $20 million for Harford Technical High School, $17 million for Aberdeen Middle, and $16 million to plan a new combined elementary school and Harford Academy, which serves special education students.
  • $23 million for road & bridge maintenance/repairs and $2.7 million for trails and parks.
  • Cuts the structural deficit in half.

Upon releasing his first budget since taking office, County Executive Cassilly issued the following statement:

“I have met with my budget team every day for the past four months and reviewed county spending and operations in detail to ensure we’re acting responsibly as good stewards of taxpayer funds. Like other counties and families across Maryland, we’re also facing a very uncertain economic future and steep cost increases from unfunded state mandates.

I have not raised taxes as other Maryland counties have done. But we must act now to restore fiscal responsibility while maintaining essential services. My budget reduces our structural deficit, greatly increases funding for my top priority – public safety – and provides education funding in the amount required by the state.

I encourage the Harford County Board of Education to take the same close look at their budget and operations to find efficiencies, especially in non-instructional salaries. However, they will be able to fully fund their budget by using a combination of county and state funds, and a portion of the $92 million in unspent taxpayer dollars they have amassed from prior years of overfunding.”

Watch County Executive Cassilly’s budget video here.

Read the County’s Executive’s budget letter and proposed fiscal 24 budget here.