A balanced budget with no structural deficit builds on the County’s strong fiscal position, including the County’s recent receipt of triple-A bond status from all three rating agencies for the first time in County history.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced his fiscal 2024 budget proposal, which includes vital investments in education, housing, and public safety while keeping the County’s fiscal future in solid shape. County Executive Pittman introduced the budget with an address to the County Council – click here to read the complete address and view the proposed budget.
“Our county is in a better fiscal position than ever in its history, and that allows us to focus on and budget for our future,” said County Executive Pittman. “That is why we must be both conservative and progressive. We must make conservative assumptions about future revenues and set ourselves up for future economic challenges while also investing in progress so that our children, families, environment, and institutions will thrive for many years to come.”
The County Executive’s budget proposal invests in the County’s present and future by fully funding the Board of Education’s compensation package for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) employees. This includes an 8 percent pay increase for all units, a $5/day raise for substitutes, a 10 percent COLA for contract bus drivers, and a $2,000 bonus for special educators, allowing AACPS to attract and retain the best educators and staff for County schools.
The budget proposal also includes significant investments in housing, food, and other essential service needs demonstrated by COVID pandemic recovery efforts. The budget creates a dedicated funding stream for the County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund by raising the transfer and recordation tax on property transfers of more than $1 million. The adjustment is projected to provide $7.5 million this fiscal year for eviction protection, affordable new construction, and buyer assistance, with Arundel Community Development Services managing the program.
In response to the scaling back of federal funding sources for COVID response efforts focused on feeding efforts, the County Executive’s budget proposal adds a new position at the Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families to coordinate food programs while also allocating an additional $1 million for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank at Crownsville.
The County Executive’s budget proposal builds on historic public safety investments of his first term by adding 12 new sworn police officer positions and 18 new firefighter positions while creating a reentry coordinator position and reentry hub at the Ordnance Road Correctional Facility. On the capital side, the budget will fund a new Joint 9-1-1 Operations Center, new fire stations at Cape St. Claire and Jessup, a Police Special Operations Facility, and Real-Time Fusion Center.
The budget proposal includes revenue enhancements that allow for investing in the County’s future while increasing its Rainy Day fund to 8 percent of operating revenue to position the County for potential economic headwinds. Among those changes, the budget will keep the income tax rate the same for 98 percent of all County households while increasing the rate for income earned above $400,000 for single filers and $480,000 for joint filers.
In addition, the County’s property tax rate will increase by approximately $0.05 to fund the Board of Education’s budget request. The adjusted rates remain the lowest in the Central Maryland region and among the lowest in the state.
In addition to the transfer and recordation adjustment for transfers above $1 million, the proposal also increases the hotel tax from 7 percent to 8 percent to help support the Resilience Authority. Finally, the budget proposal would establish a new rideshare fee of $0.25 per trip originating in the County, with revenue raised going to the general fund to support transit.
The County Council will review and consider the budget proposal in the weeks ahead. The County Charter requires the final budget to be passed by June 15.
“I want to thank County Executive Pittman for building a sound fiscal foundation for our county over the last four years, and putting us in a position to invest in our future while protecting our present,” County Council Chair Pete Smith said.
“By focusing on the needs of our residents – our schools, our housing, our public safety – County Executive Pittman’s budget balances fiscal responsibility with needed investments in our human infrastructure,” County Council Vice Chair Allison Pickard said.