Buckle Up: Turbulent Times for County Budgets at #MACoCon

At MACo’s Summer Conference, an expert panel shared best practices for planning, budgeting, and managing expectations and discussed strategies for how counties can best prepare for future fiscal uncertainties.

Rising costs, sluggish growth, unfunded mandates, and greater demand for services all signal turbulent times ahead for county government budgets. Economic instability, shifting demographics, and funding the ambitious, multi-billion-dollar overhaul of Maryland’s education system exacerbate the ballooning pressure.

Maryland Department of Budget and Management Secretary Helene Grady led the conversation and moderated an informative Q&A at the “Buckle Up: Turbulent Times for County Budgets” MACo Summer Conference session.

Panel speakers included:

  • Andrew Schaufele, Chief Deputy Comptroller, Office of the Maryland Comptroller
  • Chris Trumbauer, Budget Officer, Anne Arundel County
  • Rachel Hise, Executive Director, Blueprint for Maryand’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board
  • Ted Zaleski, Director of Budget and Management, Carroll County

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The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability & Implementation Board’s Executive Director Rachel Hise started the session by providing an overview of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, including the latest implementation timeline and funding schedule. Hise also articulated the importance and vision of the Blueprint and its aim to ensure Maryland has a skilled workforce to meet modern needs.

Anne Arundel County Budget Officer Chris Trumbauer explained Arundel County’s forward-thinking approach to funding the Blueprint, including progressive taxation and close coordination with Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Chief Deputy Comptroller Andrew Schaufele delivered a current and long-term economic outlook. Schaufele also explained why a strain on national entitlement programs could have significant implications at the state and local level and detailed looming structural budget challenges in the years ahead.

Carroll County Director of Budget and Management Ted Zaleski discussed challenges in meeting Blueprint funding obligations, including limited revenue sources for county governments. Zaleski shared best practices for county budgeting and managing expectations with elected officials and constituents.

The session was on August 18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

More about MACo’s Summer Conference: