Howard County Executive and MACo President Ken Ulman recently unveiled his proposed $1.56 billion FY12 Operating Budget. As outlined in a Howard County news release, the proposed spending plan includes, no increases to the current property tax rate, funding of the county’s school systems $512.6 million budget request, and driving additional funds towards environmental protection initiatives.
“With the economy beginning to show signs of recovery, we must maintain our commitment to fiscal responsibility and, at the same time, position Howard County to take full advantage of the opportunities this recovery presents,” said Executive Ulman. “Our optimism is evident in this budget, but so is our caution.”
The General Fund Budget is $870.8 million. “Even though state cuts to local jurisdictions are difficult to overcome, the financial decisions we have made allow us to maintain our Triple-A credit rating from all three bond rating agencies,” said County Finance Director Sharon Greisz. Howard County is one of fewer than 30 counties nationwide to have a Triple-A rating from all three agencies.
Continuing the commitment the County has made to restoring the health of our environment, this budget increases funding for the County’s Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) by nearly 300 percent. As was the case in the Capital Budget, the primary focus of this funding increase is to strengthen the County’s efforts at controlling stormwater runoff, one of the root causes of the degradation of our streams, waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.