Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released his fiscal Operating Budget. During a challenging fiscal climate, significant efforts were made to maintain core services and support priorities, including education, public safety, and health.
The General Fund Budget, which supports a majority of government services, totals $1.19 billion, an increase of 2.6 percent from prior year. Video of Ball presenting his budget to the Howard County Council can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vs9T_OFPpg&feature=youtu.be.
“While we have managed to support many of our priorities in the FY 2021 operating budget, this budget is historic due to its finalization during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ball. “Many of the decisions were made with our new realities, projections, and limitations due to the response and fiscal impact of the virus on our residents, stakeholders, and communities. During this unprecedented time, we recognized how critical it is to ensure core County services and support priorities. We are proud that the proposed budget funded the Howard County Public School System at above Maintenance of Effort levels, supports key public safety operations, and invests in our health infrastructure.”
By leveraging different funding sources, this proposed budget delivers on supporting the following priorities:
· Funding the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) at above Maintenance of Effort level amid the current economic climate;
· Supporting various government services with no major service cuts;
· Protecting County employees from layoffs and honoring salary increases when many employees are providing essential services to the public and aiding in addressing long-term impacts of the pandemic;
· Providing needed help to mitigate the impact from this unprecedented pandemic, including $500,000 for a Disaster Relief and Recovery Initiative to address gaps in support and services for residents that arise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.
The proposed FY 2021 Operating Budget provides historically high funding to the school system, community college and library system. Despite the current fiscal challenges, the County has proposed $620.3 million for the HCPSS, a $13.1 million increase over last year’s budget and exceeding Maintenance of Effort (MOE) levels by $2.7 million. Comparatively, during the last recession (FY 2010), the County funded HCPSS at MOE levels.
Howard County’s FY 2021 Operating Budget details can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vs9T_OFPpg&feature=youtu.be.