Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has unveiled his fiscal 2018 budget plan to the county council. The budget is designed to accelerate Schuh’s five-point strategic plan, which includes the following items.
● Reducing taxes and fees: During the last two years, the Schuh administration has enacted more than $64 million in tax and fee relief. The fiscal 2018 budget continues this initiative by eliminating the movie tax and athletic facility and mobile home taxes.
● Strengthening Education: The budget fully funds a $15.6 million teacher salary step increase and the largest school construction effort in county history, including construction money for Crofton High School.
● Investing in Public Safety: The budget includes funding for 38 new public safety personnel and funds the construction of the new police academy and central booking facility.
● Reforming County Government: The budget will centralize all background checks so front line departments, particularly public safety, are not distracted from their primary missions by having to conduct background checks. The Department of Inspections and Permits also has been restructured for better deployment of staff, and the county is digitizing personnel forms to help reduce red tape in hiring.
● Improving the Overall Quality of Life: The budget also makes strategic investments to protect county waterways and enhance recreational opportunities. It includes more than $233 million over six years to improve waterways, $36 million for a fully connected system of bike trails and funding to open two new boat ramps this year in Shady Side and Solley Cove.
Schuh’s budget plan is subject to a series of hearings in May and will be submitted for final consideration by the Anne Arundel County Council by June 15.