Steuart Pittman. Photo courtesy AA County Gov’t.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman’s fiscal 2025 budget proposal invests in the people and institutions of government that deliver services for residents, as well as addressing other challenges facing the county.

Protecting communities
Pittman’s budget strengthens the county’s commitment to public safety by increasing the starting salary for police officers to the highest in Maryland at $70,000 and funds a pay package to retain existing officers.

The proposal also provides funding to train 70 new firefighter recruits and includes money for hiring bonuses for detention officers to continue reducing vacancies. The proposed budget also funds a program to provide a Sheriff’s Deputy in every courtroom.

Tomorrow’s leaders
The proposal continues the county’s work in building a strong school system by investing in tomorrow’s leaders today. The proposal fully funds Dr. Mark Bedell’s compensation request with a step increase and 3% cost of living adjustment for Anne Arundel County Public Schools teachers and staff.

It includes funding for staffing for the three new schools opening this fall ― Severn Run High School, Two Rivers Elementary School and New Village Academy ― and provides funding to meet all the current year Maryland Blueprint for Education requirements.

Quality of life
The proposal strengthens the health of county communities by continuing investments in programs that proved successful during the pandemic. The budget proposal provides $1.5 million in funding to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank and funds the Department of Social Services’ SNAP program, benefitting more than 36,000 children across the county.

The budget also includes money for the Mental Health Agency’s Crisis Response Team and adds a position in the Department of Health to manage the department’s Cure Violence program.

Safeguarding environment
Pittman recently-announced the creation of the county’s first environmental subcabinet to lead sustainability efforts and continue the administration’s progress in strengthening the protections of our natural resources. This year’s budget proposal includes staff for the soon-to-be-opened Jug Bay Emory Waters Nature Preserve, and expands the River Days event series to five locations to provide free public water access for families.

The Resilience Authority also continues to bring in and deploy money dedicated to environmental protection and climate resilience work, with $32 million received so far in state and federal grants, and another $58 million in the pipeline.

Fiscal responsibility
This year, Anne Arundel County maintained its AAA bond rating from all three major bond rating agencies for the second consecutive year. In doing so, the bond rating agencies supported the county’s continued strong economic indicators and fiscally responsible strengthening of the institutions of government that provide services to residents.

The budget proposal includes a close to 3% cost-of-living-adjustment for union and non-represented employees, while also funding escalating information technology costs for the new Police Real Time Information Center, the Land Use Navigator and for other tools that improve operations and enhance security protocols.

To accomplish these funding goals, the budget proposal includes revenue enhancements that generate recurring funding to remove the deficit without cutting essential services. These enhancements include:
● Updating permit fees for the first time in 21 years, linking fees to cost
● Raising the fee residents pay each month for 911 service from $0.75 to the state average of $1
● Increasing the income tax rate from 2.81% to 2.94% on income between $75,000 and $480,000. Only 3.6% of Marylanders enjoy lower rates than Anne Arundel County’s

The county’s property tax rate remains the lowest in the region. The county charter requires that the final budget be passed by June 15.