TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) – Baltimore County's executive Johnny Olszewski released a $ 4.2 billion budget for fiscal 2022 that prioritizes education and recovery from the county's coronavirus.
The proposed budget included the largest dollar hike ever for public schools.
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"This budget is an investment in our common future and a better Baltimore County – with stronger schools, vibrant communities and a thriving economy," said Olszewski. "Together, we have an opportunity to build on historical advances, take bold steps to eradicate long-standing differences in our communities, and plan a thoughtful recovery that not only rebuilds but enhances the way we live."
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The district council will vote on the budget on May 27th.
Below are some budget details that are highlighted in a county press release:
Offers record funding for education for the third year in a row. The total proposed budget for education is more than $ 2.05 billion and includes the largest dollar increase – more than $ 40 million – over maintenance of effort (MOE) in the county's history .
Restores 122 apprenticeships that were originally intended to be cut due to the decline in enrollment as a result of the pandemic.
Provides $ 67 million for a new Lansdowne High School.
Allocated $ 50.8 million to complete the Baltimore County schools for our future school construction projects.
Offers full funding for incremental increases and a mid-year cost of living (COLA) adjustment for BCPS employees.
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Freezes tuition at Baltimore County's Community College (CCBC) for the third year in a row.
Expands the College Promise Program to allow CCBC to accept approximately 500 additional students.
Increases the Early College Access program for county high school students.
Supports the creation of the county's first dedicated Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to ensure access to affordable housing, support housing stability, and develop stronger neighborhoods.
Extends the program of youth work programs for small businesses.
Healthy and Safe Communities
Allocated $ 16 million to a new fire station and police substation at Sparrows Point
Offers an additional $ 7 million for the new Wilkens district.
Offers $ 4.5 million for a second set of firefighter turnout equipment and commercial firefighter washers.
Provided $ 1 million to purchase land for a new career fire station in Catonsville.
Completes efforts to fully equip body-worn cameras for the remaining law enforcement officers.
Lively, livable communities
Eliminates all overdue fines for users of the Baltimore County Public Library.
Allocated over $ 12 million to major senior center projects across Baltimore County, including an expansion of the Woodlawn Senior Center by $ 4.6 million and $ 3 million for a new dedicated senior center in northern Baltimore County.
Conforms to recommendations of the Code Enforcement Working Group to fund six additional inspectors to enforce the Code
Proposes a new revolving fund to tackle troubled properties
Provides funds to resume garbage collection in early 2022.
US $ 75 million government and local funding for parks and open spaces, including US $ 7 million government and local funding for the development of a park on Greens Lane in Randallstown and US $ 14.5 million for the completion of the Sparrows Point Park project.
Funding to support the operation of the Towson Circulator, which is expected to be operational in the fall.
Offers $ 5.3 million for soil conservation.
Offers $ 2.4 million for planting, maintaining, and planting trees across Baltimore County.
Commitment to critical investments
Contributes $ 70 million to OPEB, doubling last year's investment in the fund, which provides health and life insurance benefits to retired county employees.
Maintaining a fund assets of 13 percent, which is crucial for maintaining the district's bond ratings.
Provides full step and step funding, and mid-year cost of living for all county employees
A region-based WJZ said it felt it was important to help small businesses struggling under the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it's important to help the economy and the small businesses that have really lost a lot," said Anne McAuliffe, a Baltimore County resident.
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You can attend the full press conference below: