From Harford County government:
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has proposed a sensibly balanced budget for the fiscal year 2017 providing record funding for public safety and education, without raising taxes or increasing spending overall.
In his proposed $524,570,000 general fund operating budget, the county executive directs all new revenue to raise instructional salaries in Harford County Public Schools and to support salary increases in the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, plus a supplemental increase for those employees classified as law enforcement deputy first class, law enforcement senior deputy or law enforcement corporal. The budget also includes salary enhancements for employees in other outside county agencies. For qualifying county employees, proposed merit-based salary increases are funded entirely by savings from efficiencies within county government, including positions eliminated thus far to rightsize the workforce. Continuing to fight the heroin epidemic, the county executive’s budget also doubles funding for heroin addiction treatment and related recovery services.
County Executive Glassman’s proposed capital budget is the lowest in 16 years at $80,046,575, yet includes a significant local contribution toward essential highways, road and bridge repair projects. Funding is planned to replace Havre de Grace Middle/High School beginning in the fiscal year 2018.
The county executive’s total combined operating and capital budget proposal of $735,168,475 for FY 17 is level with FY16, increasing by less than one half of one percent, or $1,578,378.
“Despite economic headwinds, we are on a path to continue restoring balance and fiscal responsibility for our citizens and employees,” said County Executive Glassman. “My budget proposal demonstrates that we can live within our means through efficiencies, allowing us to reinvest in the people who deliver valuable services for our citizens. Smaller and faster local government with better service – this is how Harford County is leading the way forward as Maryland’s new center of opportunity.”
County Executive Glassman’s proposed budget bill will be delivered Friday to the Harford County Council and posted on the county website www.harfordcountymd.gov. Budget highlights appear below:
RESTORING BALANCE & EFFICIENCY
• No tax increases
• Lowest level of capital spending in 16 years, deferring large new capital projects and eliminating the trend of yearly increases in new debt
• Realistic six-year Capital Improvement Program, which helped Harford County retain the highest possible Triple-A bond rating and save money with the lowest borrowing cost in Harford County history
• Rightsizing the county workforce, eliminating 52 positions thus far in FY 16, and living within our means through ongoing efficiency measures
• County government efficiencies have allowed us to dedicate all new revenue to education and public safety, while at the same time reinvesting in our own workforce
REINVESTING IN OUR WORKFORCE
• Merit-based salary increases of 3% per qualifying county employee; no new money is needed to fund this increase, due to our efficiency measures
• Support for employees in the Sheriff’s Office, Public Library, State’s Attorney’s Office, EMS Foundation and Circuit Court system, with increased funding equivalent to 3% per employee
• A supplemental merit increase to law enforcement personnel classified as follows: 6% for Deputy First Class (Law Enforcement) and Senior Deputy (Law Enforcement); 3% for Corporal (Law Enforcement). These supplemental merit increases are in addition to the 3% base merit increase.
INVESTING IN EDUCATION
• Funding for Harford County Public Schools continues at a record level
• Nearly all of the county’s new revenue is directed to K-12 education
• Operating funding for HCPS at $233,534,504 or $5,988,637 above the Maintenance of Effort requirement
• Support for teachers, with $3.5 million in increased funding for instructional salaries
• Additional funds for special education buses and general school transportation needs totaling $2,745,533
• Restoration of $300,000 in operating funds for Harford Community College
STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITIES
• Doubling to $200,000 the county funding for treatment of heroin addiction and related support services
• Increased funding of $75,000 to our Health Department to support behavioral health and teen diversion programs
• Increased funding of $87,186 for first responders with the Harford County EMS Foundation
• Contribution of $125,000 to Susquehanna Hose Company for a fire/rescue boat
• Creation of a $250,000 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) replacement account for our volunteer firefighters’ life safety equipment
CAPITAL PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
• Highways, road and bridge repair projects: $15,700,000 of which 86% is locally funded
• Storm water remediation projects funded at $6.1 million
• Full funding for Fallston High School’s artificial turf field: $1,550,000
• Priority repairs for Volunteer Fire Company facilities: $400,000
• Upgrades to replace the county’s antiquated and inefficient computer software and hardware: $2,737,500
• Havre de Grace Middle/High School replacement project funds planned to begin in FY 2018
• Fully funded the local share of the Board of Education’s state capital budget request at $8,181,000