Harford County Executive Glassman Recommends Fiscally Responsible FY18 Budget; No Tax Increases, Record Investments in Public Safety, Education, Libraries

From Harford County government:

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman released today a recommended county budget for fiscal year 2018 which includes no increase in tax rates yet provides record level funding for public safety, education and libraries. The county executive’s proposed $543 million dollar general operating budget continues his efforts to restore salaries for teachers, law enforcement and the other public employees who provide vital services to local citizens. The proposed $119 million capital budget invests in crucial infrastructure, school technology, the new Havre de Grace Middle/High School replacement project, and begins funding to connect the popular Ma & Pa Heritage Trail.

“Three years ago we began on a new path forward to restore fiscal responsibility and balance to local government. It has not always been easy, but I am proud that we have followed this path to reinvest in people. In fact, since taking office, my administration has eliminated 122 positions within county government and implemented efficiencies in every county department. This has allowed us to direct more than $24 million over the past three years toward restoring salaries for teachers, law enforcement and other employees who serve our citizens and improve lives in Harford County.”

The $543,100,000 general fund operating budget for FY 18 directs 83% of new revenue to public safety and education. The operating budget includes full funding for the first year phase-in of a pay plan for law enforcement and corrections personnel in the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. Full funding is also provided for Harford Community College. In addition, Harford County Public Schools are funded at more than $5 million above the required Maintenance of Effort with $5 million directed to increase teacher salaries. Funding is also increased for agricultural land preservation, heroin prevention and support services, and historic preservation. Lastly, and at no increased cost to the county, the operating budget includes paramedic positions and a medical director to support public safety in a new Emergency Medical Services Division under the Department of Emergency Services.

The proposed $118,980,000 capital budget for FY 18 includes significant investments in roads, bridges, water and sewer infrastructure, and storm water remediation projects to improve the environment, and promote economic activity and job growth. The capital budget also follows through on the Glassman administration’s plan to begin construction of the new Havre de Grace Middle/High School while maintaining the county’s highest possible Triple-A bond rating. Technology funding is provided for public schools along with requested projects for Bel Air Elementary School, North Harford High and HCPS swimming pool renovations. After securing the missing piece of property needed to link the two sections of the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail, County Executive Glassman has also proposed capital funding to begin work on the connection.

In his budget message released today, the county executive concludes:

“The driving force behind this proposed budget is my administration’s dedication to serving our citizens with ‘smartphone’ efficiency, transparency and accountability. I am proud of our award-winning achievements over the past year for our new online services and comprehensive heroin prevention campaign. In addition, we have implemented customer service training for all county employees, achieved the second highest job growth in the state, expanded service hours at the county landfill, completed a successful update of the countywide master plan known as HarfordNEXT, preserved historic Harford County structures and raised volunteerism among county employees. In all we do, we seek to enhance the quality of life in Harford County for today and for our next generation.

I want to thank the many citizens who shared their budget priorities with me through our third annual virtual town hall meeting. Their priorities helped shape this budget proposal. I also want to thank my Director of Administration Billy Boniface, our budget team, and our valued county employees who work hard each day to serve our customers, the citizens of Harford County.”

Overall, the total combined operating and capital budget for FY 18 is proposed at $811,067,600. The entire budget is published on the county website at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/1531/Budget-and-Management-Research. Budget highlights appear below.

RESTORING BALANCE & EFFICIENCY

• No tax increases

• Realistic six-year Capital Improvement Program; maintaining Harford County’s Triple-A bond rating

• Rightsizing the county workforce, eliminating 122 positions since December 2014, and operating within our means

• County government efficiencies have allowed us to dedicate 83% of new FY 18 revenue to education and public safety

REINVESTING IN OUR WORKFORCE

• Merit-based salary increases of 4% per qualifying county employee

• Increased funding equivalent to 4% for employees in the Harford County Public Library, State’s Attorney’s Office, EMS Foundation, Sheriff’s Office civilian personnel and Circuit Court system

• $2.2 million to fully fund the first year phase-in of Sheriff’s Office Pay Study for Law Enforcement and Corrections Personnel

INVESTING IN EDUCATION

• Record level funding continues for Harford County Public Schools:

• Operating funding for Harford County Public Schools at $238,715,645 or $5,447,307 above the Maintenance of Effort requirement

• Support for teachers, with $5 million in increased funding dedicated for instructional salaries

• Fully funded Harford Community College request at $850,000

STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES

• Increased county funding for prevention of heroin addiction and related support services

• $4.6 million for Agricultural Land Preservation

• Record level funding for Harford County Public Library

• New EMS division under the Department of Emergency Services consisting of 16 paramedic positions and a medical director at no increased cost to the County

• New VFC Ladies Auxiliary Service Program

• Contributions to historically preserve the Hosanna School Museum and McComas Institute

CAPITAL PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

• $15 million investment in county road and bridge projects

• Storm water remediation projects funded at $6.25 million

• Full funding to replace North Harford High School’s artificial turf field

• $650,000 towards priority repairs for Volunteer Fire Company facilities and life safety equipment

• Reinvesting in water & sewer infrastructure: $10.9 million

• Funding to connect the Ma and Pa Heritage Trail

• Construction to begin in 2018 for the $99.2 million Havre de Grace Middle/High School replacement project

• Funding to complete the $7.6 million Bel Air Elementary School HVAC System and Open Classroom Conversion project

• $1 million in funding for school technology in HCPS

• North Harford High School Aquaculture Lab and Greenhouse project funded at $830,000

• Fully funded FY 18 and FY 19 request from HCPS for Swimming Pool Renovations

Comments

  1. ProperInvestment says

    Thank you for investing in the people and not just in brick and mortar. This budget seems more than fair for everyone, including all employees and citizens!

    6+
  2. Just a Thought says

    Thank you, Executive Gassman. You are not spending money, but investing it in the quality of life in Harford County.

    5+
      • Like a Wolf says

        “Hungry” the majority of Teachers who have been on a few years make at least 50 grand a year, 4% increase would therefore equate to $167 more a month at least! Not a bad increase and it cost tax payers millions to pull that off. Apparently math is not your strong suit ungrateful one. Perhaps you can work a part time job this summer when your off so you won’t “starve.”

        5+
          • Like a Wolf says

            This Executive can’t fix what’s happened to teacher/support staff salary over the past decade but 4% is a nice increase for a fiscal year. Unfortunately, if teachers want a bigger raise some tough decisions must be made to the not even remotely close to max-enrolled school system Changes such as trimming some fat on that bloated school system, i.e. some schools need to be consolidated, support jobs trimmed, administrator positions eliminated through attrition, if you want to get paid. Otherwise this school system is so massive with so many employees you will never see teacher pay plans fully funded. That is unless there is a huge tax increase. Harsh reality but true. I’m “just sayin”

            1+
        • just sayin again says

          Boy who cried wolf

          Teachers are not the ones getting the 4% in this article. Read the article. Maybe I should have said reading comprehension is not your strong suite. My fault.

          “Merit-based salary increases of 4% per qualifying county employee” – not HCPS employees

          “Increased funding equivalent to 4% for employees in the Harford County Public Library, State’s Attorney’s Office, EMS Foundation, Sheriff’s Office civilian personnel and Circuit Court system” – not HCPS employees

          The 5 million will be spent for teacher salaries, but HCPS has provided only about a 1 to 2 percent cola in the past couple years to employees when the executive has provided similar funding. Some employees do get steps but that should be funded by HCPS without additional money from the executive.

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          • Like a Wolf says

            So are you saying teachers this year will most likely receive a 1-2% COLA plus that additional 5 million spread out among teachers. From what I’ve been reading the Executive has allocated that ADDITIONAL 5 million unlike previous budgets. Per the HCPS website 4819 school based positions. Even if that extra 5 million was spread out to the nearly 5,000 school based employees that still works out to be $1,037 a year, add a 2% COLA that’s another grand plus, which coincidentally works out to be roughly 4%. Am I wrong in saying that most teachers will be getting a two grand plus pay raise this year, maybe even more?

            2+
          • Like a Wolf says

            Also did some more research, last year was a step plus a COLA of 1.5% making it roughly 4.5% of an increase. So if teachers get the same as last year (which this budget seems even more teacher friendly). If you end up with something similar this year that’s another 4.5% roughly making it 9% over two years. Not enough to catch up frozen teachers several years behind but it again proves my point and then some from earlier that it’s almost $200 more a month in raises (not $5 bucks per week) and it will end up probably working out to be more than 4%! Whether I misread the article or not does my figures and points not hold true. I’m just asking?

            2+
          • frustrated says

            Let’s break it down and try and make it easier to understand. If the school system receives the same amount of money as last year then basically spending is flat (no raises). The new wage package for the entire system was roughly 16 million more dollars. So Glassman gave the system 5 million more then last year, so that leaves the system roughly 11 million short.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            The estimate of the cost of the wage package is greatly inflated. Annual steps for teachers and support staff pay for themselves through turn-over savings. Since administrators rarely leave until retirement and retire in far lower numbers, it is more difficult to fund their salary increases from turn-over within the unit. HCPS has been using teacher wages as a bank account to fund projects. Just look at the amount spent on instructional salaries year over year through the salary freeze.
            https://www.hcps.org/boe/budget/content/FY17/BOE_Approved/FY17Expenditures.pdf
            p. 91
            Coincidentally, this graphic is not int the budget book for FY18.

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        • just sayin one more time says

          You should have done more research. Only certain employees get steps. Steps end after 15 years with HCPS. So mostly only 3% for all of those employees with more experience over the two years if it’s a 1.5% cola. Plus the steps are already built in the salary structure for the system which does little to nothing to improve the lack of competitive comparison with other districts. I agree that the 5 buck comment was a bit lowball.

          0
          • Like a Wolf says

            Teachers max out at step 15 so of course at that point with a maxed out salary they would only be eligible for a COLA. Additionally, it’s my understanding that there are $2,000 longevity bonuses at certain points. However the majority will be receiving at least another 4.5%. Not trying to be a jerk on this one but I believe my original points still hold true. That said I’m in agreement that the overall salary structure here is far from competitive in comparison to neighboring jurisdictions!

            1+
          • Ryan Burbey says

            The HCPS teacher salary scale has 15 annual steps. This is designed to encourage teachers to stay and to compensate them for the cost of continuing education. Teachers also receive incremental increases based on degree attainment through multiple “lanes”. This is a standard progression for both teachers and governmental employees. After reading “step15” which should occur in year 15, teachers can improve their salary by attaining advanced degrees and certifications. Likewise, there are longevity increases positioned at years 19, 24, 29 and 34. These increases reward loyalty and service. All of these wages were collectively bargained. If teachers are kept “on step”, HCPS wages are competitive. If steps are withheld, HCPS teachers lag behind the rest of the state. That is the case currently. HCEA negotiated increases which are designed to catch everyone up to where they should be.

            All salary scales must “top-out” at some point. Cost of living increases are reliant on economic conditions. In order to maximize their compensation, teachers should continue their education; simultaneously improving their practice. If you examine the construction of the salary scale, it is designed to promote consistency and improved instruction through continued teacher education. Honoring the teachers’ salary scale is a tremendous benefit to the community. It improves our schools by improving our teachers and retaining our teachers. Failing to honor the scale is a disservice to the community as it hampers teachers ability to continue their education and encourages teachers to leave the system.

            Salary Scales are located on p.64-69.
            Salary language outlining the 3 year agreement is on p. 42.
            http://harfordcea.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2014/03/HCEA_Negotiated_Agreement_2016-2019-Signed.pdf

            1+
  3. cryin' philberto says

    Dagger press has turned into nothing but a cheering section for Glassman. Truth is we are paying more for less – just wait as the landfill closes and our trash and cash travel down to Baltimore County. Fools if you believe this whitewash. Any council member that voted to put Billy Boniface in to his current job by altering the long standing law – should be voted out. Right now probably only the rep from J-Towne should be left on council. Not what Barry, Billy and the boys are doing for us – but to us.

    7+
      • Not Economically Viable says

        Trash has been hauled down to Baltimore County since Scarborough stopped filling.

        Yes, it’s still open for home owners but the trash also gets transferred down to Baltimore County.

        I’m pretty sure the incenerator that was in “Edgeweed” is done too.

        4+
          • Jack Haff says

            Who cares? It doesn’t matter now.

            No one cares who is responsible, I’m just telling the guy trash service is all transferred out of Harford County.

            1+
  4. Mostly Blue says

    Yeah, Jim in Hickory how’s that Glassman gonna get rid off workers deal going? I’m making more each year.

    0
    • Adam K says

      Don’t know who you or Jim are but from the article you must have missed.

      “Rightsizing the county workforce, eliminating 122 positions since December 2014, and operating within our means”

      4+
      • Not Economically Viable says

        Yeah, for instance, Parks/Rec has been gutted a lot. Even the common nose picker can easily see and read the company names of Private Contractor trucks parked, cutting the grass on County property

        2+
  5. Hot for teacher says

    Why is he spending money on a new school when the enrollments are down and there is enough excess capacity to close some of the smaller schools?

    5+
    • Jack Haff says

      I seriously doubt any school will ever close. So you can forget that.

      I believe I read somewhere HDG was/is(?) supposed to be the IT/Cyber Security education portal.

      You know, those magnet gimmicks where kids get shuttled to the Route 40 corridor because the school offers a specialized educational program.

      I guess instead of trying to hire at cyber security teacher at tech they can just shit can the trade there and attempt to hire at the magnet program. LOL

      4+
      • TIred of the Rte 40 Barbs says

        You do realize that half of HCPS’ Magnet programs are NOT along the Route 40 corridor, don’t you? (There are only 4 true magnet programs: HTHS, EHS, AHS and NHHS.) The placement of the 2 that are along 40 is very logical: EHS and AHS were in the process of renovating when the programs were planned, and the building modifications necessary to accommodate the programs could be incorporated into the renovation designs. That is just one consideration. The SMA program at AHS works extensively with APG, and the location of the program makes that possible.

        I do agree that schools will probably not close, and if they ever did, the outcry would be deafening!

        2+
        • Jack Haff says

          I realize nothing. Personally, I’ve always considered Harford Tech it’s own thing, long before higher performing kids started getting bussed into the Route 40 corridor magnet programs.

          You’re probably right and if Havre De Grace becomes a magnet, it will be 3/5 or 3/4 on the route 40 corridor.

          The “route 40” stigma is never going away because route 40 has gotta’ route 40.

          2+
          • KL says

            The school system in HARCO is a joke… unfair treatment and harrassment of ADULT employees, try to hide all of their internal issues and keep people “quiet, ” and, most importantly allows students to assault teachers!

            3+
      • Time to fix HCPS says

        Not sure why people keep harping on the cyber security teacher at Tech. My friend has been in that job for a couple of years now with the students going to and winning competitions. There is no cyber security vacancy and hasn’t been for a while.

        3+
          • Potato Peeler says

            Oh, there is nothing different.

            You are just too inept to click the “Online Employment Application” directly right under the HCPS logo on the link you just provided.

            1+
          • Time to fix HCPS says

            It has nothing to do with being inept, it’s just typical of HCPS’s poorly designed site. Why would I click on the online application if I didn’t see a job I qualified for in the first place? The page that opens when you click the application link should be the first thing you see.
            But if you think this site is fun, you would really enjoy the site they make teachers access for all their information. Non-user friendly doesn’t even begin to describe it.
            I’ll have to get in touch with my friend, we haven’t spoken in a while and your link says it was posted 3/1/17 for next school year. I’m guessing maybe he’s had enough of working for less pay than he could make in the private sector…

            2+
          • Potato Peeler says

            Keep replying. I look forward to seeing the next one.

            How is it so poorly designed when someone as dumb as me navigated it so easily?

            Before you answer that, let me laugh at your “friend” now that you haven’t spoke to “in a while.”

            What a train wreck.

            By the way, it’s not “my link” it’s the HCPS employment website that has 3 pages of positions they are evidently hiring.

            1+
          • Time to fix HCPS says

            What a strange comment. Why would you laugh at me wanting to touch base with my friend? Simple fact, Joe and I don’t cross paths much anymore when he changed from music to cyber security so if he’s leaving I wasn’t aware of it until now.

            And since a simple statement of seeing a different link than yours seemed to set you off, I’m done. There’s no need for more of your name calling and hostility instead of a conversation.

            3+
          • SoulCrusher says

            What name did the “Potato Peeler” call you? What hostility did you receive? It looks to me like you were having a conversation that is not going your way.

            1+
          • Potato Peeler says

            The simple fact is you lied about there not being a cyber security teacher job opening. Whether or not it was intentional or ignorance, I won’t ever know. A lie is a lie. Words matter.

            Then you back peddled about your “friend” and gave an EXCUSE about not talking to this person for a while.

            You also gave an excuse about not being able to navigate the employment website.

            I really hope you aren’t a public school teacher with the amount of excuses you used.

            2+
  6. That guy says

    “Time to fix HCPS”

    You mention there is no job for cyber security educator, then you are corrected. You make an excuse that about a poor designed website that obviously other people have no trouble with, sounds more like a personal problem.

    Your friend now becomes your friend who you haven’t talked to in a while.

    You come you with your own reason why you think there is a job opening, the current educator moving to the “private sector.” Why wouldn’t he go back to teaching “music”?

    A music teacher that went to teach cyber security? Is that the best candidate for the position who applied and got hired?

    The bigger picture is that you appear to leave a lot to be desired, you could not even admit a fault without making an excuse, on the internet with strangers. I’d personally question your employment value to HCPS just based on a few sentences here, if we are to presume you are an educator by the basis of your comments.

    2+
  7. LOL says

    A music teacher who’s teaching cyber security/IT? They couldn’t get a new hire? Not surprising.

    Seems like when long tenured trade teachers retire, it’s a revolving door.

    Really shitting on the quality of the trade education, but I can’t blame people if they just need a job for a year or two and bullshit their way into being hired and then quit whenever it’s right for them.

    0

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