05.31.12 Ulman’s FY ’13 Budget Approved by 4-1 Vote
May 31, 2012
Media Contact: Kevin Enright, Director, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Ulman’s FY ’13 Budget Approved by 4-1 Vote
Education and Public Safety to receive the most funding
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today the Howard County Council voted 4-1 to approve County Executive Ken Ulman’s Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget. “I appreciate the hard work and thorough vetting the Council provided of this budget, and I am pleased that they agreed with the decisions the Administration has made on record funding for education and more public safety protection,” said County Executive Ulman.
The FY ’13 General Fund Budget is $898.8 million. Education funding rises 2.7%, while non-education funding increases by 1.2%. The County Council approved the Executive’s budget nearly in its entirety.
As always the County’s economic engine, its top-ranked school system, again receives the largest portion of funding in this year’s budget. This year the school system will receive $526 million--the highest dollar amount ever budgeted for education. This record funding will go for 80 more teachers to accommodate enrollment growth and expanded programming for the best school system in Maryland. “Excellence in education for all of our residents is a main contributor to the quality of life that we prize in Howard County,” said Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty. “I’m proud to be part of a Council that continues the emphasis we place on educating our children.” Ulman’s budget also increases funding by $1.2 million to Howard Community College which allows the college to staff and open their Health Sciences Building that in turn will help meet the critical need for trained healthcare professionals in this region.
Executive Ulman’s top priority is public safety, and this approved budget commits more than $180 million to ensure that Howard County continues to be among the safest places in Maryland. And this budget provides for a funding increase of 3.5 percent for the Police Department to continue lowering the crime rate and working to ensure that we are meeting our commitment that every neighborhood is safe and every resident is secure in their community.
In addition to the reductions in crime, Police and Fire Department personnel are reducing County-wide EMS response times, a challenge Executive Ulman issued to both departments three years ago given that 70 percent of all 911 calls dispatched are for emergency medical assistance. To continue efforts to improve response times and service, this approved budget includes funding for 42 additional Fire and Rescue Services positions that will help staff the soon-to-be opened Glenwood Station in Western Howard County and bring the number of paramedic units in the county from 12 to 14, providing extra service to Ellicott City and other heavily populated areas. To help allow for all these critical upgrades and improvements a Fire and Rescue Tax Rate of $0.176 (17.6 cents) per $100 was approved by the Council.
Ulman’s budget also includes $5.7 million for those hardest hit by the national economy. That funding, in the Community Service Partnerships program, includes $366,500 to begin implementation of the County’s Plan to End Homelessness. In 2009 the County’s Board to Promote Self-Sufficiency convened a committee to study the County’s homelessness problem and developed a plan and strategy on how to alleviate it using national best practices. The plan calls for better coordination of existing services and enhanced utilization of technology and available resources.
Over the past six years, the County has seen cost savings by continuing to seek efficiencies wherever possible: decreased trash disposal costs thanks to an improved and expanded recycling program; a reduction in fuel costs based on the dramatic decrease of county take-home vehicles; the addition of hybrid vehicles to the county fleet; and the implementation of a new cell phone policy. Each of these has saved taxpayers’ dollars. In addition, the County continues to reap savings from the closing of the outdated print shop, the elimination of its cable television studio and by assuming responsibility for the collection of recordation tax rather than paying the State for this service. This commitment to savings and efficiencies has yielded over $30 million in reduced costs (which continue to accrue annually) without sacrificing County services.
The County’s approved Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget will be available on the Howard County Government website at www.howardcountymd.gov/FY2013ApprovedBudget.pdf by Thursday, June 14.