News center
Our company strives to provide superior goods, on-time order fulfillment, and personalized assistance.

Howard County Executive Unveils FY24 Operating Budget Proposal with Historic Funding for Public Education

Jan 05, 2024

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today unveiled his $2.6 billion Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) operating budget, which reflects a 6.6% increase over the prior year. The spending plan contains historic funding for public education, as well as major investments in public safety, health care services, housing, and economic development. County Executive Ball’s transmittal letter to the County Council and his proposed operating budget can be found here. The PowerPoint from the presentation can be found here.

Our bold vision for community investment includes historic funding for education, ensuring that our school system continues to deliver an excellent education for all while advancing the transformational goals established in the state Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Moreover, this budget provides sustained funding to keep every member of our community safe, supported, and strong through investments in public safety, housing, environmental protection, transportation, and more.

READY AND SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS Howard County Public School System: For the second year in a row, funding for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) exceeds $1 billion, a landmark 7% increase over FY23. This increase of $47 million in recurring County funding is the highest County increase to HCPSS in Howard County history. County funding for HCPSS will be $71.6 million above the minimum standard of Maintenance of Effort set by the State. When combined with State funding sources, total funding for HCPSS reaches $1.1 billion. Our education investment is greatly increasing despite declines in enrollment that have persisted since the COVID-19 pandemic.Supporting Our Educators: Howard County’s funding commitment to HCPSS includes a major emphasis on Pillar 2 of the Blueprint for Maryland’s future, which calls for investments to attract and retain high quality and diverse teachers. This budget includes $46.4 million to fully fund the negotiated salary increases for our valued educators and school personnel. An additional $7.5 million is dedicated to Other Post Employment Benefit contributions to meet retiree health benefits of school employees. This budget also includes $300,000 for a new program to assist educators in the repayment of their student loans. Guilford Park High School: One-time $887,000 County funding will support nonrecurring costs needed to open Howard County’s newest high school to open since 2005. This one-time funding is pending approval from the State Department of Education. Howard Community College (HCC): A proposed increase of $2 million for HCC is the second highest increase in at least 15 years, building on the historic funding growth provided in last year’s operating budget. Howard County Library System (HCLS): Proposed funding of $1.2 million for HCLS is the second largest increase in at least 15 years. The budget also includes $1 million in one-time funding to provide supplemental cyber insurance coverage for HCC and HCLS as needed. SAFE AND ENGAGED COMMUNITIES Police: The budget includes an increase of $8.6 million to the Howard County Police Department for salary adjustments and increased safety investments for our community. Additionally, $175,000 will go toward storage of digital evidence to preserve the integrity of critical evidence that meets federal and State media storage laws. Fire and Rescue: A funding increase of $2.4 million is proposed to create 26 new firefighter trainee positions, which will help reduce overtime costs, alleviate personnel fatigue, and generate savings. THRIVING AND HEALTHY RESIDENTS Behavioral Health: The budget contains $1 million to support the creation of a new Behavioral Health Unit at Howard County General Hospital. Additionally, $1 million is included for Sheppard Pratt to support behavioral health initiatives at the Elkridge campus, and $500,000 is proposed for Tuerk House to expand transitional housing for women and children in Howard County. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for enhanced behavioral health services, and we continue to invest in this area to meet residents’ health care needs. Maternal Health: To advance the County’s commitment to providing access to quality healthcare for uninsured and underinsured mothers, the proposed budget includes $1.7 million for prenatal and maternal care. Housing Opportunities Trust Fund: This spending plan includes an historic $10 million to fund our innovative Housing Opportunities Trust Fund to support housing needs across the county. Investments in the Trust Fund will help ensure that residents of all backgrounds can live, work, play, and grow in our community. Homeownership and Rental Assistance: To help current and future homeowners, the County’s Homeownership and Housing Rehabilitation Programs will receive $6.5 million to expand wealth-building opportunities for more households in the county. Additionally, $1 million is dedicated to Rental Assistance to help more residents remain safely and stably housed. STRONG AND PROSPEROUS BUSINESSES Nonprofit Support: The proposed budget provides $12.6 million in operating grants to various nonprofits that provide critical human services, arts and cultural programs, and tourism promotion. Pandemic Relief: Support for local businesses continues with $2 million in funding for pandemic relief efforts, including funds for potential federal and state grant match opportunities. Fair Procurement Opportunities: To ensure fair access for minority and women-owned businesses, $402,000 has been dedicated for the development of a county disparity study. This study will evaluate and improve current programs and practices to ensure that minority and women-owned businesses are afforded fair opportunities to take part in County procurements. CLEAN AND SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT Environmental Resiliency: This spending plan includes $500,000 to continue the Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program in partnership with the Howard County Conservancy, which provides a new mechanism to preserve environmentally valuable nonprofit-owned land for our future.

In addition, $75,000 is budgeted to update Howard County’s Landscape Manual in alignment with the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP), and $450,000 is included to support small-scale stormwater retention projects built by Howard EcoWorks. Supporting Local Farms: The proposed budget includes $20,000 for “We are HoCo Fresh” to promote and encourage restaurants to purchase locally from Howard County Farms. Another $32,500 will support Roving Radish Marketplace and Meal Kits programs to help make farm fresh meals affordable to residents. Funding of $150,000 is also provided to determine the feasibility of a USDA meat processing facility in Howard County. RELIABLE AND ACCESSIBLE INFRASTRUCTURE Improving Connectivity: The proposed budget includes $150,000 to expand bus service in the Elkridge area. Additionally, $4.4 million in one-time PAYGO funding is provided in the Capital Budget to support bus stop improvements, sidewalks, road and bridge projects, and more. This spending plan also includes $150,000 for the development of a new Transportation Master Plan for Howard County. Ellicott City Safe and Sound: The proposed operating budget directs $40.7 million in one-time PAYGO funds to the Capital Budget to support Ellicott City Safe and Sound projects, including the Extended North Tunnel and Maryland Avenue Culvert. These critical infrastructure projects will reduce the impact of severe flood events in historic Ellicott City. Road Repairs: This spending plan transfers $12.8 million in one-time PAYGO funds to the Capital Budget to address critical road resurfacing needs and preventative maintenance. This is the second largest investment in the past decade to support the ongoing road resurfacing needs for 1,080 miles of county roads.


Innovation Grants: Building on efforts to promote modernization, digital equity, and innovation, the FY24 proposed budget includes $500,000 in funding for Innovation Grants to keep Howard County on the cutting-edge.

Cybersecurity and Resilience: The proposed budget includes $600,000 to create five new technology positions to help improve our resilience to ransomware and other cybersecurity threats. These positions will also collect and analyze critical data in support of our vision of data-driven management and response to resident needs.WORKFORCE

Supporting Our Employees: To support and retain our hard-working employees and help recruit new staff, the budget funds existing and anticipated collective bargaining agreements, a 5% increase or more in general for cost-of-living increases, and step increases for qualifying employees.

We recognize that fiscal restraint is necessary during a time of rising service costs and economic uncertainty. The investments we propose are possible because of the intentional, strategic, and responsible fiscal management we have exercised to ensure Howard County secured its AAA bond rating. This spending plan is designed to maintain these ratings. Working together, we will continue to advance our bold vision of community investment and deliver an excellent quality of live for all in Howard County.

READY AND SUCCESSFUL STUDENTSHoward County Public School System:Supporting Our Educators:Guilford Park High School:Howard Community College (HCC):Howard County Library System (HCLS):SAFE AND ENGAGED COMMUNITIES Police:Fire and Rescue:THRIVING AND HEALTHY RESIDENTSBehavioral Health:Maternal Health:Housing Opportunities Trust Fund:Homeownership and Rental Assistance:STRONG AND PROSPEROUS BUSINESSESNonprofit Support:Pandemic Relief:Fair Procurement Opportunities:CLEAN AND SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTEnvironmental Resiliency:Supporting Local Farms:RELIABLE AND ACCESSIBLE INFRASTRUCTUREImproving Connectivity:Ellicott City Safe and Sound:Road Repairs:INNOVATIVE AND EFFICIENT GOVERNMENTInnovation Grants:Cybersecurity and Resilience:WORKFORCESupporting Our Employees: