The Anne Arundel County Council adopted a fiscal 2020 budget that closely mirrors the budget proposed by County Executive Steuart Pittman on May 1. The budget includes increased funding to invest in county needs that have been underfunded in recent years, including education, public safety, infrastructure, and environmental enforcement.
The Council also passed an income and property tax revenue package that keeps Anne Arundel taxes at much lower rates than other suburban counties.
“This budget is a much needed correction to years of kicking the can down the road,” said Pittman. “We have done what our County Charter directs us to do – determine the needs of our county and set tax rates that balance the budget – and we have done it in a fiscally responsible way. I am proud to have worked with our budget office and the County Council to make investments that will help our county now and in the future.”
The County Council passed 48 amendments to the budget on June 10, many of which were based on the County Auditor’s recommendations and passed unanimously. Council amendments resulted in a $1,291,400 reduction to the general fund. The council added eight behavioral health positions to the Board of Education budget, and with support of Pittman, also added 15 new firefighter positions, a new planner position in Office of Planning and Zoning and a new deputy sheriff for courtroom security.
The budget also includes a $250 million boost to capital funding through the Reserve Fund for Permanent Public Improvements, specifically for school construction, public safety facilities and road capacity and transportation projects.
The budget provides a boost to public safety agencies by filling critical staffing needs. Fifty new firefighter positions will be added, with the council adding 15 new positions to the 35 proposed in Pittman’s budget. The budget also fills 29 police vacancies and adds 10 new sworn officers. Thirteen new detention officers will be added to staff the new Central Booking facilities.
Total funding for the Board of Education increased $87.2 million compared with last year, which includes funding from the state Blueprint for Education (Kirwan Commission) legislation. The fiscal 2020 budget supports compensation packages for educators and critical new positions, including more than 140 new classroom teachers, 50 special education positions, and 35 mental health positions. The county contribution to the Board’s budget increased by more than $46 million compared with last year.
The proposed income tax rate is 2.81 percent and the proposed property tax rate is 93.5 cents. These new rates place Anne Arundel County as the fourth lowest local income tax rate in Maryland and the fifth lowest property tax rate. For more information, visit www.aacounty.org/departments/budget-office/proposed-budget/index.html.