The Anne Arundel County Council passed County Executive Steuart Pittman’s proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget. The county maintains a 2.81 percent local income tax rate, which is the fourth lowest in the state. The budget also slightly lowers the property tax rate from 93.5 cents per $100 of assessed value to 93.4 cents, the fifth lowest in the state. There are no increases in water, sewer or stormwater fee rates.
The balanced budget absorbs an estimated $63 million revenue shortfall due to the COVID-19 crisis and is within the county’s spending affordability guidelines. It includes a $1 million contribution to the revenue reserve fund, known as the “rainy day” fund, bringing the total amount in the fund to nearly $81 million. Anne Arundel County has a AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s and an AA1 rating from Moody’s.
“When I introduced this budget on May 1st, I characterized it as a difficult path through an uncertain time,” said County Executive Pittman. “I’d like to thank the County Council, my budget team, and the auditor and her staff for taking that path and making it better. County residents need the support of their local government now more than ever, and thanks to this budget we will deliver.”
Pittman and his budget team worked over the past several weeks to add $1.8 million additional funding for body worn cameras for the police department. The County Council added $1.5 million of funding for the Board of Education to support community ambassadors, 10 English Language Acquisition teachers and seven transportation positions. Pittman also added funding for a one-time pay package for Anne Arundel Community College employees, at the request of the County Council. Funding for these new priorities come from reductions and cost savings from within the budget.
“I appreciate the compromise and hard work by everyone involved in the budget during these challenging times,” said Council Chair Allison Pickard (District 2). “I am pleased to see continued investment in school construction, as many projects are long overdue. Police body worn cameras will bring more transparency to our police operations and I am hopeful that this is the first step toward reform as we continue discussions on racial equity issues. This budget will play a vital and positive role in our ability to respond to the economic recovery ahead.”
Full details of the fiscal 2021 budget may be found on www.aacounty.org/departments/budget-office/proposed-budget/index.html.