It’s amazing how time flies. I recall my swearing in as Howard County executive like it was yesterday. And now, we’ve completed the first year of my administration. We’ve made tremendous progress and have had many successes. There were challenges, such as the $15.8 million budget gap I inherited. Through fiscal discipline and better-than-expected revenues, we closed the gap and ended the year with a $3 million surplus — without negatively impacting the critical services we provide to our residents. The additional revenues allowed us to keep road resurfacing projects on schedule and provide critical funding to the Community Action Council to relocate and expand the Howard County Food Bank.
It has been a fantastic first year in our administration, and every day I feel honored that the people of our county chose to entrust their faith in my leadership.
The U.S. economy is now in its 78th month of economic expansion. After two months of soft job growth at the end of summer, the nation bounced back in October, producing 298,000 net new jobs according to the latest estimate, followed by 211,000 net new jobs in November. As of this writing, the Federal Reserve has yet to increase its benchmark short-term rates, but this eventuality is now presumed.
Kettler, a Washington, D.C., real estate development and property management company, The Howard Hughes Corp. and Orchard Development Corp. have announced that five new retail tenants in The Metropolitan Downtown Columbia have opened their doors for business. They include the following.
As we look back on the past year, the accomplishments and activity that occurred in Howard County were very exciting, and we anticipate having even more good news in 2016. Across a range of industries, we saw existing companies grow and new companies locate throughout Howard County.
According to the National Association of Counties’ estimates, the Gross Domestic Product for Anne Arundel County is at $35.7 billion, making it the fourth largest county economy in Maryland. Such a robust economy is not just the result of favorable national and regional trends; rather, it is achieved by supporting major economic drivers within the county, and providing resources to support and expand business ventures and industries.
The Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC) has launched a new international initiative aimed at boosting exporting by Maryland companies. The Maryland Partners in International Trade (MAPIT) program will bring together key partners from local, state and federal government and academia to raise awareness of existing export promotion programs; facilitate greater access and usage of the state’s ExportMD grant and FlexEx programs; and build new, collaborative, globally-focused programs.
Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) is proposing to develop two electric microgrids — one in Baltimore City and one in Howard County — as part of a pilot program to test the microgrid concept. Microgrids are self-contained, small-scale electric grids with their own power generation source that can power a commercial center independently of the regional power grid when necessary, such as in the aftermath of a severe impact storm.
As our innovation economy grows, a great deal of attention often gets placed on the intellectual capital clustered in hot tech markets. A key component of the success of these employment hubs is the presence of a top research university that feeds the local tech market: think Stanford in Silicon Valley, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston’s Route 128 corridor or the University of Texas, in Austin.
Mobility is not just an important part of economic growth, it is the most essential component of economic growth, and is every bit as important as good soil is to good crop growth. That’s not surprising when you consider that it’s not an accident that every urban center of activity throughout history was developed along a transportation route of one mode or another.