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Executive Kittleman presents operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to County Council

Executive Kittleman presents operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to County Council

April 20, 2018 

Media Contact: 
Deidre McCabe, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, 410-313-4023
Holly Sun, Howard County Budget Administrator, 410-313-2077

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today presented his $1.6 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to the County Council, continuing his focus on education, securing schools, public safety, measures to decrease opioid misuse and support for Howard County’s nonprofits. 

The FY 2019 Operating Budget represents a 1.9 percent increase from last year’s budget. The proposed General Fund Budget, which supports the majority of government services, totals $1.1 billion. Excluding one-time expenses, the General Fund budget represents an increase of $28.5 million – or 2.6 percent – over FY 2018.  

“This budget demonstrates a commitment to our priorities, particularly to education and the needs of the most vulnerable in our community,” said Kittleman. “Despite a year of financial uncertainty brought about by changes to the federal tax plan, we have continued to fund our priorities and maintain the level of services that our residents rely on, without an increase in tax rates.”

In his budget, Kittleman fully funded Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Interim School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano’s $594.5 million budget request, which is $21.6 million (3.8 percent) more than FY 2018 and $11.4 million above the required Maintenance of Effort (MOE) level. This includes an $11 million, one-time payment to help address the school system’s shortage in its Health Fund, which provides health benefits. 

Kittleman also added funding in the Police Department budget to double the number of School Resource Officers (SROs) at the county’s middle schools. Kittleman included funds in the Office of Emergency Management budget to assist HCPSS with school safety strategy.

Health and human services initiatives are another emphasis in this budget, Kittleman said. For the first time, the county is providing operating assistance to Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) to help hire behavioral health navigators, a licensed clinical social worker and provide incentives for primary care physicians. 

In addition, Kittleman’s budget increases the county’s support to HCGH’s capital project by agreeing to provide $5 million over the next five years, starting with $500,000 this year. The money will be used to build a two-story addition that will add 30 inpatient beds, an inpatient psychiatry unit and a short-stay observation unit. For the third year, the county will provide $312,500 for emergency room improvements, which will total $1.25 million after next year’s fourth and final installment.  

Highlights of the FY 2019 operating budget include:


  • Direct appropriation of $594.5 million to the Howard County Public School System, which is $21.6 million more than last year and $11.4 million above the required Maintenance of Effort (MOE) level.
  • More than $67.7 million for debt service payments for school system capital projects and the county’s OPEB contribution for school system retiree benefits.
  • $35 million for Howard Community College, an increase of $1 million (or 3.0 percent).
  • $20.9 million for the Howard County Library System, an increase of $628,000 (or 3.1 percent). 
  • Continued funding for the Achieve 24/7 initiative for programs aimed at reducing barriers to student success, by targeting initiatives that address child mental health, disconnected youth and summer food and enrichment programs. 

Health and Public Safety

  • $500,000 in initial funds toward a $5 million commitment to HCGH’s capital campaign.
  • $389,000 in operating assistance to HCGH.
  • $250,000 to Sheppard Pratt Health System for third year of a four-year, $1 million total commitment.
  • Continued financial support for opioid treatment and recovery efforts. 
  • Funding to hire a Behavioral Health Ombudsman to assist consumers gain access to affordable behavioral health initiatives. 
  • 37 new positions for Howard County Fire and Rescue Services for firefighters at Lisbon and Downtown Columbia stations and to increase the number of firefighters assigned to each fire engine throughout the county.
  • Extended hours at four 50 + centers -- Elkridge, East Columbia, Bain, Ellicott City.
  • Significant increase to several non-profits providing services to vulnerable residents – Hopeworks, Bridges to Housing Stability, CAC, Grassroots, FIRN. Also increase funding to the Arts Council.

Infrastructure and Economic Development

  • $6 million in PAYGO to continue addressing the backlog of road resurfacing projects.
  • $1 million for Merriweather Post Pavilion to support the ongoing renovation project.
  • $400,000 for Howard County Innovation Center for design and marketing.
  • $150,000 for a pilot Flood Mitigation Assistance Program to help property owners in Valley Mede and Historic Ellicott City.
  • $95,000 to the University of Maryland Extension staff to hire a full-time 4-H Outreach Assistant to expand programming and outreach and a Program Coordinator position for the Watershed Academy.

Kittleman will present the Operating Budget to the County Council at a public session on Monday, April 23 at 4:30 p.m. in the Banneker Room at the George Howard Building. The County Council will hold its first public hearing on the operating budget on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the same location. 

The FY 2019 Operating Budget can be reviewed online at