ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s historic $2.4 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Operating Budget was today unanimously approved, across Party lines, by the Howard County Council. The transformational spending plan contains historic funding increases for public education, as well as major investments in health care services, public safety, business and nonprofit support, environmental protection, housing, and more. In addition, the County Council voted to approve County Executive Ball’s $413 million FY25 Capital Budget, making transformative investments in infrastructure projects such as schools, community centers, stormwater management, multimodal transportation, and more.

I want to thank the County Council for thoughtfully considering and deliberating over our FY25 spending plan for Howard County. This budget supports our priorities and the priorities of our community to ensure Howard County remains the best place to live, work, play, grow, and thrive for all. It is because of our steadfast sustained fiscal discipline, evident by our AAA bond rating, that we are able to continue to make these historic investments in education, healthcare, public safety, business and nonprofit support, environmental protection, housing, and more.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive


The approved HCPSS FY25 budget of $1.15 billion in funding exceeds the State-mandated Maintenance of Effort funding by $52 million. This includes $9 million to fully fund the Blueprint, which includes expanding full day pre-K for eligible four-year-olds, increasing student technology investment, and expanding National Board Certification pay for educators.

This operating increase of 6.2 percent for HCPSS brings the total County investment to $766 million. County funding for HCPSS will be $52 million above the minimum standard of Maintenance of Effort set by the State. This historic level of local funding creates pathways to fully restore key educational programs that are valued by the community.

The approved capital budget fully funds the Board of Education’s request of $75.7 million in local and state funding. This budget prioritizes systemic renovations across many HCPSS educational facilities, which includes a record high $36.8 million to address systemic maintenance needs and $10.2 million for the Oakland Mills Middle School renovations/addition, which will expand capacity by 199 new seats.

In addition to fully funding the $75.7 million school capital funding request, the budget also provides $15 million in County PAYGO funds for land acquisition, planning, and design for High School #14 in Elkridge.

Community College and Libraries

The FY25 operating budget includes $44.5 million in total funding to Howard Community College (HCC). This record funding amount continues to build upon the historic funding growth provided in last year’s operating budget and support the unparalleled academic programs offered by the community college. The approved capital budget also directs $5 million to support HCC’s Workforce Development and Trades Center.

The approved FY25 operating budget includes $26.5 million in total funding for Howard County Library System (HCLS). Furthermore, the capital budget includes $4 million to renovate and expand HCLS’s Elkridge branch and approximately $300,000 for the planning and design of a new Southwest Branch Library.

This is the highest amount of county funding delivered in a single year to both entities.


The approved budget contains $5 million in one-time funds to initiate an expansion of the Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center’s Emergency Room, which will help build a much-needed 29-bed observation unit, address hospital wait times, and expand access to critical care in our community.

Additionally, the budget includes a $1 million investment in the Howard County Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Unit and $1 million toward Sheppard Pratt’s Crisis Stabilization Center to further enhance our region’s behavioral health services.

Finally, to support our region’s emergency health system, the budget invests nearly $3 million in the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Public Safety

The approved FY25 operating budget includes an increase of $13.1 million for the Howard County Police Department (HCPD), which will support its staffing needs and services.

The budget includes funding to support the hiring of four additional firefighters to staff two new peak load ambulances. These additional positions are vital as incidents and hospital wait times have increased. Since Ball became County Executive, 94 authorized positions have been added to the Department of Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS), compared to 57 in the prior four years. The budget also provides funding for PFAS-free gear and vehicle replacements, including engines and ambulances. Additionally, funding has been allocated for equipment and uniforms for 38 new firefighter trainees in classes that began in spring 2024.

The capital budget includes $3 million for the North Columbia Fire Station, which will continue site and building design. An additional $4.9 million is approved for the Replacement Fire Station 7 to advance land acquisition, planning, and design efforts in FY25.

Business and Nonprofit Support

The approved budget includes more than $1 million in one-time funds to the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) to support its business development and employment growth programs, including its Business Revitalization Initiative Through Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurs in Residence programs, Cyber Howard, and its business microlending program.

Additionally, the budget includes $1 million to jumpstart Route 1 redevelopment efforts and spur redevelopment opportunities along Washington Boulevard.

Finally, the budget includes a record $13.5 million in operating support to non-profits through Community Service Partnership (CSP) grants, which will support various organizations that provide critical human services, arts and cultural programs, and tourism promotion in the county.

Environmental Protection

In taking significant strides to implement Howard County Climate Forward: Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, the approved budget includes $1 million in funding to support the expansion of Howard County’s electric vehicle infrastructure and $250,000 to launch the County’s new Climate Infrastructure Rebate Pilot program.

The budget also pledges more than $5.3 million towards initiatives that protect land with high ecological and environmental value. This includes $3 million for environmental land banking, $1 million to continue the Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program, $1 million to reimagine the county’s forest conservation easement program, and $335,000 to achieve Howard County’s tree planting goals.


This approved spending plan includes a transformational $16.8 million for housing affordability programs offered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. This includes $4 million for homeownership, $1.5 million to continue the County’s rental assistance programs for HCPSS families and HCC students, and $1 million in home rehabilitation and repair programs. This budget also includes $2 million is continue Howard County’s successful Right of First Purchase program, which is used to acquire, preserve, and create affordable housing units, and $2 million in gap financing to Enterprise Community Development for the redevelopment of Fall River Terrace, a mixed-income community in Columbia.

Furthermore, this budget reauthorizes $10 million for the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, which will be utilized to support homeownership, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, and creation of new affordable units.

Recreation and Parks

Our beautiful park system will receive $12.2 million for various projects and renovations to existing facilities. Park projects include completion of Phase I of the Centennial Park West Area sports complex, improvements to Ilchester Park and Recreation Center, and an expansion of Howard County’s popular Community Garden Plot program.

Additionally, an investment of $400,000 will advance the design of new vibrant public garden, providing beautiful, reflective, and sustainable spaces for our community to enjoy.

Community Facilities

The approved budget contains significant investment in community facilities and amenities, including:

  • $20.1 million investment towards the North Laurel Pool project;
  • $15 million in county, state, and federal funding for the Historic Circuit Courthouse in Ellicott City, which will be renovated and revitalized into a new Center for Arts, Culture, and History, including an Asian American and Pacific Islander Cultural Center;
  • $11.5 million for a new Elkridge Community Center;
  • $3 million for renovations to the County’s Rockland Arts building on High Ridge Road;
  • $2.5 million to move forward with an indoor track at Troy Park in Elkridge; and
  • $1 million toward a new public ice rink in Howard County.

Transportation and Infrastructure

The capital budget includes $15.1 million in funding to address critical road resurfacing needs and maintain an aging road network, as well as $14.7 million in County funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, pathways, and other Complete Streets infrastructure. Since December of 2018, the total county investment in active transportation has grown to more than $50 million, compared to just $14 million over the previous year five-year period. This record multimodal transportation funding has supported the construction of many miles of sidewalks, bike lanes, pathways, and safety improvements throughout the county.

The approved budget includes $1.1 million for new bus purchases and bus replacements for the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA) and the future transit expansion to Montgomery County’s FLASH bus rapid transit service. Moreover, Howard County will direct $120,000 to expand the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland’s (RTA) bus services between The Mall in Columbia and HCPSS’s Central Office, Homewood and Applications and Research Laboratory campus located on MD 108.

Flood Mitigation

Following the recent devastating floods of 2011, 2016, and 2018 in Historic Ellicott City, Ball continues to implement elements of his comprehensive Ellicott City Safe and Sound flood mitigation plan. This year’s budget of $44.9 million will support the construction of the North Tunnel, the final design of the Maryland Avenue Culverts, and design of the New Cut Branch (NC-3) and the Tiber Branch (T-1) flood mitigation ponds.

Stormwater and flood mitigation goes beyond Ellicott City and extends to county-wide resiliency. Out of the 171 ponds in Howard County, 74 are rated in critical condition. An investment of approximately $13 million per year will address seven to eight ponds annually.

Fiscal Responsibility

Howard County continues to exercise fiscal planning, strategy, and discipline to implement innovative cost-efficient solutions to deliver core services. Its sound financial management again resulted in Howard County’s AAA rating from all three credit rating agencies.

Howard County ranked among the top two percent of counties nationwide to earn this vote of confidence, at a time of economic hardship and uncertainty for many local governments. This budget meets community needs and balances the budget by making historic investments without increasing the overall tax rate on residents or compromising other important services to our communities.


Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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