ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Executive Calvin Ball lauded today’s passage of FY23 operating and capital budget plans in Howard County, and said that historic funding for public education, public safety, mental health services, environmental protection and parks and public works projects will improve the quality of life for all in Howard County.

Executive Ball thanked the County Council, which voted to adopt his proposed $2 billion operating budget and $378 million capital budget. The spending plans contain the largest increase in public education resources in County history, and fully funds the Board of Education’s request for school construction projects – including the county’s new 13th high school. 

Working together, we are making investments that are as visionary as they are responsible. We have fulfilled our obligations to our children and our teachers; we our protecting our communities and the environment; and we are preparing Howard County for even more economic development success.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The overall school system budget for FY23 has been set at $1.026 billion, the highest amount ever and the first HCPSS operating budget to exceed $1 billion in County history. Recurring County and State funding for HCPSS increases by nearly $84 million, also the largest increase in HCPSS history.    

Under a plan jointly announced by Executive Ball and all five members of the Howard County Council earlier this month, the Executive’s proposed budget was increased by nearly $16 million in recurring funds to more fully address special education and other needs, bringing the increase in County funding above the minimum state Maintenance of Effort standard to a record $45 million.  
With the adoption of that revised plan today, funding is now available for: 

  • over 150 new positions in special education;
  • nearly 80 positions for pre-kindergarten (which include over 35 pre-kindergarten positions for special education);
  • 26 positions for college and career readiness (which include 23 positions to target loss of learning in reading and math);
  • 19 positions for behavioral health and student well-being (including an LGBTQIA+ specialist and Hispanic Achievement Liaisons);
  • and 14 positions to support the opening of new high school 13, which when opened will be the County’s first new high school since 2005.

The approved spending plan brings the total increase in County funding above Maintenance of Effort over the last four years to $62.8 million, well more than triple the increase over the previous four-year period.

Howard County government is a complex $2 billion operation and requires the right oversight and review to make sure we are on the right course. I am elated to pass this year's historic budget for our residents. The County Council diligently reviewed the county’s spending needs and is pleased to provide record funding for our schools exceeding $1 billion, mental health initiatives, and for our infrastructure. Working with Executive Ball and our committed county public servants, we have clearly adopted the right priorities, and are confident we are providing a strong future for our residents.

Opel Jones
Chair, Howard County Council

The approved capital budget fully funds a $105.9 million construction request from the Howard County Board of Education. Over the past four years, funding for school construction has increased by more than $78 million compared with the previous administration, with capacity for an additional 2,400 students to be available by the end of 2023.

Projects to be funded with this unprecedented investment in school construction include:

  • Construction of High School No. 13 in Jessup, expected to be completed in August 2023.
  • A major renovation and capacity-adding addition at Hammond High School, to be completed in December 2023.
  • A replacement for Talbott Springs Elementary School in Oakland Mills, expected to be completed by the start of 22-23 school year in August
  • Major systemic renovations at many other schools, including Manor Woods Elementary, Guilford Elementary, Jeffers Hill Elementary and more.

Public Safety
The approved FY23 budget increases funding for the Howard County Police Department (HCPD) by nearly $11 million, the largest increase in at least a decade. The budget includes $3.7 million to support 24 additional patrol positions, the largest increase in sworn personnel in 15 years and a critical investment to improve response times, support community policing and address emerging crimes such as human trafficking. Overall, Executive Ball has increased the number of sworn officers by nearly four times as compared to the previous four year period.

The budget also includes 5 new positions to bolster the Mobile Integrative Community Health (MICH) initiative in the Department of Fire and Rescue Services, behavioral health support and a liaison to Howard County General Hospital (HCGH). Funding is also now available to support the recruitment of 36 new sworn firefighters and emergency medical personnel beginning in August, and for the purchase of fire equipment, vehicles and supplies. DFRS will have added more than 80 authorized positions, over 25 more than the previous four-year period. In addition, $500,000 in one-time funding is included to support the Howard County Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Building on trailblazing recent initiatives such as the passage of the strongest forest conservation law and the largest power purchase agreement in the state, the approved budget contains over $4 million to support environmental and agricultural initiatives that include:

  • $2 million to support the Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program in partnership with the Howard County Conservancy, allowing non-profit property owners an option to preserve environmentally and historically significant properties in perpetuity,
  • A $1 million allocation for the Maryland Food Center Authority to support the redevelopment of the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market, improving food safety by providing a cold-chain compliant food distribution facility for existing and future businesses in the market.

Maternal Health Initiative 
The approved FY23 budget contains $1.3 million to support underinsured and uninsured mothers to access quality prenatal care, significantly reducing systemic barriers to care, and promoting favorable health outcomes for mothers and babies.

Non-Profit Support
The approved FY23 contains more than $12 million Community Service Partnership grants, the highest amount ever and nearly an 11% increase over last year. The proposed budget expands County support to 19 additional non-profits, focusing assistance on smaller organizations which have been hardest hit by the pandemic and that provide services to vulnerable, underrepresented, and at-risk populations. 

Funding for the Plan to End Homelessness increases by $150,000, the largest increase in five years, allowing for expansion of street outreach and sheltering operations. Additionally, funding for the Human Services Transportation program grows by $50,000, improving access for adults with disabilities to health care, employment and social services. 

Roads and Transportation
The approved FY23 capital program contains $12.5 million in road resurfacing – the highest in last eight years – to address an ongoing maintenance backlog while avoiding more costly repairs and reconstruction in the future.

The plan also includes a record $8.2 million for bike lanes, sidewalks, curb ramps and other project to help implement the county’s Pedestrian Master Plan, the Bicycle Master Plan and the Complete Streets policy - major priorities of Executive Ball.

Parks and Recreation 
The $19 million approved for recreation and parks programs contained in the proposal is the largest investment in eight years, and includes $6 million to fund the announced acquisition of the Camp Ilchester property, expanded recreation, pathways and parking at Blandair Park and improvements to the Schooley Mill Park equestrian ring.

Flood Control and Stormwater Management
The capital budget proposal continues to advance the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, with a $36.4 million investment that combines $12.5 million in state assistance with $23.9 million in county funding.

The adopted FY23 budget invests in the long-term provision of housing opportunities by providing $5 million in seed funding to establish a Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, aiming to expand the homeownership and availability of rental units to meet workforce demand and other needs.

Supporting County Employees
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Howard County workforce has labored to ensure the delivery of essential services. The FY23 budget honors existing collective bargaining agreements and includes a moderate cost of living adjustment for all employees and step increases for qualifying employees. 

Fiscal Responsibility
The adopted budgets do not increase taxes, and includes reserves totaling more than $120 million. Thanks to consistently strong fiscal discipline and sound financial management, Howard County received its 25th consecutive AAA rating from all three credit rating agencies in 2022.


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