ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced the Spending Affordability Advisory Committee (SAAC) for fiscal year 2024. The SAAC is a non-partisan body charged with providing policy advice to the county executive on fiscal planning. The committee is made up of residents representing different disciplines and areas of expertise, and includes representation from educational entities, council staff, and executive staff.
The SAAC will begin meeting in December to evaluate assumptions and the methodology of the fiscal model supporting HoCo By Design, the general plan update that will set forth a long-term vision for the County’s development and growth over the next 20 years.
In January and February, the SAAC will hold several meetings on the County’s operating budget, capital budget, economic trends, revenue, long-term forecast and debt projections. Meetings will be virtual, but are open to the public and will be livestreamed online here.
Howard County has distributed COVID relief funding efficiently and effectively over the past several years. However, economic uncertainty remains as the region continues to recover from the enduring impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising recession risks projected by economists across the region and nation.
While Howard County currently holds the second lowest unemployment rate of any county in the state, the unemployment rate is at 3.0 percent as of September 2022, down from 4.2 percent in September 2021, but still above the pre-pandemic level of 2.5 percent in September 2019. Resident employment has been in recovery but remains 3.6 percent (more than 5,000) below the pre-pandemic level as of September.
The SAAC will provide a brief report on the methodology and results of the fiscal model supporting HoCo By Design to the county executive by January 31, 2023.
The Committee will also deliver a comprehensive report to the county executive by March 1, 2023 that includes:
- Projected General Fund revenues for the upcoming fiscal year
- Recommended new county debt (General Obligation bonds) authorization
- An analysis of the long-term fiscal outlook including multi-year projections
- Other finding and/or recommendations the committee finds appropriate
The following residents were named Voting Members:
- Todd Arterburn
- Lakey Boyd, Columbia Association
- Richard Clinch, Ph.D.
- Howie Feaga, Farm Bureau
- Ellen Flynn Giles
- Khaleda Hasan, Ph.D.
- John C. Hendrickson
- Steve Hunt
- Darius Irani, Ph.D.
- Jimmie Jennings, Howard County Association of Realtors
- Barbara K. Lawson
- Leonardo McClarty, Howard Count Chamber of Commerce
- Steve Poynot (Committee Vice Chair)
- Joshua Tzuker
- Tonya Aikens, Howard County Library System
- Christopher Heston, Howard Community College
- Jolene Mosley, Howard County Board of Education
- Jahantab Siddiqui, Howard County Public School System
- Valerie Traore, Association of Community Services Howard County