ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced the Spending Affordability Advisory Committee (SAAC) for fiscal year 2023. 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 several residents representing different disciplines and areas of expertise, and includes representation from education entities, council staff, and executive staff.
Our budget reflects our values, our priorities, and, most importantly, our outcomes. As we continue to face uncertainty during the pandemic with ever-evolving risk, we want to ensure we are constantly evaluating our fiscal position and are well prepared for increasing demands for infrastructure and services. We have many issues and projects to address in the coming years, and an obligation to our residents and businesses to practice fiscal responsibly. I am seeking guidance from this committee of experts to predict future revenue projections for our capital and operating budgets moving forward.
The SAAC will likely have 7-8 meetings between January and February on operating budget needs, CIP budget needs, the current economy, 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 relief funding quickly and efficiently over the past two years, however, there is still some uncertainty as the region looks towards recovery. The Howard County unemployment rate is at 3.9% as of October 2021, down from 5.2% in September 2020, but still above the pre-pandemic level of 2.8%.
The SAAC will provide a comprehensive report to the County Executive by March 1, 2022 which 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
- Daniel Gick
- Khaleda Hasan
- John C. Hendrickson
- Cleveland Horton II, Howard County Association of Realtors
- Steve Hunt
- Darius Irani, Ph.D.
- Barbara K. Lawson
- Leonardo McClarty, Howard Count Chamber of Commerce
- Steve Poynot (Committee Vice Chair)
- Joshua Tzuker
- Tonya Aikens, Howard County Library System
- Lynn Coleman, Howard Community College
- Joan Driessen, Association of Community Services Howard County
- Jahantab Siddiqui, Howard County Public School System
- Jennifer Mallo, Howard County Board of Education