Building a Budget

Adopting the County budget involves making choices about what local services should be funded and at what level. The Howard County Charter and the Maryland Constitution require a balanced budget, meaning revenues generated must cover the appropriated expenses.

The County’s fiscal year, the 12-month period covering the annual budget, starts on July 1st and ends the following June 30th.

Budget hearing in Banneker room

Budget Process Steps

First Step – The Spending Affordability Advisory Committee (SAAC)

  • The SAAC members, appointed by the County Executive each year, are tasked with examining fiscal data, reviewing multi-year revenue and expenditures, and submitting a report with findings and recommendations by March 1, which provides guidance in developing the upcoming year’s budget.
  • Residents can follow the work of the Committee by viewing their meetings and materials on the County’s website here.

Second Step – Executive Budget Development and Review

  • The County Executive holds two public hearings (December and March) for residents to express their budget priorities.
  • County agencies develop and submit their budget requests to the County Executive for review.
  • The County Executive presents the Executive proposed Capital (by April 1) and Operating (by April 20) budgets to the County Council.

Third Step – County Council Review and approval

  • The County Council conducts a series of public hearings and work sessions to review the Executive proposed capital and operating budgets.
  • Residents are provided an opportunity to comment on the budget prior to council budget approval.
  • The budget is approved by the County Council on or before June 1.


Budget Process Calendar

A schedule of each step of the budget creation process, divided by month

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