County Executive Calvin Ball Listening Sessions Recap

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball held a number of listening sessions throughout Howard County in December and January…and now we have a recap of what he and his team heard in those sessions. Here is the information they released recently:

During County Executive Calvin Ball’s transition into office in December 2018 and January 2019, he held a series of listening sessions to learn from county residents about their hopes and dreams for the future of Howard County. A total of 828 residents participated in the process, with 235 sending in their thoughts online or via email; 25 participating in a live Twitter chat, and 568 participating in sessions held at 9 different locations throughout the county.

“The sessions brought to the surface individual concerns and ideas, as well as  themes and trends in specific regions and across the county. The information gleaned from the sessions will be extremely valuable. This wealth of information is helping to shape our shared priorities for the years ahead,” stated County Executive Calvin Ball. “I am beyond appreciative to the residents who took the time and energy to be a part of this process, and look forward to our continued collaboration as we prioritize projects and resource allocation in alignment with our collective vision for the county.”

While topics raised by residents crossed into almost every operational area of government, some of the most frequent themes (in order of prominence) were in the following areas:

  • Community planning and development
  • Public school system programs and operations
  • Environmental sustainability and stewardship initiatives
  • Traffic, pedestrian, and bike safety
  • Aging in place and programs for independent living
  • Public works initiatives
  • Affordable housing
  • Ellicott City flood mitigation
  • Public school system overcrowding

The insights from the listening sessions are summarized in the linked infographic.


One of the most interesting infographic images (to me) was this one:

While I was not surprised that over development of Howard County was the issue receiving the most comments…I was surprised that the EC Flood mitigation and school overcrowding was as low as they are on this list. The chart above is even more interesting when you look at the top topics by region:

To me…the two charts really don’t match…but I do not have access to the raw data so I have know way to tell the volume of comments in each region…but it is interesting that some of the topics with the most comments overall do not appear to be top topics by region. Humm…I wonder if the number of comments on Twitter (during the one online session) and online comments are the reason for the differences in the data…that is my best guess at the moment…but without the raw data there is no way to say for sure.

Do you see things not on this list that you are interesting in? Let me know in the comments.

Scott E

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