Yesterday morning I wrote about “Council Members Jung and Walsh Pre-File Budget Amendments for Additional $8 million in Education Funding” and then we had the crazy storms here in Howard County yesterday afternoon.

Last night Howard County Executive Calvin Ball posted the following on Facebook:

Today, many Howard County residents sought shelter due to a tornado warning that produced severe storms that knocked out power to over 9,000 residents, knocked down trees and debris, and triggered the third clearing of waterways around Ellicott City due to the winds and rain.

Immediately following today’s weather event, our Department of Public Works employees were quickly mobilized and immediately dispatched to communities to assess the damage and cleanup the debris. I want to thank all of our first responding employees who constantly and consistently risk their safety to serve our residents and ensure the safety of our families.

Recently, the Howard County Council has proposed an amendment that would move $8 million dollars in the proposed FY2020 budget away from the Howard County government despite my proposed budget giving a historic level of funding to our schools. This loss of $8 million from the county government means that we are going to have severely reduce services from departments across this county government – including the Department of Public Works and our first responders.

Today’s storms and response is a strong reminder that every dollar counts when we are responsible for the public safety of our residents and I encourage the Howard County Council to stand with me in protecting the services and resources of the county government.

So what do you think? Is the Jung/Walsh proposal the right approach for the 2020 HCPSS budget? Do you side with our County Executive on this issue?

One thing of note…and I can not stress this enough…looking at CB 68 – it appears as if $7.7 million of the $8 million is one-time non-recurring funding – amendments 2 and 3. So if approved, we will very likely have the same type of budget issues and discussions next year as we are going through this year. So does that fact change your mind on the topic?

Let me know in the comments.

Scott E

3 COMMENTS

  1. Education is of great importance without a doubt, but so is public safety. Maintaining a balance within the budget that addresses both is a very difficult task. I can say confidently that staffing levels are low in the public safety sector, and the ability to maintain services is already challenging. To further hamper the public safety abilities of our first responders could very well be detrimental to their ability to meet current challenges as well as their ability to prepare for the many future challenges on the horizon.
    In no way do I mean to negate the importance of the education system in Howard County. Our children, teachers, and citizens are deserving of our effort and attention. However, we must be careful and diligent in how we fund our obligations to them. Jung and Walsh should be applauded for their effort in this matter. Unfortunately, I do not believe sacrificing our first responders and their abilities to provide services is the answer.

  2. I would like to see the county discuss ways however unpopular to find the funding from new revenue. The budget already has concerns about recession. Perhaps use new powers from HB1419 to increase school funding. I also think that businesses in the area should do more to support the schools from a tax perspective.

  3. “staffing levels are low in the public safety sector, ”

    Just one example.
    At this moment, the long time director of Howard County Office of Emergency Management retired last month. He had an outstanding resume and experience. They are in search for a new one which will be difficult. People with that level of competency require more compensation and are in high demand by other governments (cities, counties, states and federal) and large corporations.

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