Howard County Executive Calvin Ball celebrates the completion of his first year in office this week while highlighting the accomplishments of his administration from the past year. County Executive Ball was sworn into office as the 10th Howard County Executive on the evening of December 3, 2018. County Executive Ball released the following video highlighting the accomplishments achieved by his administration during its first year in office.
“We are focused on becoming the best county, not just overall but for all, by being data informed, people driven, and expanding opportunity for all,” said Ball. “My vision is to innovatively expand opportunity and foster the best quality of life for all who live, work, or visit Howard County while ensuring my administration efficiently, effectively, and respectfully serves our residents, businesses, and visitors. Working together, we are making a difference in providing services for all our residents.”
On the evening of December 3rd, 2018, County Executive Ball began leading Howard County in a new direction, stating, “together, let’s cultivate a unified, cohesive Howard County for all of us!” During his tenure, he faced many challenges such as budget revenue shortfalls, Ellicott City flood mitigation decisions, the longest federal shutdown in our nation’s history that impacted one in 10 Howard County families, and a natural gas leak explosion of a shopping center in Columbia.
However, the Ball Administration has overcome these challenges and seen success by:
- Creating the Ellicott City Safe & Sound Plan to provide a better path toward flood mitigation in Ellicott City resulting in 26 new and returning businesses to Historic Ellicott City.
- Launching HoCo DASH, Howard County’s first data and statistical analyzation process, as well as the County’s first “Innovation Fund” to foster innovation for public good.
- Investing in record funding toward education and passing legislation calling for the first state audit of the HCPSS budget to provide better transparency, accuracy, and efficiency.
- Passing legislation to implement Complete Streets to improve transportation along with several bills to assist environmental sustainability while holding developers accountable.
- Reducing opioid related fatalities by 41% and overdoses by 12% while also promoting resources to help prevent youth suicide.
- Winning Seven National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards for innovative and efficient government initiatives.
County Executive Ball is focused on moving Howard County forward based on seven pillars that positively impact the residents, businesses, and stakeholders of the county with smart, sustainable, and pragmatic policies.
- Ready and Successful Students
- Safe and Engaged Communities
- Clean and Sustainable Environment
- Thriving and Healthy Residents
- Reliable and Accessible Infrastructure
- Strong and Prosperous Businesses
- Innovative and Efficient Government
By using innovative, collaborative, and holistic approaches to these challenges, his team achieved the following accomplishments across the seven pillars.
Ready and Successful Students
County Executive Ball remains committed to our students by ensuring our children are career and college ready and supporting educators in fostering the best teaching and learning environment. Furthermore, County Executive Ball has invested in top tier educational facilities, libraries, and our community college.
County Executive Ball:
- Invested record funding into the Howard County Public School System.
- Increased transparency and accuracy in the Howard County Public School System budget process.
- Funded design of a new mathematics building and athletics complex at Howard Community College.
- Expanded access and options to “wrap-around” services for all Howard County children and their families.
- Made our schools and communities safer and healthier for our students.
Safe and Engaged Communities
County Executive Ball is focused on protecting our communities with care and vigilance, supporting our public safety professionals, providing life-saving and innovative upgrades and training, and bolstering community relations.
County Executive Ball:
- Launched Ellicott City Safe & Sound – a bold multi-phase plan built around the need for public safety, supporting business and property owners, preparing the county for a changing climate, and creating a more inclusive, community driven process for decisions regarding Ellicott City’s future.
- Utilized innovation, technology, and trailblazing leadership to improve safety of all Howard County residents in every community.
- Invested in infrastructure, expanded services, and proposed policy solutions to address new and evolving public safety needs.
Clean and Sustainable Environment
County Executive Ball is dedicated to ensuring Howard County is leading in the fight for energy independence by promoting green infrastructure and decreasing emissions. He continues to promote agricultural conservation and innovation, continue park improvements, and expand renewable energy use.
County Executive Ball:
- Ushered Howard County into 21st Century environmental best practices and policies by
- Committing Howard County to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Becoming the first jurisdiction in the nation to formally accept the United States Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands Challenge.
- Joining the Bee City USA Coalition.
- Fostered more sustainability throughout our communities by strengthen development regulations, expanding curbside food scraps collections, and giving away 44,000 trees to improve Howard County’s tree canopy.
- Improved Howard County government’s sustainability by converting 8,000 streetlights to more energy-efficient LED lights, expanding access to electric vehicle charging stations and passing legislation to decrease pesticide use on County lands.
Thriving and Healthy Residents
County Executive Ball initiated an integrated health and human services delivery system to support our vulnerable populations. He stays focused on providing facilities and services for our aging residents, improve healthcare opportunities, advance affordable housing, treat substance misuse and mental health issues.
County Executive Ball:
- Launched initiatives and campaigns to address Howard County’s most pressing health and welfare issues such as “It’s OK to Ask” youth suicide prevention campaign, “Practice Howard” program to address primary care physician shortage, and “Live Where You Work” rental subsidy partnership.
- Committed resources and saw positive outcomes against addiction and the opioid epidemic resulting in a 41% reduction in opioid overdose fatalities and 12% reduction in non-fatal overdoses as compared to previous year.
- Focused on improving the health and welfare of our aging community by launching the Howard County/AARP “Age Friendly Initiative.”
- Supported Howard County becoming more healthy, livable and inclusive for our all residents including hosting the County’s first LGBTQ+ Pride Festival and creating the first LGBTQ+ Workgroup.
Reliable and Accessible Infrastructure
County Executive Ball invested in infrastructure to add resources, improve communities and increase accessibility through a truly multi-modal transportation system that better connects Howard County to the Baltimore-Washington regions. He recognizes that alleviating traffic is important for our quality of life and is vital to protecting our environment by reducing the number of cars on our roads.
County Executive Ball:
- Passed “Complete Streets” legislation to make all travel safer, sustainable, and more accessible to all residents.
- Made record breaking transportation and infrastructure investments including $2.2 million toward the BikeHoward Express Network of bike lanes and trials.
- Expanded RTA bus services that are critical to public transportation in Howard County especially for our aging, student, and lower income populations by improving on time performance by 35% and adding 5,600 hours of additional service including increasing weekend route frequency.
- Invested in needed and long-awaited community resources and amenities such as the New Cultural Center and Artist Flats in Downtown Columbia, improving and renovating Florence Bain and East Columbia 50+ Centers, investing in the North Laurel Community Pool, as well as Centennial Park, Blandair Park and Troy Park.
Strong and Prosperous Businesses
County Executive Ball strengthened Howard County’s economy by creating opportunity, investing in and expanding our centers of innovation, attracting new entrepreneurs, and supporting small businesses.
County Executive Ball
- Launched Howard County’s inaugural Business Workshop to allow for more County project funds and grants to go to community businesses.
- Spearheaded the County’s inaugural Small Business Summit to support small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.
- Re-opened the Agricultural Land Preservation Program.
- Hosted Howard County’ first “Apprenticeship Day” to help jobseekers learn how to take advantage of apprenticeship opportunities.
- Signed a MOU with the Economic Development Authority to finally activate the Howard County Innovation Center in Columbia. The Center is serving as a nexus of resources for innovation and small, minority, woman, and veteran-owned business creation and support.
Innovative and Efficient Government
County Executive Ball maximized efficiency and effectiveness of the processes and outcomes of the Howard County government to lead with bold, forward-thinking ideas and statistical analysis. He created innovative, best practices that jurisdictions across the nation will follow and emulate.
County Executive Ball:
- Launched the County’s new analytics initiative, Howard County Data Analytics and Statistics Hub (HoCo DASH), aimed at fostering innovation for the public good.
- Created Howard County’s first “Innovation Fund” that consists of $225,000 in grant funding for projects that utilize innovation to improve the quality of life for Howard County residents.
- Held the first Innovation Summit in Howard County history.
- Launched “HoCo Counts,” an important initiative aimed at raising awareness for the United States 2020 Census in order to count every resident.
- Expanded the PlanHoward Academy – a free course designed to give residents a better understanding of how local planning works.
- Accelerated the scheduled update of the General Plan so that it can help guide future changes to the land development regulations.
County Executive Ball’s efforts have been recognized nationally through following achievements and accolades:
- Received seven National Association of Counties (NACo) 2019 Achievement Awards for innovative and effective government.
- Participated in the NACo and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Economic Mobility Leadership Network,” that brought 20 diverse and bipartisan leaders from across the country to explore the role counties can play to positively affect economic mobility.
Here is the video mentioned above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1JJI4A0Dcw