Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will hold his first Citizens’ Budget Hearing for the FY2021 budget cycle on Monday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City.

“As we begin our FY2021 budget process, I encourage Howard County residents to attend our first Citizens’ Budget Hearing,” said Ball. “The engagement and input from our residents are critical to our budget process. We appreciate hearing the thoughts, advocacy and priorities for our upcoming budget. This week, we shared our first-year accomplishments we achieved together during our first 12 months. These accomplishments are built on the activism and engagement of our residents and the collaboration and partnership between the Howard County government, the non-profit and faith community, as well as civic organizations and stakeholders.”

Residents will be able to sign-up ONLINE to speak at the hearing by going towww.howardcountymd.gov/budgettestimony. From the same link, residents will also have the option to provide online budget testimony; however, residents are reminded that internet testimony is considered public information and, as such, is subject to the Maryland Public Information Act.

Residents who do not wish to sign-up online will still be able to sign-up in person on the night of the public hearing beginning at 6:00 p.m. Speakers must sign-up individually, and one person may not sign-up for several testifiers.

An interpreter for people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be available if requested seven working days prior to the Hearing. Please call the Budget Office at 410-313-2077 (voice) or use Relay at 7-1-1, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you need additional accommodations to attend the Hearing or for more information, contact the Budget Office.

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This budget cycle will be important. Things I will be on the look out for in the upcoming budget:

  • School operating funding. HCPSS funding is the biggest expense (making up around 58% of the over budget expenses). How much will the school ask for and how much will they get this year?
  • School capital funding. Will there be enough capital funds to cover not only HS #13 but also the necessary funding to move forward for Talbott Spring ES and Hammond HS.
  • New taxes or fees. Over the past year we have seen the following new revenue items added: Significant increase to the fire tax and trash fee, a new ambulance fee (the revenues are restricted for specific uses), increased the School Surcharge (restricted for school capital projects) and a plastic bag fee (restricted to “environmental” initiatives and operating costs to run the program) recently passed by the Howard County Council. Will this next budget cycle add additional taxes or fees to residents and businesses to continue to increase revenue?

Those are some of my top items I will be watching during the budget process this budget cycle…but I am sure that other things will show up that will catch my interest.

Stay tuned.

Scott E