The Anne Arundel County Council this afternoon adopted a budget that embraces County Executive Steve Schuh’s plan to invest in schools, strengthen public safety, and reduce traffic congestion.
“This budget keeps the promise to make our County the best place to live, work, and start a business,” said Schuh. “These investments in education, public safety, and our roads will ensure our County continues its ascent to become the best jurisdiction in Maryland.”
The $1.59 billion budget is the fourth enacted under Schuh. Highlights include:
Investing in Education: The budget will directly invest $686 million in our schools, including $21.2 million for two educator step pay increases. To reduce class sizes, the enacted budget would add 130 educators. The County will also fund expanding the “Triple E” initiative to the Annapolis Cluster. This program provides additional electives for our elementary school population and provides planning time for teachers. Additionally, the budget funds a third early education center, which will serve South County, to ensure residents access to high quality Pre-K opportunities and programs.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto issued the following statement upon passage of the budget:
“This process is proof positive of the value of continued conversations, collaborative hard work, and passionate public input. The supplemental operating and capital budget appropriations by the County Executive and the Herculean efforts of the County Council have resulted in our students and our school system being in a much better place heading into the next academic year than we were when the County Executive’s budget proposal was first presented. We are going to enter the new year with more than 80 additional teachers to address the majority of our enrollment growth for next year, increased staffing for social and emotional supports for students, enhanced school security, and the launch of sorely needed renovation projects at Edgewater, Tyler Heights, and Richard Henry Lee elementary schools. Additionally, we will be able to expand our highly successful Triple-E program to schools in the Annapolis cluster and launch a new early education center in South County. These are huge wins for our students, accomplished without detracting from other necessary areas of the county budget.”
Protecting the Public: To ensure our Police Department can recruit and retain the best officers, the budget begins funding a 15% increase in compensation for police over the next two years. . Under the plan, starting police salaries will also increase from $46,854 to $51,500. The budget adds 20 new police positions, including 10 new school resource officers.
Investing in Roads and Relieving Congestion: The budget makes targeted investments in congestion relief. Three years ago, the County increased road maintenance funding by 53 percent to $26 million annually. This was the first time the County had ever committed the funds required to stabilize the system and to prevent further deterioration. This year’s budget takes the historic next step of increasing the maintenance budget to $30 million, which will allow the County to improve the road system in the next few years. The proposal also funds crucial chokepoint improvements at Catherine Avenue in Pasadena, Brock Bridge at MD 198 near Fort Meade, MD 214 at Loch Haven Road in Mayo, and a road widening on Mountain Road in Pasadena.
The budget will be effective July 1st, 2018.