July 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 74 F

Anne Arundel County Council Approves Fiscal Year 2025 Budget

The Anne Arundel County Council has passed the Fiscal Year 2025 budget with a narrow 4-3 vote along party lines. Councilmembers Allison Pickard, Julie Hummer, Lisa Rodvien, and Pete Smith voted in favor of the budget, which emphasizes public safety, education, community well-being, and environmental sustainability.

Introduced by County Executive Steuart Pittman on May 1st under the theme “Staying Strong,” the budget aims to maintain the lowest tax rates in the region while making significant investments in key areas.

Public Safety Initiatives

The FY25 budget enhances public safety by raising the starting salary for police officers to the highest level in Maryland, introducing a substantial pay package to retain current officers, and funding the training of 70 new firefighter recruits. It also includes hiring bonuses for detention officers and finances a program to ensure a Sheriff’s Deputy is present in every courtroom.

Educational Investments

The budget fully funds Dr. Bedell’s budget request, providing a step increase and a 3% cost-of-living adjustment for educators. It meets all current Maryland Blueprint for Education requirements. It supports various educational initiatives, including funding for the Anne Arundel County Public Library system, Anne Arundel Community College, pre-K provider programs, a new middle school athletics program, and a virtual tutoring and homework after-school program.

Community Well-being

Community support remains a priority, with $1.5 million allocated to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank and funding for the Department of Social Services’ SNAP program, benefiting over 36,000 children. The budget also supports the Mental Health Agency’s Crisis Response Team and adds a position in the Department of Health to oversee the Cure Violence program.

Environmental Protection

The budget supports the county’s new environmental subcabinet, which is aimed at sustainability efforts. Funding is included for staff at the Jug Bay Emory Waters Nature Preserve and the expansion of the River Days Festival series, which provides free public water access at five locations.

Fiscal Responsibility and Critical Services

Anne Arundel County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating from all three major rating agencies for the second consecutive year. The budget includes a nearly 3% cost-of-living adjustment for union and non-represented employees and covers rising information technology expenses for various public safety and administrative tools.

Adjustments and Additional Funding

The County Council made several adjustments to the budget, reallocating funds from the delayed New Village Academy opening to other educational priorities. At the Council’s request, additional capital budget programs and a new library system position were also funded.

Council Chair Allison Pickard emphasized the role of the budget in investing in the community’s future. At the same time, Council Vice-Chair Julie Hummer highlighted the budget’s comprehensive support for public safety, education, and community health. Councilmembers Lisa Rodvien and Pete Smith also expressed their support, noting the budget’s reflection of the county’s values and priorities.

For detailed information on the FY25 budget, visit aacounty.org/fy25budget.

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