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Cody Boteler

The Baltimore Banner

April 11, 2024

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. submitted a $5 billion budget for fiscal year 2025 to the County Council today, an increase from the fiscal year 2024 budget of $4.9 billion.

The budget will have to be approved by the council — which can cut, but not otherwise change the proposal. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget on May 23.

Olszewski, a Democrat who is running for Congress, introduced his budget by calling it his “sixth, and potentially my last budget” as the county executive, according to his prepared remarks.

Though the finer details of the proposed budget, which Olszewski said mostly covers salaries and benefits for employees, have not been published or made publicly available, the county did share some top-line highlights. They include:

  • No tax increases for Baltimore County residents
  • Meeting the county school system’s budget request
  • $1 million toward the county’s new public financing system set to begin in the 2026 election cycle
  • Ending a split in health care costs for county employees where recent hires pay more than veteran employees
  • Freezing in-county tuition for the Community College of Baltimore County
  • Over $35 million for new and upgraded library buildings
  • $11.5 million to complete a new fire station in Catonsville
  • A $6 million increase in the Recreation and Parks Department budget
  • $3.3 million for the Housing Opportunities Fund
  • A budget for every department to have translation services available

Olszewski said the budget also requests nearly $600 million in borrowing authority, about $244 million more than anticipated. He said the county is facing “the perfect economic storm” due to a combination of state budget uncertainty, inflation and the end of federal recovery dollars from the coronavirus pandemic.

Olszewski said he hopes voters will approve the borrowing authority for capital projects in a referendum this year to avoid delaying, deferring or cancelling projects including senior centers, schools, police precincts and firehouses.

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