Harford Executive Glassman Proposes FY 23 Budget

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Biggest Tax Cut in County History, Full Funding for Education, Public Safety

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman today proposed the largest property tax cut in county history as part of his recommended budget for fiscal year 2023. The county executive’s proposal also fully funds the school board’s operating budget request for the third consecutive year and makes record-level investments public safety. 

In a video announcing his eighth and final budget due to term limits, County Executive Glassman said, “This budget marks the culmination of seven years of innovation and efficiency, resulting in the most significant economic progress in Harford’s history. It’s sort of like hitting the trifecta; we have fully funded education and public safety and cut taxes.   Even with the remnants of the pandemic, we have achieved sustained economic growth in jobs, income, and investment.”

Relief for Taxpayers

The budget recommends a 5-cent cut in the property tax rate. Taxpayer relief during County Executive Glassman’s term totals $43 million.

Record-level Funding for Education

Full funding of the school board’s operating budget request is $33.2 million above the required Maintenance of Effort and exceeds the county’s Kirwan requirement.  Increases in county funding for Harford County Public Schools during the Glassman administration have outpaced state funding by more than 2 to 1. 

FY 23 operating funds increase by 10% for Harford Community College and by 11% for Harford County Public Library.

Major capital projects for K-12 education include a record single-year funding increase for technology, the new Homestead Wakefield Elementary School and renovation of Harford Technical High School.

Historic Investments in Public Safety

Record-level investments include 64 additional public safety staff in multiple agencies, full implementation of the Body Worn Camera Program, and full funding of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office’s requested wage enhancements. Wage increases are a 7% COLA plus a 3% merit or step increase for all law enforcement, corrections, and civilian personnel.

Volunteer fire companies and the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Foundation receive record-level funding, including wage parity with county employees for paid EMS providers.

Capital projects for public safety include full funding of the volunteer fire companies’ priority repairs and life safety equipment and construction of the Riverside Fire & EMS Station.

Community Investments

Community investments include continued funding to facilitate high-speed internet in unserved and underserved rural areas, $2.4 million for preventing and treating opioid addiction and mental health services, and $1 million for Harford County’s first African American Heritage Preservation Program.

Concluding his video message, County Executive Glassman said, “I want to thank my budget staff, county employees, our partners throughout the county, and our citizens.  Over the past seven years we have experienced ups and downs, but we’ve always remained Harford Strong.  I am pleased that I have positioned the county to prosper well into the future for our next generation.” 

The county executive’s FY 23 budget video is online at https://youtu.be/9vCPVHhePqc.

His full budget proposal is posted on the county website at  https://www.harfordcountymd.gov/1531/Budget-Efficiency.

Budget highlights are below.

Total Budget All Funds $1,212,697,000

General Fund Operating Budget $752,570,000

Capital Budget $269,052,000

Restoring Balance & Efficiency

  • Largest property tax cut in Harford’s history
  • Conservative budgeting while keeping a resilient local economy safely open
  • Fully funding of HCPS’ operating budget request
  • Record level funding for public safety
  • County government efficiencies continue to help fund other operations
  • AAA bond rating brings lowest borrowing costs in county history; highest possible rating maintained due to strong management and realistic CIP
  • FY16 – 23 constituent savings: $145,536,154

Reinvesting in our Workforce

  • 3% merit-based increase plus 7% COLA per qualifying county employee
    • Equivalent increases for State’s Attorney’s Office and Circuit Court employees
  • Full funding for Sheriff’s requested wage enhancements for law enforcement, corrections and civilian personnel – 7% and a step
  • Fully funded agency requests for salary increases

Investing in Education

   Record level funding:

  • Full funding for Harford County Public Schools
    • $324,237,657 in FY 23 operating funds; $33.2 million above the required Maintenance of Effort and exceeds the first Kirwan requirement
  • 10% increase for Harford Community College
  • 11% increase for Harford County Public Libraries
  • FY 16 – FY23: $100,630,355 in County funding vs. $46,159,473 State funding

Strengthening Communities

  • $2.4 million for preventing and treating opioid addiction & behavioral health services
    • $1,750,000 to support the 24-hour Klein Family Harford Crisis Center for Mental Health & Addiction
    • $614,000 to support treatment, peer recovery staff and youth mental health through Addiction Connections Resource

Support for Community Organizations

  • Harford County Humane Society – includes retention bonus
    • Harford Center
    • The Arc Northern Chesapeake
    • $1 million – African American Heritage Preservation
    • $1 million – Ripken Baseball Experience HQ
    • $500k – Discovery Center at Water’s Edge
    • $500k – Havre de Grace Auditorium roof
    • $500k – Harmer’s Town Art Center in Havre de Grace
    • $300k – Historical Society facility renovations for the 250th anniversary of Harford County

Supporting our First Responders

     Historic-level funding for our first responders:

  • $8,911,423 Volunteer Fire Companies; representing an 8.5% increase over FY 2022 for each company plus $250K for staffing incentive program, $11k for recruitment and retention, and continued funding for NEXT-GEN student loan relief

  • $6,497,069 Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Foundation; represents a $1,000,000 increase or 18% over FY 22; includes pay equity with County providers

Law Enforcement Investments

  • Fully implemented Body Worn Camera Program; added 3 new personnel in FY 22 to support the program
    • Funded major renovations of the HCSO Central Precinct; added 15 new deputy recruit positions for staffing
    • Added 6 new deputy recruit positions to support SRT and CID
    • Added 2 positions to support the new police accountability law HB670: 1 deputy recruit and 1 victim rights advocate
    • Added 1 video forensic analyst position
    • Added 18 new correction officer recruits to support the Medical Wing and the Substance Abuse/Behavioral Health Wing
    • Funded 4 capital projects for the Sheriff’s Office including major renovations to the detention center, in-car camera systems, a cell site simulator, and police fleet

Broadband: $37 million to extend broadband to unserved and underserved rural communities

Capital Project Highlights

  • HCPS:  12 projects @ $80.6 million
    • Construction for replacement of Homestead Wakefield ES
    • Harford Technical HS limited renovation
    • Roof replacement for Bakerfield ES
    • Chiller replacement for Meadowvale and Bakerfield ES
    • HVAC Upgrades at Swan Creek School
    • Special education facility improvements
    • Record level single year increase for technology
    • 29 special education buses

  • Public safety: 7 projects @ $12.4 million
    • Fully funded volunteer fire company priority repairs and life safety equipment
    • Darlington Fire Company bunk room renovation
    • Construction of Riverside Fire and EMS station
    • Funds to support Next-Gen 911 technology and upgrade the mobile/portable radio system
    • Susquehanna Hose Company House 1 renovations

  • $16.4 million – County road and bridge projects
  • $11.3 million – Watershed management projects
  • $1 million – Living shoreline in Havre de Grace
  • $15 million – Water & sewer infrastructure reinvestments
  • $28.3 million – Harford Community College’s Chesapeake Welcome Center
  • $4 million – Jarrettsville Recreation Complex construction
  • $500k – Design and engineering for Joppatowne Youth/Senior Center

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