Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly today signed his first budget following its passage Tuesday by a majority of the County Council. The budget for fiscal year 2024 keeps spending flat while meeting the county’s needs without raising taxes.
Original budget requests from various agencies would have brought the county budget to an unsustainable $1,475,210,065. The approved budget is a quarter of a billion dollars less and totals $1,225,209,000, an increase of only 0.34% over the current year. This slight increase is due to the county’s unexpected but necessary takeover of countywide ambulance services requested by the Harford Volunteer Fire & EMS Foundation.
The finalbudget reduces the county’s structural deficit by 25% and includes the following additions to County Executive Cassilly’s original budget recommendation.
$10 million for Harford County Public Schools for instructional salaries
$750,000 for the Harford County Health Department
$150,000 for two victim rights advocates in the Harford County Sheriff’s Office
Upgrades to the Bel Air Library
Accelerated funding for the new Joppatowne Activity Center
Increased funding for parks & recreation projects
Increased funding for nonprofits that serve vulnerable citizens
Per the county executive’s original budget, funding is provided in FY24 for all public employees to receive modest salary increases, plus an average of 6 ½% for sheriff’s office deputies, and 3% plus a step increase for teachers and qualifying school staff.
“After my original budget was released in April, I welcomed all who were willing to have serious discussions and find common ground,” County Executive Cassilly said. “Through respectful negotiations and compromise, my first budget as county executive meets our needs without raising taxes, reduces the structural deficit inherited from the prior administration, and puts Harford County on a better path for our future.
I would like to thank all my directors, my budget chief Kim Spence, treasurer Robbie Sandlass, and their outstanding teams for their dedication and unquestionable integrity. Thanks also to Council President Patrick Vincenti, Council Vice-President Tony “G” Giangiordano, and Council members Dion Guthrie, Aaron Penman, James Reilly, and Jessica Boyle-Tsottles for their support.”