Baltimore County Council Set To Vote On Olszewski's $4.9 Billion Budget


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Council is set to cast their votes on the proposed $4.9 billion budget for the 2024 fiscal year on Thursday, May 25. The budget plan, put forth by County Executive Johnny Olszewski, strongly emphasizes enhanced funding for education, public safety, and park facilities.

In a presentation to the Baltimore County Council last month, Olszewski outlined the key features of the budget, which has since been reviewed in various work sessions and debates within the council. If the budget is approved in the May 25 vote, slated for 10 a.m., it will be operational starting July 1, 2023.

A significant portion of the budget has been allocated towards education, including a $71 million investment in local schools. Other initiatives include a considerable capital funding provision of nearly $210 million for school construction projects. These funds are earmarked for new school buildings and renovation projects across White Marsh, Middle River, and Essex. One of the prominent projects that will benefit from this funding is completing a new middle school on King Avenue in White Marsh.

This new school, currently under construction, marks the first middle school built in eastern Baltimore County since 1974. Furthermore, the budget will support significant upgrades to Pine Grove Middle School, Oliver Beach Elementary School, and Middle River Middle School, as Olszewski promised improvements in all BCPS schools by 2037.

In a joint statement, Superintendent Darryl Williams and board Chair Jane Lichter urged the County Council to endorse the proposed budget to enhance student services, staff compensation, and educational outcomes for all BCPS students.

"We urge the County Council to support the County Executive's recommendation and provide the funding we need to ensure that we serve students well, provide enhanced compensation for staff, and improve the educational outcomes for all BCPS students," Lichter and Williams wrote.

Public safety also received significant attention in Olszewski's budget proposal, with measures introduced to tackle police shortages in some county regions. These include unprecedented salary increases for law enforcement officers. Over $4 million has also been committed to constructing a new Essex police precinct.

The proposed budget also promises nearly $40 million towards local infrastructure development, such as roadway projects and sidewalk enhancements. In addition, the Baltimore County Public Library will receive over $30 million for significant rennovations at the Essex branch.

Smaller allocations include $1.7 million for Marshy Point Nature Center and $1.5 million for Rosedale Park improvements.

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