Kamenetz set to unveil Baltimore County budget plan Thursday

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will continue a two-decades-long streak of no property and income tax rate increases when he delivers his proposed budget Thursday morning.

Kamenetz will lay out his spending plan for the Baltimore region's largest jurisdiction during his "state of the county" speech before the County Council. The Democrat is widely expected to run for governor next year.

While the county's tax rates have remained unchanged, the amount of tax money collected by the county has increased over the years as property values and incomes have risen.

The property tax rate is $1.10 per $100 of a property's assessed value, meaning the property taxes on a home worth $300,000 would be $3,300. The local income tax rate is 2.83 percent.

More than half of the county budget traditionally goes toward public schools.

The county's general fund is expected to be slightly smaller than last year, just shy of $2 billion. When state aid, federal aid, and water and sewer payments are added to the county's general fund, the total county budget is $3.5 billion.

Kamenetz already has announced some tidbits of his budget over the past week, including money to draw up plans for a new 1,500-seat middle school in Perry Hall and a 200- to 300-seat addition to Pine Grove Middle School in Parkville.

He also announced the budget will include money for new artificial turf athletic fields at the Community College of Baltimore County's Catonsville campus, at Perry Hall High School and at Randallstown High School. He also plans to replace the existing artificial turf fields at Hereford, Lansdowne and Woodlawn high schools.

Members of the County Council will scrutinize the budget over the next month, but they have a limited ability to make changes. A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 25 at the Historic Courthouse in Towson.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget May 25. The budget will dictate the county government's spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

pwood@baltsun.com

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