Baltimore County Council makes no cuts to Kamenetz budget proposal

Members of the Baltimore County Council decided Wednesday not to cut from the budget proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Council members considered a handful small cuts proposed by auditors, but elected not to pursue any of them, declaring the budget had no waste that needed to be trimmed.

"Baltimore County has a history of not having a lot of fat," said Council Chairman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat. "This is probably one of the leanest budgets we've seen."

The budget proposed by Kamenetz, a Democrat who is considering a run for governor next year, includes a general fund budget of nearly $2 billion that's funded primarily by property taxes and income taxes.

When state aid, federal aid and water and sewer payments are added in, the overall county budget is about $3.5 billion.

The budget keeps tax rates steady for property and income taxes, includes a cost-of-living increase of 2 percent for general county workers, continues to fund the purchase of police body cameras, accelerates the replacement of two elementary schools in Dundalk and moves forward renovations at Patapsco, Lansdowne and Woodlawn high schools.

Dulaney High School, which was scheduled for a renovation, was removed from the budget after the school system did not approve the renovation plans, which many parents felt were insufficient.

No one from the public testified at the council's public hearing on the budget last month.

The council is scheduled to vote to formally adopt the budget at 10 a.m. May 25 in the council chambers in the Historic Courthouse at 400 Washington Ave. in Towson. The budget will guide the county's spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Last year, council members voted to cut $195,709 from the budget, which represented less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the spending plan.

pwood@baltsun.com

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