It's budget time in Annapolis and Baltimore County, as usual, is on the hunt for state funds.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has a wishlist that includes a few items in the Glyndon-Reisterstown-Owings Mills area. But, in sum, Kamenetz has not set his sights too high.


That's pretty much in keeping with Gov. Larry Hogan's status quo budget request, which was submitted just days before the record-setting Blizzard of 2016.

Kamenetz's one big wish: $133 million in school construction funds for renovations and new buildings, as well as air conditioning. He knows he'll get only a fraction of that amount because Hogan's entire school-building budget is $314 million. But there's no harm in asking.

Baltimore County gets $2 million in Hogan's budget to continue construction at Franklin Middle School.

Other county school projects will be decided at the Board of Public Works, which held its annual "begathon" last week — a pitiless event where school leaders from across the state plead with the three-member board — Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp — to approve their priority projects.

Second on the county executive's list is $64.4 million for road improvements. One of those projects will complete the widening of Reisterstown Road where the new Wegmans Foundry Row project is scheduled to open this year.

Hogan included $5.4 million in his capital budget to finish the Reisterstown Road widening at that congested intersection with Painters Mill Road.

Additionally, Kamenetz is seeking $500,000 in matching state funds to construct a roundabout at the scenic and busy — during rush hours — intersection of Tufton Avenue and Greenspring Avenue in historic Worthington Valley.

Kamenetz is asking Hogan to increase staffing levels at the county's social services offices. Right now, the county's case workers handle a too-heavy load. Each social services worker in the county handles 842 cases, while the state's median is 700.

The county executive is following the lead of other Democratic leaders in urging Hogan to restore $68 million he cut from the current budget to help schools in high-cost counties. Baltimore County would receive an additional $2.9 million. However, it will take tough negotiations and political compromise for that to happen.

Public colleges in Baltimore County received some nice increases. The Community College of Baltimore County got a $2.5 million boost from the governor for operating expenses and $2 million to renovate and expand CCBC's Health Careers and Technology Building in Essex.

There is $2.6 million to plan a new life sciences building at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, part of a $130 million project.

Towson University is getting $6.1 million in planning money for a new College of Science and Mathematics structure, a $184 million undertaking.

Meanwhile, the University of Maryland Medical System's St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson receives a $1 million state construction grant.

Overall, local state aid for Baltimore County is rising $24.7 million, a 3.1 percent increase. Most of that money is in mandated school aid increases totaling $19.4 million.


That's not a huge sum for the county's school system but it compares quite favorably with the plight of Baltimore City's school system, which is getting $21.2 million less from Hogan than it did last year.

Transportation aid for the county's roads rose by $3.8 million, thanks to Hogan's decision to dramatically increase funds for locally maintained highways.

Kamenetz has his work cut out for him to achieve his budget objectives in Annapolis before the end of the General Assembly session in April. He will need lots of help from the county's legislative delegation to bring home extra dollars.

Barry Rascovar's blog is