Howard County’s government operates a school system, a police department with nearly 500 sworn officers, a fire department, a water and sewer system, a landfill and six branch libraries that have the highest per-capita circulation rate in the state.
The county raises money principally from property and income taxes, and employs more than 3,000 people in government services, public safety, facilities and community services. More than 64 percent of the county budget of $1.1 billion this fiscal year will pay for the county’s public schools, which are overseen by the seven elected members of the Howard County Board of Education. The school system employs about 8,400 people and serves almost 58,000 students.
County Executive Calvin Ball and members on the five-seat County Council were elected in 2018 for four-year terms.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball joined with three other former county executives in a ceremony Monday marking 50 years of charter government in the county. Voters adopted the charter and elected Omar Jones as the first county executive in November 1968.
By Staff reports
Jan 23, 2019 | 2:10 PM
Columbia Association (CA) is a private, nonprofit corporation that resembles a local government, recreation business and civic organization rolled into one. Its board of directors are elected by property owners and the residents of Columbia’s 10 villages.
Supported by two major revenue sources — annual property owners’ fees and membership fees charged for programs and services — CA operates a broad scope of facilities such as parks, pathways, pools, tennis courts and golf courses, and maintains nearly 3,600 acres of open space.
CA owns all the village community association offices and neighborhood centers, and its covenants filter down to the neighborhood level. Each Columbia village has its own community association and resident-elected village board, which represent residents on neighborhood issues and can serve as advocates on their behalf.
An election where 75 percent of the electorate turns out? That’s almost unheard of these days. But 50 years ago, three-quarters of the county’s registered voters took sides on whether Howard should adopt charter government and have a county executive and council.
After Ellicott City suffered the deadly and devastating flash flood of 2016, the Howard County government commissioned an engineering study to determine how much it would cost to make the historic mill town safer. The answer: A lot.