Howard County's government and elected officials

Howard County Government building in 1977.
Howard County Government building in 1977. (HARRIS / Check with Baltimore Sun Photo)

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.

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.


Calvin B. Ball (D)




410-313-2001, cc.howardcountymd.gov

Liz Walsh (D) District 1, @WalshforOne

Opel Jones (D) District 2, @OpelJones ‏

Christiana Mercer Rigby (D) District 3, @councilwomancmr


Deb Jung (D) District 4, @CouncilDeb

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.

David Youngmann (R) District 5, @YungmannDavid


County citizens are represented in the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis by three senators and eight delegates from three legislative districts. Each serves a four-year term.


410-841-3000, mgaleg.maryland.gov

District 9

Sen. Katie Fry Hester (D) District 9: 410-841-3671, @katiefryhester

District 9A

Del. Trent Kittleman (R): 410-841-3556, @TrentKittleman

Del. Warren Miller (R): 410-841-3582, @delwarmill

District 9B

Del. Courtney Watson (D): 410-841-3077

District 12

Sen. Clarence K. Lam (D): 410-841-3653, @ClarenceLamMD

Del. Eric Ebersole (D): 410-841-3328, @ericebersole

Del. Terri L. Hill (D): 410-841-3378, @TerriHillMD

District 13

Sen. Guy J. Guzzone (D): 410-841-3572, @GuyGuzzone

Del. Vanessa Atterbeary (D): 410-841-3471, @VAtterbeary

Del. Jessica Feldmark (D): 410-841-3206

Del. Shane Pendergrass (D): 410-841-3139

Del. Jen Terrasa (D); 410-841-3246, @JenTerrasa


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.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D): 202-224-4654, @ChrisVanHollen

Sen. Ben Cardin (D): 202-224-4524, @SenatorCardin


Maryland 2nd District

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D)

202-225-3061, @Call_Me_Dutch

Maryland 3rd District

Rep. John Sarbanes (D)

202-225-4016, @RepSarbanes

Maryland 7th District

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D)

202-225-4741, @RepCummings


Office of Public Information

410-313-2022, TTY 711, howardcountymd.gov/Departments

Animal Control & Adoption Center

8576 Davis Road, Columbia

410-313-2780, howardcountymd.gov/departments/police/animal-control

Board of Elections

410-313-5820, howardcountymd.gov/BOE


Bureau of Environmental Services (trash and recycling)

Alpha Ridge Landfill, 2350 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville

410-313-6444, howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Public-Works

Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits

410-313-2455, myhoward.info, howardcountymd.gov/Departments

Fire and Rescue

410-313-6000 (non-emergency), hcdfrs.org

Maryland Access Point

410-313-1234, howardcountymd.gov/map

Motor Vehicle Administration

Columbia Express Office, 6490 Dobbin Road, Columbia

410-768-7000, TTY 800-492-4575, mva.maryland.gov/locations/howardcounty.htm

Office of ADA Coordination

410-313-6431, howardcountymd.gov/ada

Police Department

General inquiries: 410-313-3200, Crime tips: 410-313-7867, hcpd.org

In this year’s readers’ poll, more than 17,000 voters selected their favorite people, places and organizations across Howard County.