FY23 Budget Plans Mean Historic Progress on Environmental Protection
On May 25th Howard County Executive Calvin Ball lauded the passage of FY23 operating and capital budget plans in Howard County. The budget includes historic funding for environmental protection and parks, as well as for public education, public safety, mental health services, and public works projects, to improve the quality of life for all in Howard County.
“Working together, we are making investments that are as visionary as they are responsible,” Executive Ball said. “We have fulfilled our obligations to our children and our teachers; we are protecting our communities and the environment, and we are preparing Howard County for even more economic development success.”
The $2 billion operating budget and $378 million capital budget passed by the Howard County Council includes funding that builds on recent initiatives such as the passage of the strongest forest conservation law and the largest power purchase agreement in the state.
The budget includes over $4 million to support environmental and agricultural initiatives. From the budget, $2 million will support the Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program in partnership with the Howard County Conservancy, allowing non-profit property owners an option to preserve environmentally and historically significant properties in perpetuity. In addition, $1 million will be allocated to the Maryland Food Center Authority to support the redevelopment of the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market. This will improve food safety by providing a cold-chain compliant food distribution facility for existing and future businesses in the market.
The plan also includes a record $8.2 million for bike lanes, sidewalks, curb ramps and other projects to help implement the county’s Pedestrian Master Plan, the Bicycle Master Plan, and the Complete Streets policy. These projects will help decrease the number of cars on the road and as a result, emissions.
Furthermore, the budget contains $19 million for recreation and parks programs, including $6 million to fund the announced acquisition of the Camp Ilchester property, expanded recreation, pathways, and more.
Finally, the capital budget proposal continues to advance the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan, with a $36.4 million investment that combines $12.5 million in state assistance with $23.9 million in county funding.
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