The Baltimore County Council Monday night unanimously chose First District Councilman Tom Quirk to be its chairman for the coming year. Quirk, who is the chairman of the council’s spending and affordability committee and represents the Catonsville area, takes over as the county finds itself staring down what Quirk has called a budget crisis.
Quirk has been warning for months that the county has lived beyond its means, as it spent more than one billion dollars in recent years building and renovating dozens of schools. After taking over the gavel as chairman Monday night, Quirk said he was hopeful the council can move ahead in a bipartisan fashion. The council is split, four Democrats and three Republicans.
“We all know that we face some significant challenges and decisions, especially on the capital budget but I’m confident that working together we’re going to meet these challenges head on and we all know we can no longer kick the can down the road,” Quirk said.
Quirk has recently said a tax increase will be necessary this year.
This is his third stint as chairman. Quirk takes over for councilman Julian Jones, who was the first African American to serve as chairman of the Baltimore County Council. Council members of the majority party traditionally take turns serving as the chair. Democrats currently control the council 4-3.