Baltimore County Council | WYPR

Baltimore County Council

John Lee

At the Maryland Marina on Frogmortar Creek in Middle River, workers were recently moving a lift into place to pull a boat out of the water.

 

“These guys would not be working here if there wasn’t a waterfront,” said Robert Palmer with the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County.

 

 

Baltimore County

The nominee to be Baltimore County’s next police chief served more than 20 years in the Baltimore Police Department. And it was Melissa Hyatt’s time in a police force rife with corruption that got the most attention from the county council, as it quizzed her Tuesday afternoon about becoming the county’s top cop. 

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

“Excruciating,” “trying,” “the most difficult in recent memory” — that’s how Baltimore County Council members described the process of finalizing the $3.43 billion budget they passed Thursday morning.

The budget for the next fiscal year included the first income tax hike in more than a generation and other tax increases in an attempt to close an $81 million county deficit.

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

 

There's no way around it. Tax hikes are coming to Baltimore County. But the specifics are still being worked out days before the Baltimore County Council is set to vote on them.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

 

 

Baltimore County Council meetings are usually civil affairs. But Thursday afternoon’s meeting broke out in to partisan warfare over the proposed county budget. It was a classic fight over tax hikes, new schools and budget cuts.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

The Baltimore County Council has a little more than a week to decide whether to go along with tax increases being proposed by County Executive Johnny Olszewski. The county executive says the money raised is needed to deal with an $81 million shortfall, as well as fund new initiatives. 

 

The Council and Olszewski are considering changes on two proposals: a cell phone tax and impact fees on developers.

 

 

Baltimore County

Baltimore County, facing overcrowded schools and congested roads, is considering charging developers impact fees. It’s a way to raise money to spend on the problems that developments create.

 

The Baltimore County Council is looking at dueling plans that differ on how the money would be spent.

 

 

John Lee

 

Taxes, whether to raise them or not, drove Tuesday night’s budget public hearing before the Baltimore County Council.

 

County Executive Johnny Olszewski is proposing a package of tax increases to help deal with an $81 million shortfall and pay for initiatives like a pay raise for teachers. WYPR’s John Lee was there and talked about it with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner.

 

 

John Lee

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski wants to create a new cell phone tax. It’s part of a package of tax increases and fees he says is needed to make up a budget shortfall while at the same time provide the money to pay for pressing needs in the county. 

 

The cell phone tax idea is shaping up to be one of Olszewski’s most controversial proposals.

 

 

John Lee

A tax increase in Baltimore County is now a foregone conclusion. That’s according to County Council Chairman Tom Quirk, who said the tax increase has to happen because the General Assembly did not deliver additional school construction money to the county.

 

 

 

 

John Lee

Teachers say it’s crunch time. 

The General Assembly session ends in less than one week. In two weeks, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski presents his budget to the county council. 

 

Teachers and their supporters rallied outside the Historic Courthouse in Towson Monday night, calling on the state and the county to come through with money for schools.

 

As several dozen people congregated at the courthouse, most wearing red, a sign of support for teachers, they were joined by Olszewski, who is a former teacher.

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

From a possible tax increase to new high schools, a lot is in play as Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski prepares to present his first budget to the County Council in about two weeks. 

 

Olszewski is receiving high marks for how he’s handled his first four months in office. But this era of good feeling could be tested once Olszewski lays out his budget.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is remaining mum about whether he will call for tax hikes to deal with a projected $81 million shortfall. But others in county government are making the case that now may be the time to do so.

 

Let’s start with the county’s income tax rate.

 

Currently it’s at just over 2.8 percent. A report by the county council’s spending affordability committee lays out the possibility of raising that to 3.2 percent, which is the highest allowed under state law.

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is telling his department heads not to expect any more money in the next fiscal year than they got this year. That’s because the county has a projected $81 million shortfall this coming year.

 

Meanwhile, constituents are giving the county executive a long list of things they say they need.

 

 

John Lee

  

The social security office in Baltimore County is up and running during the partial government shutdown, but U.S. Senator Ben Cardin said the county is still feeling the effects of the stalemate going on the Washington, D.C. 

 

Cardin met with the county council Monday, and discussed the shutdown, as well as how Baltimore City’s problem with crime is becoming the county’s problem as well.

 

John Lee

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.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler will step aside on Monday, December 3, to make way for county executive-elect Johnny Olszewski Junior. WYPR reporter John Lee talked with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner about his interview with Mohler, in which they discussed what is perhaps the biggest challenge that awaits Olszewski as he takes office.  

John Lee

The executive and legislative branches of the Baltimore County government currently are in the hands of Democrats. But county Republicans are hoping to gain control of the government come election day. WYPR's John Lee talked with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner about the GOP strategy.

 

Baltimore County

The Baltimore County Council was warned Tuesday that it risks losing police and corrections officers and firefighters to nearby counties if it doesn’t give them a tax break. 

 

The council is weighing whether it’s worth the millions the county would lose in tax money.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Republican Councilman Wade Kach has been accused of grandstanding and fiscal recklessness by fellow council members and administration officials. Kach who is running for his second term, scoffs at the accusations.

 

 

Yuya Tamai/flickr

The Baltimore County Council is considering tightening up the laws on pet owners to protect animals from extreme weather. 

 

But council members were warned Tuesday that what they were considering might actually do pets harm.

 

 

John Lee

There were calls last night to change the way Baltimore County government conducts itself. 

 

On the same night the county council considered changes to the county charter, protesters demanded an audit, as well as more access to lawmakers and transparency.

 

 

Baltimore County

  

  The Baltimore County Council is deciding whether to ask voters to force the county executive to cough up information when council members demand it. It’s part of a proposed change to the county’s charter.

 

John Lee

A Baltimore County Councilman says the county is ignoring its own zoning laws. Councilman Wade Kach is proposing legislation he said would make the county abide by its own rules when building on county-owned property.

Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

  

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced his running mate Thursday in his campaign to become Maryland’s next governor. 

 

Kamenetz begins his sprint in a crowded Democratic field when members of his own party are challenging Kamenetz over how he’s handling the county’s finances.

 

 

A Baltimore County Councilman is accusing County Executive Kevin Kamenetz of making fiscal decisions that are unsustainable.

 

Last fall, Kamenetz said he’d have to think about building a new Dulaney High School. Last week, he decided to do it. Councilman Tom Quirk is concerned the outgoing county executive is making promises the county won’t be able to keep.

 

 

John Lee

 

Some people who live near Baltimore County’s animal shelter in Baldwin  say the sound of barking dogs is blasting into their neighborhood and dumping on their quality of life. The County Council is considering legislation that would spell out how many barks and yelps could land the pound in the doghouse.

 

John Lee

 

The Baltimore County Council elected its first African-American chairman last night. The new chairman, Julian Jones, said he wished the day would come when there would be no more “firsts.”

John Lee

The developer tells the Council "We will not let you down."

John Lee

 

The controversial plan to use tax money to help finance the Towson Row project is scheduled for a vote at Monday night's Baltimore County Council meeting. But the councilman who represents Towson plans to call for a postponement of that vote.

 

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