Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski | WYPR

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski

Baltimore County Government

 

 

Now that taxes are going up in Baltimore County, the pressure is on County Executive Johnny Olszewski to show people they are getting their money’s worth. 

 

That’s on Olszewski’s agenda, as well as presenting controversial affordable housing voucher legislation to the County Council.

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.

 

 

John Lee

 

 

Baltimore County has the second highest rate of fatal opioid overdoses in the state. Only Baltimore City has more. The county will begin reaching out to people, especially those who have personally been affected by opioids, to ask them what should be done.

 

 

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

Ben’s Run trickles through the Northwest Crossing Apartments property off Old Court Road in Randallstown. Volunteers on Monday fanned out and picked up all kinds of trash in the run: plastic bags, cups, even a tossed baby stroller. 

Baltimore County Monday launched a two-month attack on litter, to mark the 50th Earth Day.

 

 

John Lee

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski put seed money in his proposed budget for a new Lansdowne High School.

 

That has supporters of new high schools for Dulaney and Towson wondering why they were left high and dry.

 

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Monday proposed raising the county’s income tax rate, taxing cell phone lines, charging developers impact fees, and hiking the county’s hotel tax.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

Audio will be posted Thursday morning.  

The audit of the Baltimore County Schools’ procurement practices, released to the public on Wednesday, shows no evidence of corruption.  But school board chairwoman Kathleen Causey said the investigation into the county school system is not over.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

 

 

Baltimore County’s school board is struggling to find its way as a newly partially elected, partially appointed board. At the same time, it has come under fire for not releasing a long-anticipated audit, rushing through a permanent school superintendent search and micromanaging Baltimore County’s school administration.

 

John Lee

 

Construction money for schools in Baltimore County is in trouble in the General Assembly.

 

If the legislation doesn’t pass, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said it likely will be years before any new high schools are built in 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.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski got blowback from members of the County Council Tuesday over his proposal for an election fund for candidates, paid for by taxpayers.

Council members questioned its cost and the details.

 

 

Rachel Baye

Thousands of teachers, parents and students marched in Annapolis Monday night, seeking more funding for public schools. The march, which was organized by the Maryland State Education Association teachers union, culminated in the largest rally at the State House in recent memory. 

Organizers say 200 buses carried teachers from across the state, as far as Garrett County in Western Maryland, about three hours away. They estimate that there were about 8,500 people filling the streets, many of them wearing red beanies and carrying red cowbells and signs.

Baltimore County

 

 

When Larry Hogan ran for governor the first time in 2014, he financed it by tapping a state public campaign fund. 

 

The Baltimore County Council Tuesday will consider a similar fund for county candidates. It will also debate whether to establish an Office of Ethics and Accountability.

 

 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

Republican Governor Larry Hogan has asked the General Assembly to approve a plan to spend nearly $2 billion in additional school construction money statewide over the next four years. 

 

And Baltimore County’s Executive, Democrat Johnny Olszewski, agrees. 

 

Olszewski painted a dire picture before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Wednesday of what might happen without the money.

 

 

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

  A commission that’s been studying Baltimore County’s budget released a preliminary report Friday which says the county should consider raising taxes. The commission is also proposing major changes to the budget process to make the county more fiscally sustainable.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today tapped the head of the city’s social services department to be the county’s administrative officer.

 

Stacy Rodgers will be the first African-American to hold the job and is promising to be open and transparent.

 

 

Photo courtesy the Olszewski campaign

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said the budget passed by the county school board Tuesday night is not fiscally sustainable. 

 

 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

 

The Baltimore County School Board Tuesday night approved a budget to send to the county executive. It includes a pay raise for teachers and money to extend the school day by 15 minutes WYPR’s John Lee was there and talked about it with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Tuesday released a laundry list of more than 200 objectives for the next four years. But the report from his transition team did not include details on how to pay for any of it.

 

John Lee

Baltimore County is looking under every sofa cushion for money to help close a projected $80 million budget shortfall next year.

 

That’s led Republican State Senator Chris West to propose that the state allow the county to charge developers impact fees.

 

 

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