Monday, April 15, 2013
The Baltimore County executive praises county employees but asks employees to "stay the course" because the proposed budget contains no cost of living salary increases.
UPDATED (10:29 a.m.)—Baltimore County residents will not have to dig deeper for local taxes again this year under a budget proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Kamenetz is expected to introduce his third county budget to the Baltimore County Council at 10 a.m. The proposed $2.8 billion operating budget will contain no increases in property or income taxes for the budget year that begins July 1. The county has not raised property taxes in 25 years. The county income tax rate has not been raised in 21 years. But Kamenetz's spending plan is larger than the limit set in January by the County Council's Spending Affordability Committee. That committee in January set the limit for ongoing costs subject to spending guidelines at $1.675 …
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The bill would impose fees on residents, businesses and nonprofits for federally mandated efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
At least two members of the Baltimore County Council say they would like to delay a vote on proposed stormwater management fees. Vicki Almond and David Marks both said Tuesday they would like to delay the vote for a month. "Considering the enormity of all this and the information that we have I would personally like us to have a little more time to come up with some amendments and really study this even further," said Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat. "I think three weeks really isn't enough to digest all of this," Almond said, speaking of a briefing the council received last month. Almond added that County Executive Kevin Kamenetz developed the new fees without involving the council or holding any public meetings. The council, in its …
Friday, April 5, 2013
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz wants to sell the Towson Fire Station, North Point Government Center and the Randallstown police substation.
Baltimore County officials announced late Friday that it has received eight bids from groups interested in purchasing one of three properties placed on the market by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Kamenetz announced in December that he would seek bids on the Towson fire station, North Point Government Center and a police substation in Randallstown. "Government must look for new ways to address aging infrastructure needs while protecting taxpayer dollars," Kamenetz said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "As the proposals are reviewed in the coming months, I remain hopeful that there will be offers that allow us to replace aging County buildings at no cost or reduced cost to the taxpayer." The announcement of the sales have …
Monday, April 1, 2013
The resolution would have lowered fees for developers who seek waivers to open space requirements in county development law.
A resolution lowering fees for developers who want to bypass open space requirements for developments will not be voted on Monday night by the Baltimore County Council. The resolution to lower the fees was withdrawn after Council Chairman Tom Quirk raised questions about the proposal and its effect on open space programs in the county. "I was concerned it might have an unintended negative effect on NeighborSpace and wanted to look more at the [county's] analysis," Quirk said. "Open space programs and programs like NeighborSpace are critical to our quality of life and help increase property values, as well." County Executive Kevin Kamenetz asked for the decreases after saying a review of the county law showed that property values had …
Monday, March 25, 2013
County officials say the video conferencing technology will allow national chain license holders to attend hearings without the travel expenses.
The Baltimore County Board of Liquor License Commissioners held a hearing this morning using a technology that is not uncommon to most people in today's digital age. The hearing to change the name of corporate officers on a license for Scottsdale, AZ-based P.F. Chang's China Bistro was held via Skype. County officials said the hearing was the first time the board had used the technology in a hearing. Such hearings are routine and usually take less than 10 minutes. "This is a very business-friendly common sense accommodation that is effective for us and is particularly helpful for those popular national chain restaurants," Charles Klein, chairman of the county liquor board, said in a statement released by the county. The county did not …
Monday, March 18, 2013
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz seeks a reduction in fees charged to developers who want a waiver on open space.
UPDATED (10:07 p.m.)—Protesters will have to stay a little farther away from public and private schools if one Baltimore County Councilman gets his way. County Councilman Todd Huff, a Timonium Republican, introduced a bill Monday night that will require protesters to stay at least 300 feet from the entrance of a public or private elementary, middle or high school. Protests would be prohibited during school hours or within one hour before or after school hours. It would also be illegal to block or prevent the use of public streets, sidewalks or other spaces while protesting. Violators would be subject to a fine of $1,000 or up to a 90-day jail sentence or possibly both. "It's another layer of protecting our kids," Huff said. "That's it, the…
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
While the bulk of the $23 million program will come from commercial properties, county homeowners will see an increase of $18-$36 dollars annually.
UPDATED (5:00 a.m.)—County homeowners can expect to see an increase in their property tax bills due to a mandated state fee on stormwater volume. Homeowners with a standard townhouse lot of about one-fifth acre will see a flat increase of $18. Owners of a single family detached home can expect to see a flat increase of about $36 annually. "The county executive directed us to keep this as low as possible" for homeowners," said Vince Gardina, director of the county Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability. Gardina added that the flat fee for residnetial properties satisfied another directive from Kevin Kamenetz meant to keep the formula "easy to understand." Commercial properties including large shopping centers and …
Monday, March 11, 2013
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz recognized Catonsville Thursday as he announced a Baltimore County recycling record.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz tipped his hat to Catonsville and Oella for ranking second in recycled materials in 2012. In 2012, the area recycling an average of 27.6 percent by weight, according to BCRecycles.com. That number is how much was recycled out of the total recycling plus trash. The county set a new record last year, recycling more than 52,200 tons of materials, Kamenetz announced Thursday at the Baltimore County Public Library in Catonsville. “This all-time record of 52,500 tons is a tremendous accomplishment for our residents and our recycling program managers and collectors,” he said in a press release.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Councilwoman Vicki Almond is the lone dissenting vote as an 11th hour push to table the legislation fails.
A change to how county employees appeal pension decisions was approved despite an 11th hour attempt to delay the final vote. The Baltimore County Council Tuesday night voted 6-1 in favor of the legislation that moves the appeals process from a seven-member panel appointed by the council to one of two administrative law judges appointed by the county executive. Councilwoman Vicki Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat, was the lone vote against the bill and three amendments. Almond, reading from a prepared statement, said the bill would affect the integrity of the council and "county employees for years to come." She said conflicting legal opinions offered by County Attorney Michael Field and county legislators in the General Assembly was reason …
Monday, February 18, 2013
A proposed amendment raises the number of elected school board members to seven and could jeopardize passage of the bill.
An amendment proposed by a Republican senator would increase the number of elected school board members to the Baltimore County Board of Education. The amendment requested by Sen. Joseph Getty would increase the proposed elected school board to seven members—the same number rejected by a Senate committee last year. "I think we should go back to that standard," said Getty, who represents Carroll County and portions of Baltimore County from Cockeysville north to the Pennsylvania line. Getty said he still intends to vote for an elected school board whether it includes six or seven elected members. Seven districts corresponding with the council districts would make the change easier for voters to digest, he said. "If you all of a sudden create…