Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

2007 Capital Budget II

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, April 3, 2006

First, let me say some of you will notice a difference in the 2006 budget number. This is not an error. Prior numbers I used were proposed numbers. These are actual budget numbers – as you may know the County Council can't cut the budget, but they can increase it and in 2006 they did.

As you can see from this the County Executive is calling for some serious debt.

  • Although the Executive says he is staying with in the limits recommended by the Spending Affordability Committee I don't believe all of this borrowing is under that committees review. I believe they only look at General Obligation Bonds which makes the Executive's claim true – but misleading.
  • I wonder about these Metro Bonds (used for Water and Sewer). Can we afford them? Sewer and Water hardly make any money today given their revenues and assets. Are we going to see a rate increase in the operating budget to cover this additional debt service? To that end, why isn't he borrowing from the State Bond Loan instead? That fund charges 40% below market rates? Did he max out on available funding? Did they turn him down?
  • We are also flush with Transfer Tax cash.
  • Why did the Developer Contributions go down so drastically (50%)? I have friends who say that Planning and Zoning waives too many fees for developers, but it couldn't be that much? Someone explain that to me please.
  • Education took a hit in funding. Although Mr. Robey said, ""My highest priority continues to be to build the schools Howard County needs to maintain our education system as the best in the state," he said Friday, suggesting that an extra $5 million expected in state school construction money could be used to help fill the gap." Overall proposed funding from 2006 is down $23.2 million ($6.5 Board of Ed and $16.7 College).
  • He doesn't mention purchasing Belmont but he has $2M in Park and Rec to pay for renovations. Wouldn't the college pay for those from their own budget – unless he does plan to purchase it as he has stated previously. Well where in the budget is it! How much? Is it in the Park and Rec capital acquisition budget and if so why doesn't it spell it out? The Business Monthly reports "…the existing capital project for Belmont, currently slated as a Howard Community College project, would be switched to the recreation and parks capital budget. It targets $2 million in funding to renovate the existing barn and carriage house."

So many questions…. To read it yourself (all 838 pages) CLICK HERE.


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