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Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman Requests Funding for School Construction, Transportation and New Police Training Academy

Publish Date: 01/17/2014

County Executive Makes First Appearance in Front of Delegation Since Taking Office

Annapolis, MD (January 17, 2014) – In her first official appearance before the Anne Arundel County delegation since taking office in February 2013, County Executive Laura Neuman today asked the Anne Arundel County delegation for funding for school construction, transportation and a new police academy. The theme of the County Executive’s message to the delegation was: It’s a matter of fairness.


Laura Neuman’s Remarks as Written for Legislative Presentation to the

Anne Arundel County Delegation

9 a.m., Room 142,  January 17, 2014

Lowe House Office Building, Annapolis


Good morning, Mr. Chairman and delegation. Thank you for the invitation to address the delegation. As you know, I am coming up on a year in this position and I want to thank you all for your support, guidance and well-wishes. I have relied on each of you to share your knowledge, expertise and experience.


This past year has offered many surprises and many successes. I’d like to highlight some of those accomplishments. We have received two good financial outlooks: Standard & Poor’s Rating Services revised its outlook to stable from poor. Moody’s Rating Services affirmed an Aa1 bond rating and revised its financial outlook to stable from negative based on positive steps the County has taken to improve its overall economic health. 


We’ve implemented a new system to reduce 911 call processing times by 50 percent. We’ve reassigned and added personnel to correct a staffing deficiency in three fire departments which decreased homeowner insurance rates.


We also successfully negotiated 12 union contracts. And…we resolved an issue that has been hanging over our heads for 30 years – retiree health care benefits – this program was not funded at all, but thanks to our County Council. This brings me to what I want to talk about today…investing in our residents’ future.


School Construction

As many of you know, I worked in Howard County for two years. It seems like every other day, I heard about how Howard County is one of the wealthiest counties, not just in our state, but in the United States. Yet, when it comes tothings like school construction, why do they get a larger match than Anne Arundel County? I have been told that this is the case despite the state’s own wealth calculation which ranks Howard County number 5 in wealth and Anne Arundel County number 9. When you look at the percentages in the state match, it is a matter of fairness.

I know we have heard a lot about school construction this week and my colleagues around the state have stated their cases with schools with crumbling walls and a need for new facilities. Anne Arundel County is in the same position.


In Anne Arundel County, we have a $2 billion backlog that has prevented renovations to dozens of schools and stalled the construction of new facilities, including Severna Park High School – was on track, but now stalled. Our schools are crumbling under the weight of their age.


We need to work together for the benefit of our children. We are not asking for more than our share, but we certainly should not stand by and accept less. This is a matter of fairness. Anne Arundel County receives 28 cents in state aid for each $1 paid in taxes paid. Anne Arundel County receives the fourth least amount of state aid. Talbot gets 14 cents, Worcester 17 cents and Montgomery County gets 25 cents. Our residents put far more into the state coffers than they take out.


Transportation infrastructure

In addition to school construction, my second priority is transportation infrastructure. Anne Arundel taxpayers are being asked to pay the same gas tax as everyone else in the state of Maryland. More than $1 billion or 46 percent of the state’s transportation budget is spent on public transportation, while 8 percent use it. Most of us use our cars to commute. What this means is that the bulk of the transportation budget goes to a small percentage of the population and this does little to nothing to ease traffic for our residents. Have you ever been in one of those massive backups on a Friday evening trying to cross the Bay Bridge? We ask that a pro-rata share of those dollars be re-invested in our county.


Police Academy Training facility

Our police training academy is falling down…deplorable. It was an old WWII 2 missile silo. The only updates we have made since that time was to add a firearms range in 1998. Because the firing range is one of the best in the state, we successfully attract officers from around the state. I am glad that our training facility has something going for it because the reality is that Animal Control has a better facility. Because our training academy produces the men and women who protect our county, we owe it to them to invest in this facility.


Q&A With Delegation



A taxpayer dollar in Anne Arundel County is no different than a taxpayer dollar in any other county. We should all be treated the same. Our schools need our investment. We should make an investment in our transportation infrastructure. And, who better to support than our first responders. We need you to work on our behalf to give our citizens what they need. Again, it’s a matter of fairness. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your time.

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