Olszewski, council members will hold town hall meetings on budget

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Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. Image via Facebook.

Still busy making hires and appointments and conducting a search for a new police chief, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is planning a series of seven town halls to discuss the fiscal health of the county and future budget priorities.

“In order to best serve the families and businesses of Baltimore County, we need to hear from them directly,” Olszewski said in a statement. “We are committed to working collaboratively with all of our stakeholders in every community so that we can overcome our challenges and build a better Baltimore County together.”

County residents will hear from Olszewski and administration officials on the county’s “budgetary constraints and fiscal challenges, and will be able to share their thoughts, ideas and priorities with the administration,” a press announcement said.

As one of his first acts as county executive, Olszewski on Dec. 3 issued an executive order to create a blue ribbon commission to examine the budget process, the text of which raised concerns about reports from two credit ratings agencies. Moody’s had downgraded Baltimore County’s credit outlook from “stable” to “negative” in February 2018, and Fitch “identified several risks” in March 2018.

In his announcement of the order, Olszewski pledged the commission would follow nationwide best practices for budgeting and invite the public into the process.

Despite the dire sound of these measures, Olszewski said in his inaugural address that he would attempt to bring the county’s fiscal house in order without raising taxes.

To date, Olszewski is scheduled to host town halls at six of the seven council districts later this month and into February, appearing with the respective County Council member at each meeting. A town hall for Council District 3 will be announced soon, according to Olszewski’s office.

Here’s the full schedule:

Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m., at Loch Raven High School with Councilman David Marks

Jan. 23, 6:30 p.m., at Randallstown Community Center with Councilman Julian E. Jones Jr.

Jan. 24, 6:30 p.m., at Fort Garrison Elementary School with Councilman Izzy Patoka

Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m., at Chesapeake High School Auditorium with Councilman Todd K. Crandell

Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m., at McCormick Elementary School with Councilwoman Cathy Bevins

Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m., at Catonsville High School with Councilman Tom Quirk

Brandon Weigel

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