“Our Time is Now.” That was the theme of Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s first State of the County Address. Ball spoke before a full room of nearly 500 Chamber members, elected officials and community leaders at our 14th annual State of the County Luncheon February 27th at Turf Valley Resort.
It was a wide ranging speech, covering many of the issues facing our county. But County Executive Ball spent much of the first half of the address on gratitude. Ball thanked Chamber President Leonardo McClarty for his introduction, but also, for his service on Ball’s transition team, and the exploratory committee to create an Ellicott City Community Development Corporation. Ball also thanks Pete Mangione, Chamber Board Member, and General Manager of Turf Valley Resort for hosting the event, and of course, his wife Shani, and their two daughters. Ball also acknowledged Howard County Fire Fighter Nathan Flynn, who died battling a large house fire this year. Ball thanked his cabinet and staff as well as the Transition Team who recently presented him with their report.
Ball spoke about nine listening sessions he and his team attended around the county during the first 60 days of his term, where they “did something that most politicians aren’t well known for – we listened.”
Although Ball explained that his first priority was to ensure that Howard County maintains its Triple A Bond rating, the first major theme to come out of the listening sessions, was community planning and development. Ball commented “there should be a balance between continuing to invest in new development and preserving the quality of life for our communities, the integrity of our infrastructure, and the natural beauty of our county.” He says “we need to be more intentional about maintaining this balance, as we plan for continued growth and renewal of this great county for our children and generations to come.”
Ball touched on several other themes related topics including bike lanes, Bus Rapid Transit and work being done at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
Ball then described the county’s public school system as our “calling card.” He added that “our time is now to invest in each one of our schools and in all of our children, by increasing our commercial tax base revenue, ensuring education funding is a priority.”
The County Executive moved on to discussing his “Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan,” encouraging attendees to follow the plans progress at www.ecsafeandsound.org
. Ball also touched on varied topics including climate change, the opioid crisis and a new program his administration will be launching called “Practice Howard, which is combining county resources and administrative support from the hospital to bring new primary care physicians into Howard County.”
Ball closed his address by repeating the overall theme, “We are Howard County and ‘Our Time Is Now.'”
Thank you to the hundreds of our members who were able to attend the event, including our Annual Partners, whose support allows us to hold important events like the State of the County throughout the year.