On Wednesday, the Howard County Council voted 4-1 to approve the FY 2023 budget, which includes millions for many important public health initiatives. The Horizon Foundation, Howard County’s community health foundation and the largest independent health philanthropy in the state of Maryland, issued the following statement in response:
“The final FY 2023 budget approved by the County Council represents a big win for many important public health issues in Howard County. We would like to thank County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball for his leadership and commitment to building a culture of health in our community, as well as Councilmembers Jones, Jung, Rigby and Walsh for their work to make good health achievable for everyone in Howard County.
We also want to thank our partners in the Mental Health Matters Coalition, the Streets for All Coalition, CASA and every community member who raised their voice in support of improving public health in Howard County.
The budget funds critical public health priorities, including:
- Nearly $2 million (in County funds as well as support from the Kahlert Foundation and the Horizon Foundation) to expand enhanced school-based mental health supports to every Howard County Public School over the next two years. In addition, the budget funds 19 positions at HCPSS that will focus on behavioral health and student well-being.
- $1.3 million to launch a Maternity Partnership Program to make maternity care accessible to uninsured and underinsured women. By providing enhanced prenatal care services paired with other supports such as care coordination, patient navigation, doula services and social supports among other interventions, Howard County will ensure that ALL women in Howard County can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
- $8+ million for biking and walking infrastructure projects, a new record level of funding for Howard County. With better, safer and more accessible roads, intersections, sidewalks and paths, we can improve opportunities for everyone in our community to be active and healthy – as well as bring Howard County closer to achieving its complete streets vision.
If we have learned anything in these past two years, it is that public health matters. We commend County Executive Ball, his Administration, our County Councilmembers and their staff for their tireless work throughout the budget process and for prioritizing these important initiatives that will build a healthier future for everyone in our community.”