Making Anne Arundel County the Best Place…For All
Putting Communities First
- Created a Permanent Public Improvements transportation fund to make up for much of the $107 million in lost revenue when developers convinced local politicians to set impact fees at half of what they should have been ten years ago
- Activated dormant authority in our county charter to create a Permanent Public Improvements fund to finance $250 million in transportation, schools, and public safety infrastructure
- Created a workgroup to strengthen county development policies regarding adequate traffic flow
- Completed Move Anne Arundel!, the county’s first comprehensive, multi-modal transportation plan that sets forth a strategy to move traffic and get cars off the roads
- Passed a workforce housing bill and a fair housing bill
- Established a workgroup to plan a new program requiring a percentage of the new housing that developers build to be affordable
- Doubled county investment in rental assistance for families transitioning from homelessness, and production of affordable rental housing
My promise to govern by “Putting Communities First” is different than what many expect from their government. Quite simply, it is a commitment to engage residents in policymaking at every level.
Honoring this pledge requires that our administration officials, department heads, county employees and other elected and appointed leaders listen carefully as we shape a county government that is transparent, inclusive and forward-thinking. It requires that we move out of our comfort zones, discontinue the all-too-common political practice of listening only to people who share our views and that we make every effort to remove barriers that limit the exchange of ideas and information.
I’m nothing if not a straight shooter. You’ll always know where I stand even if we don’t always agree. And you can trust that where I stand will be fully informed by the residents of this county. I’ve never felt pressured to go along – and today is no different. The driving force behind my vision and work is that we do the right thing for the people of Anne Arundel County – the thing communities have asked for – even when it’s not great politics to do so.
My responsibility as County Executive is to restore and build trust in our government; to bring our county services, our infrastructure and our pay scales to the levels of nearby counties; to bring smart plans and good people to the table with the independence, courage and conviction to do the right thing.
I have great faith in the people of Anne Arundel County. We want to be happy, to work hard and to make sustainable decisions for the benefit of future generations. Together, I know we can achieve these things and more.
“A good measure of the effectiveness of government in the health of its citizens. And this means more than just the absence of disease.”
While health care itself should be accessible, skilled, timely and accountable, social factors such as education, diet, income, greenspace, the built environment, pollution, and social integration play a more significant role in individual and community health than just the delivery of health care.
Healthy communities support economic development by offering employers a ready workforce of capable, educated and engaged employees. They are diverse, inclusive and equitable. They support those in need, protect the environment and provide a sound education for all.
The context in which people live and work has the most significant influence on the health of the county – making every issue we address as a county a health issue. As such, each of our administration’s policy recommendations and legislative initiatives – regardless of subject or sector – will require a health note, detailing its impacts on population health.
Only with this kind of holistic approach can we create a culture of continuous learning, innovation and measurement that ensures the people and businesses of Anne Arundel County remain vibrant, secure and healthy.
- Passed the strongest forest conservation bill in the state, until the Howard County Council used our success to pass something even stronger!
- Stopped approving modifications that allow developers to bypass environmental regulations
- Banned Styrofoam, just weeks before the state ban was passed
- Created a new inspection program to enforce erosion and sediment control standards at construction sites
“A healthy environment is critical to the quality of life of Anne Arundel County’s current and future residents. I want us to leave our county better than we found it.”
A sustainable community is one that is healthy, thriving and resilient – where growth results from the needs of the county’s citizens and the county ensures that the resources needed to support that growth are planned and available. This starts with environmentally sensitive land-use policies and enforcement of existing environmental and development laws and protections. For too long, we have operated without a commitment to best practices that accommodate population growth near transportation and employment, that protect and activate open space and promote healthy living. And for too long, we have let development guide planning processes, not the other way around.
We are committed to smart growth, community-based planning, sustainability and resiliency. This starts with modernizing Anne Arundel County’s codes, procedures and practices and instituting regular comprehensive, coordinated environmental and development reviews among all departments and community stakeholders. When developers violate our environmental protections, attempt to benefit from loopholes in the county code or curry favor with political donations, we will close the loopholes, revoke permits and hold them accountable.
We are also committed to ongoing research and implementation of new technologies and best practices that combat the effects of climate change. With over 500 miles of shoreline, Anne Arundel County should be a leader in addressing this critical issue regionally. We’ve begun by strengthening the Forest Conservation Act to add hundreds of acres of protected forest. We’ve increased funds for restoration projects that protect and repair our watersheds and we’re working on expanding “no-discharge zones” to reduce pollution in county waters.
To help accomplish these goals, we’ve formed a new Citizens Environmental Commission made up of residents from each of the county’s watersheds and representatives of environmental nonprofits in Anne Arundel County. Led by the county’s Environmental Policy Director, the group is charged with tackling significant issues like defending our shoreline, identifying renewable energy solutions, recommending sustainable smart growth policies, reducing plastic pollution and anything else they see impacting our residents and environment in Anne Arundel County.
- Revitalized the budget process with an interactive budget tool and seven town halls to engage residents
- Passed charter amendment proposal to expand County Auditor’s investigative powers
- Created Arundel Stat office to build Open Arundel portal whereby residents can monitor effectiveness of government programs
- Instituted Green Notes and Blue Notes at our land use departments to standardize and publicize new enforcement practices
- Announced creation of new Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice
- Put Human Relations Commission into code and gave it fair housing enforcement authority
- Assigned staff to facilitate the telling of the history of the African American experience in our county, including Four Rivers African American History trail, Smith Price Reburial, financial support for Wiley Bates Legacy Center, and establishment of our Lynchings Memorial with the Equal Justice Initiative
- Launched my own Pittman’s Pen blog and put my schedule online
- Responded to the increase in racism and bigotry by adding the last two words of our Pledge of Allegiance to our county slogan. It now reads The Best Place – For All and is on every road sign entering the county.
“It is infinitely more effective to bring people together around a common vision than to divide. Politics in these times can cause harm, and we must think carefully before we speak or act. But we must also be bold and brave in tackling tough issues.”
People and communities are empowered when they have a seat at the table and meaningful access to information, technology and resources that promote workforce development, economic opportunity and financial security.
When we bring the people of this county together, we can provide the tools they need to have informed, passionate debates about how to spend our limited tax dollars. We can address our housing affordability problem, preserve our open space and reduce traffic with public transportation and road improvements. We can climb our way back up the school quality rankings that have dropped in the last four years.
To accomplish this, we are actively engaging residents in local government and providing various opportunities to participate in policy discussions that help shape decisions. We are leveraging technology that makes government data easily accessible to promote robust citizen engagement in data-driven, nonpolitical decision-making processes and accountability for our elected and appointed leaders.
We have developed an Office of Community Engagement and Constituent Services to support our promise of transparency and open government. This team will establish and maintain critical communication links between our office, the County Council, city, state and other elected officials and agencies.
And we’re already tackling the big, tough and often politically unpopular issues that make a huge difference in people’s lives with legislation to strengthen housing and income discrimination laws and initiatives that promote sustaining wages and job protections for all residents of Anne Arundel County.
- After four consecutive years of failed promises to solve our police staffing shortage, added 98 sworn officers, bringing us close to national standards
- Resolved all police union grievances and settled costly public safety health benefits lawsuit
- Won federal grant to add 70 firefighters, most of whom are now on the job and bringing our staffing levels to national standards
- Ended divisive 287(g) program with ICE, freeing up our detention center staff to do the jobs we hired them for, and restoring the trust in our immigrant communities that our police officers need to be effective
- Convened Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, declared gun violence a health crisis, and launched interagency Gun Violence Intervention Team modeled after our Opioid Intervention Team
“Anne Arundel County has historically and chronically under-funded public safety. To keep our communities safe, we must invest in our firefighters and police officers. They are our heroes and we must always recognize and reward their work on our behalf.”
I was raised to believe that providing public safety is government’s most sacred obligation. Fire and ambulance call volume in our county has grown more than 5% in each of the last seven years, and police officers are being forced to work 12-hour shifts because our county grew by leaps and bounds with no increase in public safety staffing. This puts lives in jeopardy, and we have to fix it.
To improve public safety practices and outcomes, we are elevating staffing levels, increasing diversity, improving leadership practices, investing in new technology and providing better training to address mental and behavioral health issues.
We’ve established the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, comprised of community leaders, teachers, parents, law enforcement officers, elected officials, and community members who have been personally affected by gun violence, tasked with finding solutions to combat our gun violence epidemic.
There is no place for violence in our schools. To ensure the safety of our children, we will provide extensive training for officers in juvenile issues, improve technology, develop more collaborative relationships between schools and law enforcement, educate teachers in gang identification and institute a single public safety plan at all schools in the county.
- Added 140 new teachers, 35 new counselors, 50 new special ed staff, and raised teacher pay
- Integrated work of county health and human service departments with school system through creation of joint task forces on Mental Health and Closing the Achievement Gap
- Restored county adherence to the non-political school facility building plan by committing half of our new Permanent Public Improvements fund to schools
“Public education is our most important anti-poverty tool, our greatest economic development strategy and our best community revitalization program.”
Educated communities are empowered, they are healthy and they are thriving. Investment in students, teachers, staff and school infrastructure goes a long way to ensuring future generations can reach their full potential.
Citizens of Anne Arundel County want and deserve equitable access to libraries, the arts, workforce development, quality schools and teachers and higher education offerings countywide.
To address decades of steadily increasing class sizes, we’ve added equitably compensated teachers and special education staff and we are breaking ground on new schools. We provided funding to keep Discoveries: The Library at the Mall open as a permanent branch of our library system, which serves residents across the county. We continue to look for innovative solutions like mobile outreach vehicles that host library resources, a food bank, workforce training and physical/mental health services. We are revitalizing and repurposing existing centers to propel arts districts and preparing for mandatory pre-K through better alignment and resource allocation.
Understanding the magnitude and impact of a growing number of students who suffer with depression, anxiety and behavior disorders, the Anne Arundel County school system has prioritized the issue, starting with a mental health task force that will examine how the district can do a better job of addressing student social and emotional needs.
We are acutely aware today that education goes well beyond a standard curriculum. Given the magnitude of divisiveness in our world today, we have prioritized the facilitation and protection of safe, welcoming places to help build tolerance and
“Anne Arundel County should be not only the best place to live or work but also the best place to ride a bike, the best place to go to school, the best place to be a tree or maybe even a fish. And to be the best place, citizens must feel engaged and empowered.”
-County Executive Steuart Pittman
-County Executive Steuart Pittman
-County Executive Steuart Pittman
-County Executive Steuart Pittman
-County Executive Steuart Pittman
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