Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's next budget could grow by as much as $49.9 million under a limit approved by the county Spending Affordability Committee.
The 3 percent limit in budget growth for the fiscal year 2014 operating budget is based on a five-year average of personal income growth in the county. The approved limit caps the budget for the year that begins July 1 at about $1.675 billion.
The budget for the current year is $1.626 billion.
The committee also approved a new debt guideline for bonds that limits the county debt to just over $1.7 billion—an increase of about $181 million.
County Code sets the debt limit to 4 percent of the total property value in the county but the Spending Affordability Committee, which is a part of the County Council, limits that debt to 2.2 percent of assessed value.
The new county debt limit does not include nearly $260 million in pension obligation bonds issued by the county last year. The money from that sale is earmarked for funding the Baltimore County Employees Retirement System.
Both recommended limits are non-binding but the county executive typically adheres to them and the council traditionally does not pass a budget that exceeds the guidelines.