Baltimore County Council Plans To Evaluate Structural Changes For Better Representation
BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore County Councilman Izzy Patoka introduced a resolution on Monday aimed at creating a work group to determine if modifications to the council's structure are warranted to better represent residents.
Resolution 32-23 outlines the formation of a 15-member work group. This group would include representatives from the Baltimore County Planning Board, local academic experts, and individuals well-versed in demographics, all under the leadership of a chair appointed by the county council.
The work group's primary tasks would involve examining the governmental structures of jurisdictions of comparable size, gathering public feedback, and analyzing demographic shifts. Their findings would be summarized in a report set to be delivered to the County Council by March 31, 2024.
Baltimore County, the state's third most populous jurisdiction, has maintained a seven-member council since 1956 despite the county's population booming from 271,000 to 846,000, according to the latest census estimates. Maryland's first and second largest jurisdictions, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, recently expanded their councils to 11 members.
Each Baltimore County Council member represents an average of 122,076 residents - a far cry from the 41,178 in Baltimore City, 84,333 in Anne Arundel, 66,905 in Howard, and 43,829 in Harford County.
Patoka's resolution has already received a coalition of support. Members David Marks and Wade Kach have co-sponsored the resolution, along with Mike Ertel, Pat Young, and Council Chair Julian Jones.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski has also voiced his support for an expanded council. In a tweet responding to a staff commentary from the Baltimore Sun, he emphasized the area's transformative growth and the necessity to augment the County Council "to provide a more responsive & equitable government."
The resolution is scheduled for a vote at the council's Oct. 16 legislative session.
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