Baltimore County Business Advisory Council

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Mission: The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council allows members to participate in a regionally-focused approach toward business climate issues, by engaging with local business, institutional, and government leaders.. The BCBAC also gives members an opportunity to advocate on behalf of the business community to local and state elected officials and key figures. The council also promotes economic development opportunities and quality of life in the county.

Chair: This committee is chaired by John B. Chessare, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.H.E., President and CEO of the GBMC HealthCare system. The Greater Baltimore Medical Health Care System includes the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), a 270-bed acute care not-for-profit hospital, as well as a group of multi-specialty physician practices across the region.

Membership: The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council include the following member companies: GBMC, Mackenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC, Comcast, Merritt Properties, LifeBridge Health, Trane, EMR, PSA Insurance, KOFA Public Affairs, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, and Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan Association.

What does the committee do? The council provides the GBC with regional input, on issues related to strengthening Maryland’s business climate. In addition, the council often invites speakers to meetings in order to keep informed about developments in key areas, such as, higher education developments, including four year universities as well as community colleges, mega economic development projects in the county, public safety, transportation and workforce.

Staff: Call 410-727-2820

Baltimore County Business Advisory Council meetings are from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), 6701 N. Charles St., Towson, MD 21204, unless otherwise noted. Directions and a campus map can be found here.

2018 Baltimore County Business Advisory Council news:

The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council met with Elisabeth Sachs, who has been named Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski’s Director of Government Reform & Strategic Initiatives, as well as his Transition Director, on December 19, 2018 at the council’s final meeting of the year.

Sachs discussed the Olszewski Transition Committee’s structure, as well as its areas of focus and priorities, and described County Executive Olszewski’s vision for a more transparent and data-driven County government.

Baltimore County Business Advisory Council members offered ideas and viewpoints regarding education, transportation and housing. They also discussed the idea of assembling a document outlining what they believe the new administration’s areas of focus and priorities should be, a project that will be carried into the new year.

At the April 30, 2018 meeting of the GBC’s Baltimore County Business Advisory Council, members heard from Don Mohler who has had a long and unique career in Baltimore County government. He has served as Chief of Staff to two County Executives, Kevin Kamenetz and Jim Smith, as well as a long career with Baltimore County Public Schools, serving as a teacher, principal and area superintendent.

Mohler spoke at length about the unique success that the County has achieved and its unique challenges in the years ahead.

Baltimore County is one of only 47 counties in the United States with a AAA bond rating, which has made it possible for County government to address and stay ahead of the issues that are the major concerns of residents in every part of the county: education, public safety, the environment and infrastructure. The $1.6 billion school construction program that the County has undertaken has seen 16 new schools, 12 schools with major additions and 90 schools that have received upgrades to existing facilities. Because of the County’s good financial standing, it has been able to advance the money for every project while awaiting funding, which will come from the State in several chunks. Good fiscal stewardship has also allowed for the proposal of County Executive Kamenetz’s College Promise program, which will provide free tuition at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) for all students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a household income less than $69,000 (the median in Baltimore County).

The next County Executive will have to address issues of enrollment stabilization throughout several areas of the county — both under-enrollment and overcrowding — which Mohler said can be solved by strategic investment in schools in specific communities where growth is possible or expected. This will be key to stabilizing not just the schools in those districts, but the communities themselves that are served by them.

The next County Executive will likely have to increase property and/or income taxes, which has not been done in Baltimore County in decades but will be necessary to maintain the County’s bond rating. In addition, Mohler advised that the next County Executive should look to push for the allocation of the millions of federal dollars that have been designated for upgrades and renovations to the Social Security Administration’s headquarters in Woodlawn. Social Security is one of the county’s largest employers, with 15,000 employees.

Another major employer and project Mohler cited as key to the future of Baltimore County is Tradepoint Atlantic, which has a potential 17,000 jobs. In a county that is Maryland’s second largest employer, and has the same size geographically as San Francisco, Tradepoint’s impact on the local and state economy cannot be overestimated. Mohler cited the College Promise program as a way to feed Baltimore County’s young people into a direct pipeline for employment at Tradepoint.

The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council’s first meeting of 2018, held on January 22, 2018 featured Yolanda Winkler, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Winkler gave an in-depth analysis of the County Executive’s priorities and requests to the State for the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session. These priorities are led by Kamenetz’s commitment to:

  • Education funding, including $122 million for school construction projects
  • Transportation, with a request for $60 million in project funds and the mission to create a regional transportation authority to fund something similar to the defunct Red Line project

Other legislation and funding the County Executive’s Office is aggressively backing or pursuing includes the paid sick leave bill, the veto of which was overridden by the legislature in the first week of the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly, and renewable energy policies and projects.

Winkler also mentioned that other County priorities for this, the last year of Kamenetz’s final term, include getting a major economic develop project off the ground on the east side of the County, funding free community college for County residents and completing a study into Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) and how it can increase revenue by attracting businesses to Baltimore County, and thereby growing the tax base.

Following a question and answer session between Winkler and Council members, GBC Presient and CEO Don Fry spoke briefly about several upcoming GBC events, information on which can be found here.