What do taxpayers get for their money?

May 30, 2011

Howard County’s government operates a school system, a police department with more than 440 sworn officers, a fire department, a water and sewer system, a landfill and six branch libraries that enjoy one of the highest per-capita circulation rates in the nation.

The county raises money principally from property and income taxes and employs more than 2,600 people in goverment services, public safety, facilities and community services. More than half of the government’s expected $1.4 billion in revenue collected this fiscal year will pay for the county’s public schools, which are overseen by the seven elected members of the Howard County Board of Education. The school system employs more than 7,800 people.

Ken Ulman, a Democrat, was elected to his second four-year term as county executive in 2010. The five members of the County Council (see page 24) also serve four-year terms.


The Columbia Association (CA) resembles a local government, private organization, recreation business and civic organization rolled into one. It’s a private, nonprofit community service corporation with a board of directors elected by the residents of Columbia’s 10 villages. Supported by two major revenue sources — an annual “tax” paid by Columbians and fees charged for its programs and services — CA operates a broad scope of facilities such as parks, pathways, pools, tennis courts, fitness clubs, golf courses and 3,400 acres of open space.

CA’s system of governance also filters down to the neighborhood level. Each Columbia village has its own community association and resident-elected village board, which represents residents on neighborhood issues  and CA policies and procedures.


County citizens are represented in the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis by three senators and eight delegates from three legislative districts. Each serves a four-year term.

Ken Ulman                                                                                                                     410-313-2013


Courtney Watson (D) District 1
Calvin Ball (D) District 2
Jennifer Terrasa (D) District 3
Mary Kay Sigaty (D) District 4
Greg Fox (R) District 5

Local¿Members¿of the Maryland General¿Assembly

District 12

Sen. Edward Kasemeyer (D)

District 12A

Del. Steven DeBoy Sr. (D)

Del. James Malone Jr. (D)

District 12B

Del. Elizabeth Bobo (D)

District 13

Sen. James Robey (D)
410-841-3572 (Annapolis)  

Del. Shane Pendergrass (D)
410-841-3139 (Annapolis)

Del. Frank Turner (D)    
410-841-3246 (Annapolis)

Del. Guy Guzzone (D)
410-841-3471 (Annapolis)

District 9

Sen. Allan Kittleman (R)
410-841-3671 (Annapolis)

District 9A

Del. Gail Bates (R)
410-841-3556 (Annapolis)

Del. Warren Miller (R)    
410-841-3582 (Annapolis)

U.S. Senators

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D)

Sen. Ben Cardin (D)

U.S. House¿of¿Representatives

Maryland 3rd District
Rep. John Sarbanes (D)

Maryland 7th District
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D)

Important phone numbers

Driver’s Licenses
Motor Vehicle Administration
1-800-950-1682, TTY 1-800-492-4575

MVA¿Express Office Columbia
1-800-950-1682, TTY 1-800-492-4575

Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (Includes Animal Licenses) 410-313-2455

Howard County Board of Elections 410-313-5820

Recycling Or Trash
Bureau of Environmental Services 410-313-6444

410-313-3000, TTY 410-313-2323


General Inquiries 410-313-3200
Crime Tips 410-313-STOP (7867)

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.