Calvin ball’s record on:
Meeting the Challenge and Providing Climate Leadership
Faced with a void in national leadership on climate change, County Executive Ball declared “We Are Still In” and committed Howard County to meeting the greenhouse gas reduction protocols in the Paris Agreement. As part of this, Howard County would aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of County government operations 45 percent below 2010 levels by the year 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2050. Strategies to reach these goals include reducing County energy use, lowering fuel consumption, and increasing renewable energy generation on County property. Howard County was also the first County in the nation to formally accept the United States Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands Challenge, which calls on jurisdictions to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration. By signing this challenge, County Executive Ball committed Howard County to pursue nature-based climate solutions in the future.
Harnessing the Power of Innovative Energy Technology
County Executive Ball accomplished the largest solar power purchase agreement in Maryland, which will generate enough energy to power up to three-quarters of government operations.
The first of 11 solar energy projects were launched in 2020, with more projects underway. The agreement will generate a monumental 44,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year – the equivalent of taking 6,781 cars off the road. This agreement will also provide an anticipated $1.2 million in savings over the life of the contract and comes with no capital cost to the County. In keeping with energy conservation, County Executive Ball announced a plan to implement a routine, systematic, and detailed investigation of energy use in all County buildings to identify and address energy inefficiencies.
Protecting Our Forests
To protect Howard County’s forestry for future generations, County Executive Ball passed the strongest forest conservation law in the entire state. Howard County’s Forest Conservation Act, updated for the first time since the 1990s, ensures full compliance with state law, increases replanting obligations for developers to contribute to reforestation efforts, strengthens fee-in-lieu regulation and adds new requirements to confirm more forest conservation efforts are met on-site.
Supporting Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Use with a 100% Green Fleet
For the first time in Howard County history, a transformative policy was introduced by a County Executive that would create a 100% green county fleet by 2025. Under County Executive Ball’s leadership, Howard County will have more than 100 publicly accessible charging stations on public property by the end of 2022. Charging stations have already been established at the Howard County Library System’s Miller and Savage Branches. Additional EV charging station locations include the library system’s Central and Glenwood branches and the County’s Ascend One Building in Columbia. Because of his commitment to environmental sustainability goals, Howard County was named a Maryland Smart Energy Community by the Maryland Energy Administration.
Protecting and Preserving Historic Ellicott City
After three devastating floods in 2011, 2016, and 2018, Historic Ellicott City was in need of a plan to protect the town from future flooding and preserve much of its historic character. Immediately after taking office, County Executive Ball announced his “Ellicott City Safe and Sound” plan—a multi-faceted flood mitigation and economic recovery plan for Ellicott City. In addition to the plan’s flood mitigation strategy, the plan also included initiatives concerning emergency preparedness and supporting businesses and property owners. Now that extensive planning and permitting processes are complete, several “Safe and Sound” flood mitigation projects have broken ground. One project – the H7 pond – was completed this fall and another is expected to be complete early next year.
Supporting Local Farmers and Agriculture
County Executive Ball has revived Howard County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program to protect county farmland and support local farmers. Under County Executive Ball’s leadership, 300 acres have been protected through the program.
Expanding the Tree Canopy
Since taking office, the Ball Administration has planted more than 65,000 trees, the highest four-year total in decades. Additionally, residents have received more than 4,000 trees to plant on their property.
Preserving Green and Open Space
In 2020, under the direction of County Executive Ball, the County took ownership of the Savage Remainder property, a 5-acre parcel of land designated by the state as a targeted ecological area. The property had long been a source of controversy due to its environmental significance. By purchasing the property, the Ball Administration took between 15 and 35 development units out of the pipeline and will now preserve the land as open space. Calvin Ball also directed his administration to purchase the 21-acre Camp Illchester property from the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, removing a potential 105 units from the development pupeline.
Converting all County-owned Streetlights to LED
County Executive Ball converted all county-owned streetlights to energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lighting. This conversion reduces energy use, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and saves money on electricity and monthly maintenance fees charged by BGE. This conversion is expected to generate cost savings of more than $2 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,756 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 585 cars off the road.
Taking Bold Steps on Pollinator Conservation
One in three bites of food we eat is the result of insect pollination. To ensure the conservation of these insect pollinators, County Executive Ball made Howard County the first county in the nation to become a “Bee City, USA.” As part of this initiative, the County committed to reducing pesticide use and creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, a vital ecosystem. The Ball Administration created 55 acres of pollinator-friendly meadow on Howard County parkland and established Monarch Way stations at two County parks which provide milkweeds, nectar plants, and shelter for Monarch butterflies throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration. Additionally, County Executive Ball engaged professional researchers from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to conduct Bee Surveys at Centennial Park.
Exceeding Water Quality Goals and Strengthening Stormwater Management
County Executive Ball has surpassed requirements to improve local water quality by installing new stormwater management facilities on public and private property. He has utilized innovative technology to retrofit existing facilities, formed partnership programs for commercial and nonprofit partners, performed stream restorations and wetland enhancements, planted trees, and maintained infrastructure.
Legislation was also passed to require developers to meet a higher standard for stormwater management. The new regulations passed by the Howard County Council, require developers to manage the short-duration, high-intensity storms that have occurred more frequently. Changes were also made to strengthen fee-in-lieu regulations.
Promoting Healthy, Local Foods
The Roving Radish meal kit program has grown significantly under the leadership of County Executive Ball. The number of kits sold increased by 500% to over 12,000 kits in 2021, with 43% subsidized for low-income residents. To further the success of the program, operations moved in 2020 to the Long Reach Village Center in an effort to revitalize that area. This new location allows for better access for the community, more efficient production of meal kits, and the creation of the Roving Radish Marketplace, providing a reliable source for farmers to sell their products throughout the year and providing our community accessibility to farm-fresh foods.
Diverting Waste from Landfills and Incinerators, and Promoting Composting
In February 2022, County Executive Calvin Ball announced a significant expansion of the County’s food scrap curbside collection program. By Spring 2022, 53 percent of households would be able to help the environment by diverting food waste from landfills and turning it into compost. Under the expansion, 5,635 households would have access to green bins that allow for food scrap collection, bringing the total households served to more than 34,000.
Improving Parks and Recreation
In an effort to protect land and provide recreation space, County Executive Ball has provided the most money for parks and programs in eight years. New projects include the latest improvements at Blandair Park, with the much-awaited “Playground for All” for children with varying physical abilities. County Executive Ball also received $1.7 million from a Program Open Space Development Grant for more improvements at Troy Park.