Baltimore County Council Reverses Course, Retains $2M Allocation for PGA Golf Event
OWINGS MILLS - The Baltimore County Council revisited its decision to cut $2 million in funding for the upcoming BMW Pro Golf Championship, a notable PGA event, slated to take place in the Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mills, in 2025.
Initially, the council had voted against the provision found in County Executive Johnny Olszewski's proposed $4.9 billion budget for the next year.
District 7 Councilman Todd Crandell, a Republican, argued against allocating taxpayer dollars to fund what he perceived as an event catering to the affluent. Crandell stated, "If you want to subsidize a bunch of rich people having a golf tournament, then that's on you."
County Council Chairman Julian Jones, a Democrat, responded by highlighting the economic impact of such events. He referenced a Sage Policy Group study that attributed $23 million in local spending to the 2021 tournament held in the county. Jones stated, "Hotels were full, and restaurants were packed because of the tournament."
In the initial voting round, the council opted for the budget cut with a 4-3 vote. However, a later vote saw a turnaround when Democrat Mike Ertel, who had initially supported the cut, switched his stance.
He said that he needed clarification on the voting process. Despite his support for the funding, Etrel acknowledged the unsavory optics of the situation and expressed his dissatisfaction with the Olszewski administration's lack of clarity on the $2 million proposal.
County Administrative Officer Stacy Rodgers admitted that the administration could have done a better job briefing the council, stating, "We're learning as we go."
Councilman Crandell, visibly frustrated, characterized the second vote as an embarrassment and criticized his fellow council members for not fully understanding the budgetary process.
It is important to note that the County Council can cut Olszewski's proposed budget but lacks the authority to add to it or reallocate funds. Currently, the council has agreed to a singular cut of $500,000 intended for county school administrative costs.
The final budget is slated for approval on May 25.