Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. said his budget process required "some tough choices."

Speaking about an unpopular proposal to tax individual cell phone lines, he said he put forward an alternative proposal to the County Council, but said that ultimately, he needed to close an inherited $81 million deficit while also providing services residents said they wanted.


"We took $20 million of new spending out of the budget," Olszewski told Brett Hollander on Wednesday. "We cut 15 positions. We have $18 million of more savings in the future years because we're changing out [school] laptops for Chromebooks.

He said he worked with lawmakers to replace the proposed $3.50 monthly fee on cell phone lines with a monthly fee on cell phone accounts. He didn't reveal what that amount would ultimately be.

The $3.4 billion budget includes other tax increases, including to the county income tax, and a new developer impact fee.

"At the end of the day, there was no way that we could undo the $81 million deficit and meet the needs of the people that they wanted to see without raising revenue, something that hasn't been done in 30 years," Olszewski said.