Baltimore County was on the cusp of monumental change in 1956, when voters approved a charter for the growing jurisdiction. The county’s population nearly doubled between 1950 and 1960, and voters recognized that a county executive and seven-member County Council were needed to lead a modern government.
That arrangement has worked well. The county has a reputation for fiscal discipline, safe neighborhoods and strong communities. The charter has remained relatively unchanged, partly reflecting the county’s conservative temperament. And while other jurisdictions have adjusted the size of their county councils to reflect population changes, Baltimore County has remained at seven members.
In 1960, each member of the first Baltimore County Council represented roughly 70,000 residents. That number has grown to 120,000 residents. As the county population climbs to a million people, I believe it is time to consider an expansion of the County Council to nine members.